The Future of Automotive: Looking Ahead to 2025

October 5, 2017

The auto revolution is here. How to keep up with changes in technology, consumers, and industry.

Not since the Model T rolled off the assembly line has the automobile sector undergone such a drastic transformation. Advances in technology, a savvy consumer base, and industry innovations have ignited an auto revolution. IBM polled 175 auto executives from 21 different countries to determine the major factors that will disrupt the industry over the next decade. Through understanding these changes, auto manufacturers can withstand the shifts ahead and also unearth new business opportunities within the changing landscape.

Technology:

Industry experts identified technology as the number one change agent that will impact the auto industry, with 68% of those polled sighting it as a critical external force. The self-driving capabilities of tomorrow’s cars have grabbed headlines across the country, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to technology being incorporated into tomorrow’s cars.

Automotive executives anticipate that the new smart car will meet consumer demand for hyper-personalization, exceeding expectations for mere travel. The capacity for “self-integration” will mean that cars will be able to collect information regarding traffic, weather, and road delays, and adapt its route guidance accordingly. An ability for “self-healing” will ensure high-level analytics identify and fix vehicle issues with very little involvement from the driver. Cars will also be able to “self-configure” to a driver’s personal data, making adjustments for anything from a driver’s medical issues to their musical preferences. “Self-socializing” capabilities will follow the trend towards interconnectedness by syncing up with other cars to share information. Lastly, 74% of executives polled believe that vehicles will be “self-learning” allowing cars to aggregate all of this information for an optimal driving experience.

Auto brands can benefit from staying abreast of the latest technological developments, especially those outside of the traditional automobile sphere. Identifying new technology to incorporate into products, communications, and corporate infrastructure can help differentiate brands from their competition. Auto manufacturers can strive to become experts within one or all of the six major technological changes to deliver an outstanding customer experience.

Consumers:

Increasingly consumers expect auto brands to deliver personalized communications through a multi-platform approach. Changing consumer expectations are considered the second most important external factor to influence the auto industry over the next ten years.

Consumers are bombarded with brand messaging on a constant basis, and automakers have to work extra hard to own the key micro-moments which shape consumers’ preferences and buying decisions. Brands can set themselves apart through engaging consumers with customized messaging. New technology such as 360 Interactive Virtual Reality can grab consumers’ attention and break through the advertising clutter. Relevance of messaging and brand owned online spaces that are easy to navigate can hold this attention and help influence the consumer journey.

It is expected by consumers that auto brands communicate with them on social platforms they are already frequenting, such as Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest, with an expectation for consistent messaging across all platforms. Through utilizing platforms where consumers are already researching auto-related information, especially through mobile devices, communications can remain visible and accessible.

While consumer demand becomes more complex, the good news is that consumers are more and more engaged with the auto process. Auto executives expect their customers will become increasingly active in the creation of new products over the next few years, providing feedback on vehicle development, communications, and even business strategy. From vehicle inception through to end promotion manufacturers can increase consumer engagement through diligently pursuing input from their buyers.

Industry:

Consumers’ current notion of mobility has moved beyond the vehicle itself. They are seeking more efficient and cost-effective means of travel, which also addresses urbanization and their changing lifestyle. To that end, consumer-led innovations have started to gain traction and shake up the traditional business model, the most noteworthy being ride sharing or car sharing.

Car sharing may eliminate the need for car ownership, and thus car brands rightfully view this segment as competition. However, ride sharing could in fact present new opportunities for existing car brands. Through heeding consumer feedback, car brands could incorporate key elements into their vehicle to differentiate themselves as the best choice for car sharing. By associating the brand with services outside of the physical vehicle, this brand can also become more frequently requested in ride-sharing models.

Within this evolving market, auto brands would do well to identify new revenue streams outside the conventional business mold. Manufacturers can stay ahead of the curve through investigating new models that explore different vehicle usage and ownership structures which optimize the driving experience for both driver and passenger. By creating a corporate culture that encourages risk-taking and innovative thinking, auto brands can train their workforce to meet the ongoing needs of their consumers.

What do you foresee as the major market change for the automobile industry? Tweet us @stjoseph.

Sources
1. IBM

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