The case study explores these questions, beginning with a broad overview of how automakers, their suppliers, and their customers define one of America’s most fundamental industries. It then provides detailed background on four modern and connected forces powerfully reshaping this market:
- Electrification. In 2017, 200,000 electric vehicles were sold in the United States, a 25% increase over 2016 sales. The trend is continuing, and new business opportunities are emerging.
- Autonomous driving. Self-driving cars are drawing investment from many giant companies, and the implications are striking. As one industry observer put it: “In the past, cars were primarily about driving and secondarily about content consumption. With autonomous cars, that prioritization will be reversed. Fully automatic cars will be battery-powered living rooms on wheels.”
- Connectivity. As cars increasingly connect to the internet, old automotive business models are coming into question. The CEO of one Chinese conglomerate suggested that he would eventually be able to offer his company’s electric car for free, earning money instead from services the company sold to customers.
- Alternatives to car ownership. A 2017 transportation study out of Stanford University predicts that by 2030, 95% of U.S. passenger miles will be served by on-demand autonomous electric vehicles and there will be an 80% drop in private car ownership in the United States.
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