Advertisement

‘Car makers need to work hard to stay relevant in the new world’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks some car companies might not survive if they don’t adapt to the new world of mobility services

Opinion - Ford Go Further

I’ll admit to heading to Ford of Europe’s Go Further event in Amsterdam with a degree of trepidation. Here is a brand that, while still topping the UK sales chart, is a pale shadow of its former self.

Its products no longer have the desirability they used to have – and certainly don’t win as many of our group tests. And the financial woes of the company’s European arm have been well documented, with some industry watchers wondering whether this US giant might go the way of GM and exit Europe altogether.

Ford announces job losses in UK and Europe

I left with far more confidence over Ford’s future, even a level of excitement about the products that I haven’t felt for a while. There’s some great stuff coming.

But perhaps what impressed me most was a chat with Sarah-Jayne Williams, Ford’s director of smart mobility. The brand has set up its own tech hub in London to plan and trial services that will transform it from a car maker to a mobility provider. Williams didn’t need long to convince me that Ford is taking this industry inevitability more seriously than many others. Those who stick their heads in the sand about this tech, which legislators are demanding, could see sales and revenues dwindle fast.

Advertisement - Article continues below

It was a strong theme at last week’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Connected conference, too, with Toyota Connected Europe CEO, Agustín Martín, also reiterating how his firm was transforming “from an automobile company to a mobility company”.

Meanwhile, Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer warned that companies that didn’t adapt to change would fail. “Many could fall under the wing of bigger firms so we have just two or three mega-companies dominating, becoming the Boeing and Airbus of the car industry,” he said. “You will see fallout. We’ll see newcomers coming; some will succeed, some will fail.”

The message is simple: the car companies that don’t adapt to the new world of mobility services might not survive.

Do you agree with Steve? Do you think car makers need to adapt to stay relevant in the new world?

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/news/351950/global-temporary-shutdown-car-factories-could-actually-benefit-manufacturers-and
News

'The temporary shutdown of car factories could benefit manufacturers and customers'

With car factories around the world closing temporarily, it may give manufacturers the chance to clear out the current backlog of unsold new cars, say…
28 Mar 2020
Visit/news/351936/jlrs-very-british-approach-keep-calm-and-carry
News

‘JLR’s very British approach: keep calm and carry on’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler praises Jaguar Land Rover on both its ability to handle a crisis
26 Mar 2020
Visit/opinion/351904/car-exhibitions-are-going-through-most-dramatic-period-change-generation
News

'Car exhibitions are going through the most dramatic period of change in a generation'

With the changing car market, the government's petrol & diesel ban plus the unprecedented Coronavirus, the car exhibition industry is going through a …
22 Mar 2020
Visit/news/351892/well-always-be-here-bring-you-best-car-news
News

'We’ll always be here to bring you the best in car news'

In this extraordinary period of unprecedented action, fear not as Auto Express will always be here to deliver you the very best in car news
19 Mar 2020

Most Popular

Visit/bentley/continental-gt/351832/bentleys-built-horse-themed-continental-gt-convertible
Bentley Continental GT

Bentley’s built a horse-themed Continental GT Convertible

The bespoke Continental GT Convertible Equestrian Edition features tweed door panels, a walnut dash and gold “horse and rider” emblems
9 Mar 2020
Visit/modern-classics/351953/most-wanted-cars-2020-poll
News

Most Wanted Cars 2020: poll

Decide which classic car you would most want to see brought back from the dead by an all new model
27 Mar 2020
Visit/bmw/4-series/107632/new-2020-bmw-4-series-spotted-undergoing-development
BMW 4 Series

New 2020 BMW 4 Series spotted undergoing development

A near production-ready version of the latest BMW 4 Series Coupe has been spied, wearing a pair of huge kidney grilles.
19 Mar 2020