Study: Consumer Preferences Driving Trends

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Jan. 28, 2019—Arthur D. Little recently released its 2018 Global Automotive Study Future of Automotive Mobility-Reloaded. The study, based on a survey of more than 8,000 drivers in 13 countries, examines how end-consumer preferences are driving megatrends such as electric mobility, car sharing and autonomous driving.

Here are a few key findings from the study:

  • The desire to own vehicles—also from the status perspective—has not changed at all
  • Despite that many people are registered for car sharing, consumers still consider it (only) an additional mobility option—with strong regional differences
  • Support for P2P car sharing has declined
  • Events of the last years have led to a much more critical customer perspective of autonomous driving
  • Securing private data from customers is becoming a showstopper for connected-car services and new mobility business models
  • People are starting to think greener—support for electric vehicles is picking up
  • A dramatic change can be projected for drivetrain selections—from gasoline and diesel towards hybrid and battery electric drivetrains—OEMs’ volume planning will be affected

Dr. Klaus Schmitz, partner with Arthur D. Little, took a deeper dive into the findings with Ratchet+Wrench and shared a few of the key findings of the study and the impact it will have on independent repair shops.

What was the finding you were most surprised by in the study?

The strong degree of readiness to shift from ICE to alternate drivetrains. Other findings that stood out were the high importance of owning a car, the falling acceptance of autonomous driving, and car sharing as a niche market.

What trends do you think will impact the industry as a whole in the next five years?

Within the next five years, the trend toward electronic vehicles will have the biggest impact, which will be on the maintenance of the vehicles.

Autonomous driving will also be a game changer for new mobility, which will lead to more industrialized maintenance and shift toward large fleet customers in substitution of private car owners.

Everyone seems to be talking about autonomous vehicles but how long do you think it will actually be before fully autonomous vehicles enter the consumer market?

This is a key question. I personally tend to estimate they will be available earlier than many think. So, 10 years rather than 20. I would even estimate—but this is just more speculation—that it could come even sooner.

How long before the industry should start getting ready for the autonomous future?

The industry should at least be coming up with a strategy right now.

What are the major long-term impacts and opportunities for maintenance repair shops?

Autonomy itself will lead to less wear and tear.   

Per mileage, the time and need for service and parts will decrease because of the electrical drivetrain but the battery could help compensate for that. If there are one to two battery replacements in the lifecycle of a vehicle, that could compensate a good degree for the lack of other needs.

As vehicle ownership shifts, it will also be important to look at the needs of fleet customers rather than private customers in the long run. Will it be the independent maintenance shop or fixed operations that will be maintaining fleets?

The study mentioned that there will be a dramatic change in drivetrain selections and that OEMs will need to adjust volume planning. Can you go more in-depth on that?

Everyone is questioning when electric driving will take off. Our customer survey indicated that at least the customers are ready for that shift. When this happens, there will be a huge volume shift from ICE to BEV (and hybrid). Supply and production facilities—as well as infrastructure—need to be ready for that.

What advice would you give to the industry as a whole to prepare for the future?

Prepare for it now. Look to the future and figure out where you want to be and start developing a strategic plan to get there and how you’ll protect that position among uncertainty and competition. Consider your options.    




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