The traditional model of conventional automakers is being turned on its head by upstarts like Tesla Motors and tech companies like Google. The world is changing at a rapid pace, and unlikely allies are forming in between the automotive sector and other industries. One day you could end up in a self-driving Ford Taurus by IKEA.
Wards Auto spoke with Jacqui Deco, chief strategy officer for Dana’s Holding Corp., one of the largest automotive parts suppliers in the world. He says that automakers need to be ready for even more disruptions and competitors from unlikely industries. The article cites tech companies like Sony and Google, as well as home companies like IKEA. This could lead to some interesting mashups.
In fact, this trend has already begun with Google’s autonomous car project, and rumors that Google could being eyeing Tesla Motors for a takeover. Such a move would give Google access to the highest-tech luxury car companies on a planet. Tesla would be the perfect place to start rolling out technologies such as self-driving cars and integrated “wearable” technology, like Google Glass.
These unlikely partnerships mean automakers may have to start teaming up on other industries as well. While self-driving cars may still be 25 years out, another idea that seems to be gaining traction is the idea of the “skateboard” chassis. These skateboards would allow automakers to enclose all the drivetrain components in a flat chassis, allowing other companies to worry about things like body panels and interiors; hence the “Taurus by IKEA.
More competition means an automotive arms race could be just around the corner, and the battle lines are already being drawn. What are some of the unlikely alliances that could emerge in the 21st century between carmakers and other industries? Google and Tesla, sure, Ford and IKEA maybe; what about GM and Apple, or Hyundai and Samsung?
Source: Wards Auto