David Muyres’ thoughts on the changing world of cars.
I’ve been attending car shows for 25+ years and I believe the car industry is entering a new era, or at least for the smart ones it is. There is a huge new push to look beyond just the car itself as a manufactured good and to now see the car as a platform to provide transportation as a service. This was evidenced by the launch of New Mobility World at the Frankfurt show – a first-time-ever event that occupied the entire floor above the VW booth (i.e. very big).
New Mobility World filled a huge space with a very nice mix of start-up entrepreneurs, CEOs from the likes of Daimler, PSA, Toyota, Flex, Letv, and other leaders from Google, Uber, Siemens etc. along with the transport ministers from the G7. They were all there to discuss the future of mobility and issues/opportunities such as autonomous cars, ride-sharing, personal mobility, EVs and the related new policies that need to be put into place to support this new growing industry. Even I was lucky enough to be part of a Fireside Chat following the G7 meetings at New Mobility World.
A few weeks ago Mercedes made an announcement about it’s combined autonomous and ride-sharing vision. Mercedes already has Car2Go, BMW has DriveNOW and Audi also announced the company’s own car-sharing variant on the US west coast.
Car2Go is the largest car-sharing company in the world with over one million members (as of May 2015), but Mercedes’ new system envisages a future where autonomous vehicles will drive customers around, even tapping into their calendars to automate the most convenient time to send the cars.
Uber is way ahead when it comes to ride sharing, but many are now throwing their hat into the ring as they realize how much more profitable transportation as a service models look, and how fast they are growing. Even Apple coincidentally made it known that they are officially launching their own car in 2019.
When you consider that energy costs will only go up, cities are becoming more densely populated and the overall cost of car ownership continues to rise, transportation as a service will only continue to grow rapidly. I believe the 2015 Frankfurt auto show was the tipping point for when the traditional car industry fully embraced this change.
This article was written by David Muyres, Executive Director for Global Product Innovation at Yanfeng Automotive Interiors and a mobility futurist