Automobile industry outlook in 2018

Today’s world is unimaginable without automobiles. They are especially essential to the working population. Automobiles are complex, sophisticated machines which require regular mechanical and electrical service, replacement parts, paint, cleaning, stereo system installations and more. The automotive aftermarket provides these parts and services, and largely flourishes during economic uncertainty. After the economic crisis in 2008, which largely affected the automobile market, the return of stability has seen decline of car sales. With the return of economic stability after crisis in 2008, the car sales have been increasing as well - but the aftermarket remains strong. One thing is for sure, the car industry is facing challenging times.

Some key trends that can be seen are that many customers are persuading towards greener, fuel efficient and sustainable vehicles; mobility no longer means auto-mobility by default; the only thing that counts is efficient and inexpensive transport and the brand. Therefore, the loyal customers are now rethinking their buying decisions because of surplus choices in the market.

Additionally, there are many technological advances like live traffic updates, smart routing and tracking, roadside assistance in case of an accident, automatic toll transactions, automatic parking / parking management and much more. So, over the next decade, we can expect that internet-connected car technologies and self-directed vehicles are set to stir up yet another revolution in the automotive sector. In 2016, some 40% of U.S. respondents aged between 25 and 34 stated that they were willing to use fully autonomous vehicles, apparently because they consider autonomous vehicles to be safer than conventional cars. The global market for autonomous driving hardware components is expected to grow from 400 million U.S. dollars in 2015 to 40 billion U.S. dollars in 2030.

According to The Week Magazine, currently we have several companies working on driverless car and one of them is Google, who is working on driverless cars in the United States. Up until recently this tech company was putting its own self-driving technology into the cars made by other manufacturers, such as BMW and Audi, but in May Google announced that it would begin producing cars of its own. According to the BBC, Chinese search firm, Baidu, also announced that it had a driverless car in the "early stage of development". The main competitor for Google would be Apple, which is preparing to announce its first electric car in 2019, Tesla, which made some impressive progress; Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes- Benz has made some progress in the industry and Volvo with DriveMe project is a proper competitor in the electric cars industry and is pushing forward its self-driving car efforts. (2015)

At this point, there aren’t enough electric vehicles and they are too expensive to have a large influence on car market, but the forecast of the future car market is that the cost of owning an electrical car will be equal or below that of driving a car powered by fuel by the mid of 2020s. With progress of driverless technology, which provides advantages of self- navigation and productive travel time, along with the elimination of parking jams, advantages of traditional

carmakers will shrink, so the carmakers must scour the technology sector for the right people, the right technologies and that may keep them competitive in the future. Investing into software is an imperative and that can be done through partnerships or acquisitions of software companies to get the expertise required in the vehicle market.

Author: Zoran Pesic