A new study carried out by Roland Berger consultants shows that robotaxis will have a significant impact on the global automotive market, most notably with sales of new cars falling by around a third by 2030.
In just a few short years, "robotaxis" – i.e. driverless vehicles designed to transport passengers – should be appearing all around the world. This innovation will have far-reaching consequences for automotive manufacturers, whose market is set to be drastically reduced according to a recent study carried out by Roland Berger consultants and featured in "Les Echos" newspaper.
Sales of new cars down 32% by 2030
The spread of robotaxis is likely to bring about a 32% drop in the sale of new cars around the world by 2030, and this figure could be as high as 60% in France, where there could be 27% fewer vehicles overall on the roads. The consultancy predicts that by that time, only 1 million cars will be sold every year compared with 2 million at the moment.
"Having a car which you only drive 20 minutes a day on average is madness," says Olivier Hanoulle, chief analyst at Roland Berger. "The change will come when customers realise that they have enough alternatives to do without a car of their own, but that isn’t the case yet at the moment." According to Hanoulle, robotaxis – which are set to be four times cheaper than regular taxis for the customer and twice as efficient to run for the owners – should be enough to bring about the necessary change in mindset. "They will have electric engines, whose technology has already been significantly improved and which need very little maintenance," Hanoulle adds, "not to mention the fact that there will be no drivers to pay."
The study also says that over a quarter of the distance covered by European drivers will be made by robotaxis by 2030. This new mode of transport should also be supported by municipal councils, to reduce both pollution and traffic, and to free up parking spots.
Manufacturers being encouraged to change their scope
According Roland Berger consultants, the advent of robotaxis is not necessarily bad news for manufacturers. The study mentions an increase in profits for the automotive industry up to 550 billion euros by 2030 (compared with EUR 330 billion in 2015), of which 40% is connected to driverless taxi services. According to Hanoulle, "manufacturers will no longer be able to concentrate their efforts solely on the car sales market – instead they will have to focus on something more wide-scale".
Several manufacturers are already looking into this phenomenon, among them Renault and Nissan, Fiat-Chrysler who are in talks with Google, Volvo who have partnered with Uber, PSA (Peugeot) – whose strategy is focused on mobility services – and Daimler, who recently acquired French chauffeuring company Chauffeur Privé.
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