The majority of car makers the world over think that for the next five years, electric cars will remain too expensive to stand a chance in the mass market. Their saving grace must be government subsidies. Without government money, EVs are priced out of the market.
Nevertheless, most automakers think that research and investment in this category is important, almost 90 percent are planning to invest in hybrid systems, battery electric power or hydrogen fuel-cell technologies over the next five years.
These are, in a nutshell, the sobering results of the KPMG 2011 Global Automotive Executive Survey, which asked over 200 global automakers, suppliers and dealers where they think their business will be going over the coming five to 10 years.
Here are the main insights:
- Fuel-efficiency remains the biggest consideration when purchasing a car.
- The growth (but not the volume) will be in hybrid and electric vehicles over the next five years.
- A two-tier global market evolves: Mature countries struggle to cope with changing mobility behavior. Up-and-coming regions push to deliver a variety of cars to populations eager for greater mobility.
- Population growth and urbanization is driving a significant change across the entire automotive landscape.
- While the world waits for affordable electric vehicles, ‘mobility service solutions’ (short-term rental of a car, or various modes of transport) are what some respondents believe may be game-changing. Only nine percent of respondents believe that mobility solutions will represent a significant part of their strategy. However, some automakers like Daimler, Peugeot, BMW and others are already investing in this area. Says KPMG: “Those who own the mobility grid could well be the same as those who own the market.”
- Development of alternative fuels and powertrain technologies is risky and costly. 68 percent of major players are opting to enter into strategic alliances or joint ventures with suppliers rather than seek capital and go it alone.
- Overcapacity continues to be a chief concern in both mature and emerging markets. Almost two-thirds of respondents believe the US is the most overbuilt, with Japan and Germany following. China and India are expected to reach overcapacity within five years.
Two hundred automotive executives participated in the survey. Over half were business unit heads or higher.