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Quo vadis, automotive industry? A vision of possible industry transformations

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The automotive industry has reached a mature state, as is evidenced by its growth and by the nature of competition (cost, speed, variants, a rush into a few growing regions and segments), and industry consolidation. At the same, technical progress continues to be dynamic. In this paper, the authors examine how this industry might evolve in the long term. They propose four "archetype visions" of long-term industry evolution. · The super car: Continuation of current dynamics, with continuing technology progression to include more features (e.g., performance, comfort, safety, quality, cleanliness) and reduce costs, with continuing industry consolidation. · The tailored car: Driven by production technology enablers, cars will be custom-made, not only by mixing and matching standard components but by actually customizing the shape and style of components. And this at prices comparable to today. · Brand Worlds: Car manufacturers extend their brands to other consumer product categories, attempting to "immerse" costumers in a "total brand experience" that includes, e.g., financial, lifestyle, entertainment, and communication products. · Multiple Transportation Modes: Cars will extend other modes of individual transportation, such as water (boat-car), air (flying car), etc. This would imply entering other industries and creating new variants of those industries. The authors offer a framework for proposing those four visions. For each, they discuss existing technology enablers and first indicators, demand scenarios, economics as well as supply chain implications (such as industry complexity). They conclude by evaluating the need for managers today to pursue one or several of the four visions.

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