Advertisement

"Kids aren’t learning to drive as they hang on for their driverless pods"

The car industry is set to undergo a radical change in the next five years, but Mike Rutherford wonders if that's a good thing...

Opinion - driverless pod

Please, can we all start the new year by taking a deep breath, before thinking very carefully about where things car-related are heading in 2019 and beyond? The argument is that the motoring scene will undergo more change in the next five years than it did in the previous 50. I think that’s possible. But it’s also unwelcome, unnecessary and unworkable.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Who are the motorists demanding this short, sharp, shocking, untried and untested upheaval? Not a single one I’ve met, received mail from, or talked to on radio phone-in programmes.

Meanwhile, I do have a mate who’s a driving instructor, going out of business because his once-solid customer base of young men and women is deserting him. Apparently, kids aren’t learning to drive as they hang on for their driverless pods – which may or may not be coming their way at a price they can afford. We simply don’t know.

Everything you need to know about autonomous cars

Change is good when it occurs at a sensible, controlled pace. Yet it’s plain bad, and can be horribly counter-productive, when it happens too fast. A fine example of this is the flawed, idealistic rush to ban our internal combustion engines (which most of us love), before forcing those of us who enjoy driving into robocars that’ll steer themselves. Why? Who says? Where are the research findings proving that this is what the public wants?

Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

I’m all for genuine improvements, moving the game on, adopting an onwards and upwards approach. It’s this positive spirit that has massively transformed the quality, safety, reliability, comfort, efficiency and cleanliness of cars over the past half century. But why such a mad rush to replace current tech with new tech? How come so many motor industry people, and politicians, are so keen to talk up and spend billions they haven’t got trying (and largely failing so far) to kill off petrol and diesel?

Can we adjust our priorities and slightly slow down the urgent tech-based “fix” that the unbroken motor industry is unnecessarily subjecting itself to, at alarming speed, and at colossal/unsustainable financial cost?

Rather than collectively racing to spend trillions on non-traditional vehicles and alternative fuels most of us didn’t ask for, I’d prefer it if they concentrated on improving economy; eliminating breakdowns and break-ins; bringing their car and servicing prices down; improving their dealer networks – important, real-world stuff that impacts us day to day.

Never forget you’ll still be able to buy new and used cars with internal combustion engines over the next two decades or so. Let’s not pretend they’re going away any time soon – they’re not. Far less certain is what type of non-traditional, alternatively fuelled vehicles we will be driving – or riding aboard – in the short, medium and long-term future. If you’re middle-aged, you could be driving internal combustion engine-powered cars for the rest of your driving life. My guess is you probably will.

Are you excited by the future of the car industry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below...

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'
Kia

'Sorry Jeep, but Kia now makes the best all-American SUV'

With Kia winning the World Car of the Year 2020 award with the American-built Telluride, Mike Rutherford believes Kia has beaten Jeep at their own gam…
18 Apr 2020
'Costs may drop, but buyers’ expectations don’t'
News

'Costs may drop, but buyers’ expectations don’t'

Just because premium brands can offer cheap finance deals, it doesn't mean that they can fob buyers off with poor customer service, says Deputy editor…
15 Apr 2020
“UK motor industry – your country and its people need you”
News

“UK motor industry – your country and its people need you”

Mike Rutherford thinks the motor industry can still do more to help provide life-saving medical kit
12 Apr 2020
‘What better than a thumbs-up from an existing owner?’
News

‘What better than a thumbs-up from an existing owner?’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler gives his view on our 2020 Driver Power survey, and is especially pleased by Kia's success
8 Apr 2020

Most Popular

New Land Rover Defender Hard Top van opens for business
News

New Land Rover Defender Hard Top van opens for business

The Defender Hard Top is the commercial version of Land Rover’s new Defender with a load carrying rear end.
30 Jun 2020
New 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift arrives with design and tech updates
Volkswagen Tiguan

New 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan facelift arrives with design and tech updates

The facelifted Volkswagen Tiguan adds plug-in hybrid power and a hot 316bhp ‘R’ model to the SUV’s line-up
30 Jun 2020
New Audi Q5 facelift means fresh looks inside and out plus extra tech
Audi Q5

New Audi Q5 facelift means fresh looks inside and out plus extra tech

The updated Audi Q5 features a range of styling and technology tweaks, including a smaller radiator grille and a larger infotainment system
29 Jun 2020