Regulation to sway automotive future

Regulation as much as customers will determine the future of the automotive industry, according to a new report published by global management consultancy Arthur D. Little (ADL).

Its study, The Future of Automotive Mobility, is based on a global survey of 6,500 participants, including customers, industry players and regulators.

It concluded that the future of mobility will no longer depend primarily on the preferences of customers, but will increasingly be driven by regulation as cities seek to resolve traffic-generated problems such as congestion and poor air quality. Electric mobility, car sharing and autonomous driving solutions all have an important role to play in meeting these challenges – however, the effect on traditional OEMs’ production volume may not be as severe as some experts have predicted.

For example, a key component of autonomous driving will be ‘mobility-on-demand’ solutions, in which customers use ‘robot taxis.’ Based on real mobility data from almost 100 mega-cities, ADL simulated the effect of robot taxis upon mobility behaviour and car sales. The findings revealed that even with total market coverage, their effect was not as bad as the predicted worst case scenario.

Klaus Schmitz, partner in ADL’s Automotive Division, said, ‘In a moderate scenario, in which 11 metropolitan regions implement the new form of urban mobility by 2030, global vehicle sales will rise to 121 million vehicles a year, a 39% increase compared to today. In a progressive scenario of 52 pioneer cities, sales will amount to 119 million vehicles, a 34% increase.’

However, the report also points out that a major challenge for manufacturers is the loss of direct access to the mobility customer, with huge fleet operators stepping between them.

Wolf-Dieter Hoppe, author of the study and Associate Director at ADL, said, ‘Millions of individual customers will be replaced by a few very large, multinational fleet operators. These could take over the dominant role of OEMs in the ecosystem, as they would have direct customer access as well as considerable volume power. In particular, this would be a problem for today’s premium manufacturers.’