As another year has come to an end, the automotive industry enters a new decade, full of innovation, failures, and successes.
Before moving forward, though, it’s important to take
a look back at the year that’s passed. How did
the automotive industry change throughout 2019? What trends rose to greater popularity? Which cars were the most popular? What does the future of the electric vehicle look like?
Let’s dive into the transformations the automotive industry saw in 2019. With any luck, the trends of the year past will help consumers and manufacturers alike determine where the automotive industry is headed in the new year.
2019 in summary
Internationally, the automotive industry struggled in 2019. This isn’t to say that the industry didn’t grow, but rather that the pace slowed, as the growth rates dropped from 2% to 1.4%, still bringing in a revenue of $2.2 trillion on the passenger car market.
Similarly, vehicle registration across the EU dropped by 3.9%, suggesting that fewer drivers were interested in purchasing vehicles this year. Comparatively, the US manufacturers were left to deal with a fluctuating market that, like the EU, saw a decline in the last half of the year. In the UK, specifically, the threat of Brexit challenged vehicle sales, as no one was – or is – sure of how separation from the EU will impact vehicular maintenance and legislation.
In the EU, the market is shifting away from diesel vehicles and towards petrol cars. In the early months of 2019, the EU market leaned into its petrol preference, with 60% of new passenger vehicles relying on that source of fuel over diesel. Comparatively, on the US market more diesel vehicles were sold in 2019 than in 2018.
Connectivity and the IoT provided the automotive industry with revenue where actual vehicular sales did not. Automotive manufacturers across the EU and in the US are pushing for a more connected future and were, in 2019, able to reach out into the global market with data collected from innovated, V2V vehicles.
Increased integration between AI and cars is set to change the way automotive manufacturers bolster their revenue based on this year’s success.
Electric and other sustainable vehicles: 2019 in review
There has been a significant amount of talk, over the past few years, about the automotive industry moving towards an electric future. Growth has arguably been slower than many would have liked or predicted. That said, both the industry and invested consumers seem to have accepted that EVs are the way of the future.
2019 saw a touch of growth in the number of drivers using electric vehicles.
Alternatively-powered vehicles currently make up 8.9% of the EU market. This is a bump from the 2.0% of new EVs registered with the EU in 2018.
In response to this growth, automotive manufacturers with consumers all across the EU have significantly increased the number of electric batteries they’re purchasing. Since 2012, sales of electric vehicles to other countries by EU manufacturers have spiked from the low hundred thousands to the millions.
As sales have risen, so has the price of the average EV.
The increase has not made the cars inaccessible, but it does suggest that increased interest is allowing car manufacturers to market their sustainable vehicles more competitively.
There are also 144,000 charging ports available across EU-affiliated countries. The UK – tenuous position not-withstanding – currently houses 13%, or 19,076, of those charging ports. This places the UK at number 2 in the list of EU countries with the largest electric vehicle market shares.
All that said, 2019 was not a great year for electric vehicles. In the UK, specifically, sales of electric vehicles and other vehicles operating with alternative fuels dropped by 6.7%. It’s possible that the new year will reinvigorate the market. Given the UK’s uncertain political future, however, predictions are speculative, at best.
Looking Towards the Future
That said, there are still a few concrete trends that can be tracked into the new decade. It is difficult, of course, to predict what models and makes of vehicles will reign over others in the years to come, as many have yet to be created. As mentioned, predictions about electric vehicles and other sustainable vehicles remain mired by the UK’s current political standing.
However, it’s clear that automotive manufacturers across the EU are going to have to cut factory costs. Sales may increase, as may revenue, as a result of the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. However, that revenue is predicted to go towards the research and development of automated vehicles. While these vehicles have yet to take to the roads, they’re awaited with great anticipation.
It’s also likely that data analysis will become even more essential to the success of the automotive industry. As mentioned, many manufacturers are already supplementing their revenue by outsourcing the data that smarter vehicles can collect. Many manufacturers have ambitions when it comes to V2V and V2I vehicles. While the prototypes of these vehicles are in the works, they’re going to require significant advancement on the part of their manufacturers and the cities in which they would operate before they debut on the road.
In this tumultuous year, consumers and manufacturers alike caught a glimpse of the changes coming to the automotive industry. While it’s increasingly obvious that UK politics will determine how both are set to evolve, the technological advancements of the future look bright. Here’s hoping that the lessons and developments seen in 2019 carry all parties into an innovative future.
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