The automotive industry has seen many shifts over the past two decades. With the rise of car-sharing, the decline of gas and oil-dependent vehicles, and the introduction of self-driving vehicles, it’s clear that the auto industry is open to change. What’s most important is that there is a healthy balance between new, innovative companies finding a place in the market, and generations-old companies adapting to trends and technology.
Automakers that ignore these trends will be quickly left behind, and new services and tech startups will continue to fill in the gaps. With that in mind, here are four innovative companies that are changing various sectors of the auto industry:
Tesla — Electric Cars
Slowly but surely, the internal combustion engine is phasing out. And while this won’t happen overnight, the statistics show that change is happening each day. More and more people are already opting for hybrid vehicles, namely because there are many more gas stations available than charging stations. And until demand for electric vehicles is high, so too will remain the cost of production. However, other countries are seeing a more dramatic shit to electric vehicles.
There’s no doubt that Tesla is leading the electric car revolution. They believe that luxury electric vehicles are the future of tomorrow, and their efforts to deliver a produce that demonstrates this have proven worthwhile. So far in 2020, Tesla has outsold the top three electric automakers combined. Although competition in the electric vehicle space is becoming stronger, Tesla clearly remains the industry leader.
Olive - Flexible Car Insurance
The auto industry is one that’s antiquated and slow to adapt to technological shifts. But companies like Olive are changing the way car owners deal with extended insurance options. One of the biggest differences between Olive and its competitors is that it offers flexible payment plans. After you’ve been quoted, you pay month to month and cancel anytime. It eliminates the middleman markups, confusing fine-print, and lock-in contracts. It also features plans designed for specific models. For example, as the owner of a Wrangler, you might opt for a Jeep extended warranty plan.
Volvo — Subscription Vehicle Program
Car-sharing companies have had a dramatic impact on the auto industry. In areas—such as metropolitan cities—where car-sharing is common, the rate of car ownership is decreasing, while the rate of no-car households gradually increases. If this trend continues, car companies will have to re-examine how they approach mobility, branching out beyond the traditional car ownership path. With modern consumers having such a wide array of options, car companies must adapt to these trends, which is why some companies, like Audi, have already begun exploring on-demand car-sharing services on their own.
Volvo is another company that’s thinking outside the box. To accommodate this shift, they launched the Care by Volvo plan, a subscription program that includes car payment, insurance, and maintenance in one monthly fee. Volvo even offers the first 30 days for free, appealing to the “try it first” model. In an consumerist economy that values convenience, this could create a major incentive for car owners, and other auto companies may follow suit.
Waymo - Self-Driving Vehicles
There are many players in the self-driving sector, and there’s no doubt that self-driving vehicles will play a critical role in the shape of the auto industry. However, Waymo, which is run by Google, is credited as one of the primary frontrunners. Waymo doesn’t currently plan to get into the business of producing vehicles; instead, they are producing the technology necessary for other manufacturers to adopt. By licensing this technology, they allow other companies to utilize their software and sensors to enable its existing platforms in the self-driving arena.
Already, Waymo is ahead in terms of execution. Their robotaxi pilot program had more than 6,200 riders during the first month. As such, if car manufacturers make the decision to use Waymo’s technology, as opposed to creating self-driving vehicles of their own, Waymo could position itself as the industry standard tech for self driving. To date, they’ve signed exclusive deals with Chrysler and Volvo to streamline their self-driving technology.
Ford, General Motors, and Tesla are all important companies exploring self-driving capabilities in-house, and companies like Tesla already have a fleet of vehicles that can do a considerable amount of self-driving on their own. Moving forward, auto manufacturers will have to decide whether starting their own autonomous fleet is worth the investment, or whether incorporating existing technology will be a more strategic move.
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