India has seen challenging times during the last year as the automotive sector has witnessed a big claw back in production and sales figures due to low demand sentiments across all vehicle segments. Having bounced back from the blues of
demonetisation and GST, the auto industry registered a double-digit year-on-year growth of 14.2%. But the bliss was short-lived, with the storm of trade wars and demand slowdown soon affecting this growth that declined to single digits in the middle of the year, leading to the scaling down of production, factory shutdowns and manpower rationalisation.
The revolution in automotive manufacturing
The government has put forward various incentives and schemes to prevent the sector tripping and reviving the industry sentiments. In fact, the slowdown has given the auto sector time that must be aptly utilised towards research and development so as to be able to devise and innovate cutting-edge solutions. Automotive manufacturing is currently facing what might be its most supreme revolution. This transformation is characterised by digitally-enabled integration of global product standards, evolving alternate usage patterns and hi-tech services in the world of transportation. Technology-driven learnings have continuously been developing the approaches in how companies react to customer needs.
Trends transforming the automotive industry
Liberalisation has made both, international and Indian markets, progressively integrate, giving companies a means to enter new markets. Consumers now want products that meet their individual needs. However, with greater than before global competition, along with a strong emphasis on value and not on brand loyalty, clients usually are not hassled by the need for personalised products. As a result, automobile manufacturers have new challenging requests within their arena of action. There are many emerging trends which are changing the automotive industry:
Proliferation of electric vehicles
We have already entered the era of the next-gen mobility solutions that are not only sustainable but also clean. Over the last couple of years, India has witnessed a massive thrust towards the deployment of electric vehicles, both in private as well as public mobility domains. Few OEMs have already introduced their offerings to this effect, thereby spearheading the e-mobility revolution in this part of the world. Industry specialists and experts have predicted that in the long run, electric cars will prove to be more economical than their petrol and diesel counterparts. Next in line is putting the required ecosystem in place that will support the rapid deployment and running of e-vehicles. With these developments taking place at a fast pace, we are likely to see a lot more interesting things in the near future. The future of e-mobility looks quite promising and fairly super-charged as we keenly wait to see how far these evolving trends will develop.
This is certainly the most interesting development that will be ruling the automotive arena. However, self-driving vehicles are currently far and few on roads, as they are still being tested all over the world. Autonomous driving could rapidly catch up across markets. The alliance between these advanced technologies need to be acknowledged for this ideation. From reducing mishaps caused due to fatigue to allowing drivers to be extra social with companion travellers, the welfares of this skill are abundant. Ever since Google started testing with autonomous driving, this has been the topic of discussion.
A lot of smart technologies have made their way into automobiles. Connected vehicles will have the ability to share particulars about driving situations such as sudden decelerating, speed, weather conditions and others. This is just the commencement of what we can mention as Vehicle to Vehicle Communication (V2V) – a technology that leverages Wi-Fi which will progressively turn out to be a common feature on every vehicle. This is why issues like car sensors, vehicle transmissions and wireless infrastructure have been a part of widespread conversations over the past few years.
The automotive industry has been seeing a lot of challenges over the last few years and one of these is the cumulative number of false part vendors. Blockchain is a possible technology that is being leveraged to check any black marketing. Eliminating the fake parts from the market can improve limpidity and effect in very well-organised evaluating policies. This technology can generate a precise, important decorum for the growing importance of supply chain. Blockchain is a progressing automotive inclination that is receiving a lot of positive welcome in the tech space.
3D Printing is a technology that has been slowly making inroads into almost every aspect of our lives, and the automotive sector is no exception to this. Presently, cars are being devised to endure three to five crashes and this will last seven to ten years. However, 3D Printing can help in developing a vehicle on a solid chassis with its exterior body devised for a single crash and replace just the outer body cost-efficiently, while retaining the chassis. This idea could revolutionise accident maintenance. Making it extremely cost-effective to develop things, 3D Printing is all set to revolutionise car designing and manufacturing.
Challenges faced by auto manufacturers
Today, the automobile industry remains extremely significant, and the small and medium-sized automobile manufacturers now play a vital role as well. Of course, like companies in all manufacturing sectors, auto manufacturers face unique challenges.
Sustainability: Consumers are gradually getting worried about sustainability. Manufacturers, hence, need to create more eco-friendly cars and be more efficient in their systems and production processes.
Globalisation: With new players entering the market, there is certainly going to be increased global competition; once again, most answers call for improved efficiencies, quality and customer delight
Urbanisation: Modern buyers have a different set of standards for their cars, many of which are connected to expansions. They include smaller vehicles, better maneuverability and enlarged fuel mileage.
Attracting talent: As the automobile industry tends to change, the manufacturers will need to continue enticing the best and the liveliest talent to adapt to the times. People need to be trained and have specific knowledge about emerging trends. Industrialists must come up with a training department for every new ideation.
Shaping the automotive industry
Automobile players cannot forecast the prospect of the industry with confidence. They can still make plans to move now so as to shape the industry. The aim of the automotive sector in advanced countries like the USA, Germany, Japan and Korea is to grow sustainably, both in economic and environmental terms. New product and manufacturing technologies have to be joined, strategic mergers put in place and customer satisfaction enhanced by localisation and individualisation, while keeping prices at optimum levels.