Interessanter Beitrag über die Profitabilität beim Autonomen Fahren.
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“No one has necessarily concluded there is a right way to do this,” said Sam Abuelsamid, an automotive tech analyst for Navigant Research. “Right now the best pathway is to focus on deploying in urban centers and having multiple-use cases for the vehicle.”Ford is providing an example of this approach. It’s partnering with the likes of Domino’s Pizza, Walmart and delivery-app Postmates in an attempt to spread bets before launching a driverless vehicle service in 2021.”Our work with companies like Postmates and Walmart is helping us figure out which segments autonomous vehicles really work for,” said Sherif Marakby, CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC, the Blue Oval’s driverless car development arm. “We’re thinking about a strategy that makes sure we’re reaching full utilization of the vehicles.”Even GM’s Cruise, focused on deploying a ride-hailing service, has started working with food-delivery app Doordash, while its Detroit-based parent company partners on in-car delivery with Amazon.com Inc.Think of it like plant utilization, said Alexandre Marian, a managing director in the automotive and industrial practice at AlixPartners LLP. Plant-capacity utilization is an important indicator of financial health for automakers, with unprofitable and under-used plants squeezing already narrow profit margins.Developing these driverless fleets already is pinching margins and the core business. The pressure, for example, is motivating GM to address its plant utilization as part of a restructuring designed to slash costs and redirect capital toward expensive autonomy, mobility and electrification efforts.Ford is also executing a restructuring as it pivots to what it sees as the next iteration of the automotive industry. Executive Chairman Bill Ford has said he sees driverless vehicle services as a path to fatter profit margins and a “less capital-intensive” business model, if done right. “If you can increase utilization of the vehicles, that will be the true driver of profitability,” Marian said. “The company’s profit on a driverless fleet will depend on an effective asset-utilization model.”Automakers historically are not known for ceding control. In an industry where companies already closely supervise the core business model — the buying and selling of vehicles through franchised dealers — it’s possible the companies will want a similar level of control over future autonomy businesses.