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Quo vadis, automative industry? A vision of possible industry transformations (RV of 2004/57/TM)

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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. In parallel, technical progress continues to be dynamic. In this paper, we examine how the automotive industry might evolve in the long term. In the foreseeable future, current trends will likely continue toward a highly competitive consumer products industry, with increasing features driven by electronics. In this base scenario the "autobahn" will merge with the "infobahn", accompanied by possible market entry by software or electronics players, and a battle for dominance over the technology platform (which will have to be shared across car makers). Car makers will have to seek avenues for differentiation, for which we see three o 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 those of today. o Brand Worlds: Car manufacturers extend their brands to other consumer product categories, attempting to "immerse" consumers in a "total brand experience" that includes, among others, financial, lifestyle, entertainment, and communication products. o 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. We offer a framework for proposing those scenarios. For each, we discuss technology drivers, current early indicators, economics, and supply chain implications (such as industry complexity). We conclude by evaluating the need for managers today to pursue not only the (inevitable) base case but also one or several of the three opportunities.

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