Technology is developing at such a fast pace making it hard for older industries to keep up. That’s how you can sum up a recent interview for Automotive News Europe with BMW’s Sales and Marketing Chief, Ian Robertson. Speaking to the publication at its annual congress, the Briton warned the auto industry as a whole must adapt to the new way people interact and to the new technology, or it may soon become obsolete.
“In our view the next 10 years are probably going to involve more change and more dynamics than we have seen in the last 100. The challenge for us as an industry is: Don’t enjoy the warm water, because it’s not going to end well,” he told participants. “In 2003, there were 6.3 billion people and 500 million smartphones. What you see now is that very, very shortly we are now going to have four or five devices for every person on the planet — now that tells you something changed and changed very quickly,” he added.
And that’s truly a worrying thought. The world changed for a number of reasons but the new technology that is advancing at a never-before seen rapid pace is changing every aspect of our lives, and the auto industry will be affected as well. People just don’t buy as many cars as they did before, partly because of the incredible traffic we’re dealing with – being more profitable to use public transport – and partly because they have alternatives.
Most buyers prefer to shop online, for example, thus reducing time spent in traffic heading to the malls/shops where their products are located and reducing their need for a car. Furthermore, the rise of companies such as Uber is revolutionizing the transportation business, while other start-ups are also starting to focus on future mobility.
“If you go to Silicon Valley, and I was there a couple of weeks ago, 50 percent of all the startups last year had some sort of mobility in their title — 50 percent. Many of them will crash and burn but a few will come out the other side,” Robertson said.
And he’s absolutely right, one of the most profitable companies in the world right now, Uber, valued at $63 Billion, is one of them.
But this is not the only worrying aspect about the future. The technology is advancing so fast that a lot of people are starting to ask for more features inside their cars, faster. That’s why, the traditional 7-year production span for a model is quickly becoming a thing of the past, manufacturers being forced to update their cars a lot sooner these days.