The Motor Industry: Prescient, Prudent or Profligate?

The motor industry business model is based on three core elements: centralised large-scale centralized manufacturing allows the potential for scale economy. To key ingredients are ever growing markets, through adding global distribution, and ever growing volumes, by giving more cars for less. For manufacturers and dealers alike, margins on vehicles have become paper thin. Both make their money from after sales and finance products, rather than vehicles. In 2020, after almost 75 years of global growth, the industry is facing fundamental change: vehicles must become zero- carbon, from production through to disposal. and the the depletion of natural resources must be significantly reduced, if not sopped altogether. For the industry, it requires an entirely new business model based on three concepts: living within strict resource use and emissions limits backed up by regulations and penalties; transition towards electric vehicles as swiftly as the technology will allow; and, finally, new Key Performance Indicators that measure the costs from ‘cradle to grave’ of the vehicle. Only manufacturers and dealers who can make the transition quickly will be survivors.

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Emissions KPI’s: Which ones really count?

Like most business people, we’re familiar with key performance ratios such as production, sales and profit targets. But, when we’re told that our favourite calculations might be missing an important factor, we ask, “How can that be?” That’s where automotive production and distribution managers find themselves today. They measured production, sales and profits accurately, but not correctly. They missed one crucial item. They measured vehicle tailpipe emissions and watched them fall year on year. But, the calculation excluded the social costs of the vehicle’s contribution to air pollution and climate change, which have been evident for the last 50 years. Now, under the principle of ‘the polluter should pay”, vehicle manufacturers and distributors should expect some significant new policies,regulations and costs as governments try to clean up the environmental mess and avoid further damage. This post looks at what those policies and costs might be in the coming years for both vehicle makers and their distributors.

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