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Hot Auto Topics From CAR(la) Center For Automotive Research - June 24, 2022



Traverse City MI June 24, 2022; Electric vehicle affordability and incentives were a hot topic this week as inflation continues to affect the cost of EVs, among other things. There were also some interesting studies from IIHS and NHTSA related to driver-assistance features in vehicles. Lastly, we review recent partnerships and acquisitions in the industry, with many of them contributing to the EV revolution.

As microchip shortages and other supply chain struggles continue to plague the automotive industry, we have migrated all news updates related to supply chain disruptions to our website. You can stay informed on the various supply chain crises affecting the global auto industry here.

If you missed my previous Hot Topics email, you can read it here..

We would love to hear from you and welcome your questions at any time. If you're interested in sharing your thoughts with us on hot topics, or if you would like to ask us a research question, please reach out to Sara Bozer.

Hot Topics of 6/20/2022 - 6/24/2022

EV Affordability and Incentives

My thoughts:

Even ICE vehicles are reaching unaffordable prices for the vast majority of Americans. With inflation taking an even larger toll on one’s pocketbook, hanging on to an older vehicle and making it last longer is a more affordable option. Or, we really need to make an equitable mobility ecosystem which provides transit regardless of your social status. CAR ownership is NOT a reality or solution for many people. There are those who prefer NOT to own a vehicle and there are those who don’t have the luxury of a preference. 
BUT, mobility is the key to opportunites such as jobs, education and healthcare. Beyond this, we have a number of Americans (myself included) predicted to outlive their driver’s license by 10 years. I believe this group of people will want mobility solutions to see family, friends, and participate in an active life. 

It is good to see China, Inda, and Europe putting “city” cars in the market and making more affordable options. These options need to be part of mobility solutions, not individual ownership.

Further, we need to have a public transit system that connects our major cities and has 1st mile/last mile solutions. There has been a lot of work in this doman via our UTCs(University Transportation Centers), but we need to make them all commercially viable.  The automakers have a key role here to expand their portfolio and options. I challenge us all to think differently about this problem and solution.

Recent Vehicle Safety Studies

My thoughts:

On a personal note, my family experienced a tragedy last weekend due to a high speed front end collision. My nieces’ husband lost his sister, brother, and aunt in a vehicle crash which is still under investigation. We continue to see the data on accidents go north exponentially and it’s time to take action. Our ADAS systems work well, but our older cars on the road don’t have these systems.  Why don’t we have retrofit kits available? 

Additonally, we need clear performance standards for these systems and we need to better inform our drivers what they are “really” capable of doing. This starts with driver education with reinforcement at the dealer or via the delivery method. 

Then, let’s remember a lesson I was taught when I was learning to drive. My father looked me in the eyes and said, “Carla – you are behind the wheel of a 4000 lb killing machine.”  Maybe that seems like strong language, but at my age, I remember it like it was yesterday. Let’s end distracted driving and make sure that nobody has to live their life knowing it was their distraction that caused them to “kill or maim” another person.

New Partnerships and Acquisitions

My thoughts:

These partnerships are going to continue to happen as companies who need expertise without existing human capital will partner or acquire those that do. There is an interesting twist that is starting to be seen lately related to the need to work with someone who will help you with your sustainability goals.  Be it tires made of new materials, battery recyclers, solar power for manufacturing and more, these partnerships now involve due diligence of alignment regarding sustainability.  Sustainability means much more than just environmental carbon footprint, but includes social (D&I and labor conditions) as well as governance (audit standards, honesty in actions and board behavior).  

Due diligence used to mainly be related to financials, but no longer, as financial performance is intertwined with sustainability goals and delivery.  Companies now seriously think about the culture of the company – does it fit with their model or will it create too much clash?  We’ve seen too many failures in these areas over the years and leaders have learned their lessons. Personally, I’m excited to see more of these and learn their lessons regardless if they are successful or fail.

Best Regards,

Carla Bailo
President and CEO
Center for Automotive Research

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