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Will 2016 Be a Pivotal Year for Auto Industry?

Experts expect the auto industry to embrace true innovation over the coming year

During the course of 2015, we reported on the many studies and reports that indicate that telematics insurance, safety/security features, infotainment and other added value features have become a key decision-making factor in the purchase of a new vehicle. The question, however, is to what extent automakers have truly digested this new consumer outlook.

As has occurred in many other industries – and especially in the mobile phone industry over the past ten years – large automakers are called to profoundly innovate their offering and keep up with the global disruption introduced by technology. And rather than just fall into the hands of the major service providers, automakers need commit to innovation and consumer interest by investigating the disruptive start-ups that can enable them to differentiate and segment the market.

Segmentation will come naturally, as first-world markets continue to move towards greener electric vehicles, smart cities and, perhaps, self-driving vehicles. However, over the next fifty years, the automotive industry will witness its greatest growth in emerging markets, where consumers will be happy to enjoy new safety or infotainment features, but will surely not be able to pay the premium that renowned carmakers charge for them. These markets will look to open-source solutions that provide the same benefits and can be integrated in vehicles at a far lower cost.

In 2016, smart cars, like smartphones, will have to look outside of their industry to identify new potential for connected car features and invest in or partner with tech companies and disruptive start-ups that will allow them to gain an edge on their competitors.

The car industry is called to step-up their research and innovation drive, and interesting lessons can be gleaned from the mobile phone industry, such as not hanging on to winning solutions for too long (this lead to the demise of Blackberry) or mimicking the iPhone without providing any true improvements (many other manufacturers). The first manufacturer that will offer true innovation will conquer a significant percentage of the market. And this may be an innovative proprietary system, a modular open-source system or … Well, that’s what disruption is all about!

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