“Trend or faux” – Which trends will influence automotive in the next decade?

Innovation within the automotive industry is advancing a pace. The past 12 months alone have seen the arrival of gesture control, keyless cars and huge investment in driverless vehicles. But how much of this is early stage hype? And which developments will really make their mark on the industry over the next decade?

In our “trend or faux” session at the Market Research Society’s Automotive Research Conference, we asked auto experts Andreas Strasser (Volvo) and Dan Freedman (Direct Line) to give us their view. You can hear what they had to say in two interviews hitting the blog in the next week.

But first we asked the audience give us their verdict on 4 trends – electric, new mobility patterns, new business models and driverless cars. And the impact they will have by the year 2025. Are they trend? Or are they “faux”?

Electric cars

Electric has been one of the key trends in automotive making headlines this year. Who can forget the week Tesla made history by taking 325, 000 preorders for the Tesla Model 3, which the company claimed to be “the single biggest one-week launch of any product ever”? Or Volkswagen’s attempt to bounce back from the emissions crisis with plans to bring 30 electric cars to market in the next decade? With automotive manufacturers’ ambitions matched by government legislation and incentives to accelerate the uptake of electric cars, it should come as no surprise that our audience voted electric as one of the trends that would really make its mark by 2025.

New mobility patterns

As mobility patterns, particularly in urban centres, begin to change we’re seeing an increasing number of automotive manufacturers moving to capitalise on this trend. In the past few months, we’ve seen Toyota make a significant investment in Uber and BMW buy a stake in carpooling service, Scoop. General Motors has gone one step further; not only investing in Uber rival, Lyft, but also setting up its own car sharing programme, Maven. Despite the scramble automotive manufacturers are making to mark their territory in this space, our audience was divided as to whether new mobility patterns will really take hold by 2025.

New business models

When it came to new business models it was a similar story. We’ve seen a number of new business models start to emerge in the past few months. But our audience was split on the impact they will have by 2025. We’ve seen Ford pilot a new leasing programme which will allow groups of customers to buy and share a single car and Finish startup MaaS (Mobility as a Service) set the wheels in motion (!) for a subscription-based mobility service that will give customers access to a whole range of different modes of transport – from cars and taxis to buses and bikes – for one flat monthly rate. Only time will tell if these new business models will take off.

Driverless cars

Our audience was less convinced by the prospect of driverless cars making a real impact on the industry by 2025 which, given the huge amount of attention they’ve received in the industry press, is surprising. Perhaps it’s the results of recent consumer surveys that has caused our audience to have doubts. A recent study by the University of Michigan found that two thirds of Americans are concerned about riding in a fully autonomous car.

So that’s what the audience thought, but what did our experts think? Visit the blog on Friday to read the first of our interviews with the automotive experts we spoke to at the conference, starting with Volvo’s Andreas Strasser.