According to Marc Winterhoff, Director and Head of Arthur D. Little’s German Automotive & Manufacturing practice, “We think this scenario is based on a false assumption, because the financial crisis is an amplifier, but not the cause, of the massive sales slump. The fundamental change in customer demand has its origins in the steadily rising oil prices right up to the outbreak of the crisis and in the debate over CO2. These are both sufficiently well-known and globally acting megatrends which, until that point were given only scant attention by the automotive industry.” These factors have now irreversibly changed customer behaviour in “the blink of an eye, in terms of automotive history”. This has led to significant overall market weakness and significant segment shifts from large, luxury vehicles to smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles. Even the current historically low oil prices have not brought relief. The questions that arise are:
- What are the long-term trends influencing the market, in addition to economic fluctuations?
- How will these quantitatively and qualitatively affect the future automotive market?
- In this context, is there still any growth potential left in the passenger vehicle market, or must the entire industry now adjust to market stagnation or even sustained sales decreases?
- Neo-Ecology, initially created by the environmental movements of the 1980s, is now perceived as a societal responsibility (“Corporate Social Responsibility”). The large increases in oil prices in the run-up to the financial crisis and the CO2 debate have again provided enormous impetus to this megatrend. For virtually all industries, products that have missed this development are scarcely marketable.
- The megatrend Individualization describes the liberation of consumers from mass movements. Increasingly, traditional models of life are being abandoned and in all strata of society customers enjoy being non-conformist. For example, a successful businessman may do without status symbols and drive a small car; while on the other hand, a student may drive a middle-class family sedan.
- The third influence, the Mobility factor, describes the strong quantitative growth in mobility. In the 1960s and 1970s, the individual mobility radius expanded significantly in the triad markets, while the BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India, China) followed with a slight delay. However, limitations or adverse effects of mobility, such as traffic and CO2 emissions, were only reflected in society at a much later date.
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Further InformationFurther information from: Sue Glanville / Maita Soukup
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