Automotive industry has been evolving significantly in the last few years. We have seen numerous changes all around the globe, in different manufacturers and markets, trying to bring something extraordinary on the table.
However, some of them managed to do so much better than others.
One of the biggest key factors was a global pandemic that also influenced the whole industry. After all, despite the global pandemic, there are a couple of things that will remain the same.
In this article, you will find what are the top 10 automotive industry trends and innovations in 2021 and what we can expect years from now on.
It’s all changing. People are starting to prefer computing power instead of horsepower. It means they would rather drive an intelligent car with many features rather than a car with many horsepower under the hood but very little features if any.
Yes, you can really enjoy driving when you have a strong car that is capable of speeding from 0 to 100 km/h in around 3 seconds. But let’s be honest. Is it worth the risk? Is there even an area where you can drive as fast as you want? Most likely no.
Instead, you can have an intelligent car that gives you plenty of interesting facts, information and make your whole trip more enjoyable.
The comfort is everything nowadays and companies change their business models accordingly. Human needs have also changed and we prioritize different things than we used to several years ago.
We usually prefer things in general that are easy, comfortable and effective, in order to make our life as easy as possible.
We have researched several sources in order to give you the latest and most accurate information. Based on the findings, we have come all the way to establishing the top 10 automotive industry trends in 2021.
The trends are in an order of how big of an influence they have on companies in 2021 and beyond.
Autonomous vehicles (AV) or also known as self-driving cars aim to provide transportation without a need of a human driver. The purpose is to make everyday transportation safer, easier and more efficient.
One of the most common reasons behind car accidents is human failure. We easily get distracted and therefore the chance of failing is increasing rapidly.
That’s what AV’s goal is; to prevent any unnecessary accidents and increase the road safety in general.
Autonomous vehicles are equipped with advanced recognition technologies, in order to identify and detect obstacles on the road and surroundings.
The computer is responsible for processing it and acting on it accordingly, to prevent any failures. It will take a while until the system is sufficient enough to make zero mistakes and be more reliable than a human being.
Connectivity slowly becomes a must within new car models. It is very useful for private drivers as it offers lots of insightful benefits. On the other side, it is even better for fleet management and companies having many vehicles.
With a fact that the vehicle is always on, it tracks, measures and monitors several aspects, and then sends it to your smartphone or laptop.
You as a driver have lots of possibilities to do when your vehicle is able to connect to your smartphone, laptop or any other device.
Connected cars are also called smart cars (similar to smart TV) by automotive enthusiasts, as they provide you with many more features and opportunities than a regular car does.
It makes your driving experience effortless and much more convenient as well as it might prevent any unnecessary accidents.
The demand of electric vehicles (EV) has been increasing extremely throughout the past years and is expected to increase even more.
The year 2019 hit a record of 2.1 million electric car sales, which was a growth of 6% in comparison to the previous year.
Electric car sales grew 30% from 2016 to 2019 and 2.8% from 2019 to 2020. We have seen many companies investing in electric vehicles for their fleet management as they see potential saving money in the long run.
Similarly to companies, many countries and cities within, decided to slowly eliminate gas and diesel vehicles due to high emission numbers (source).
At the moment, China is the leading market for electric vehicles and is expected to remain the same in 2021.
Digitalization trend is basically a combination of several trends in one. As you could see, it is more and more common among care manufacturers to use big touch screens as a panel control. And we could not be happier.
It is really convenient and passengers feel more comfortable. It not only is visually appealing but it also is easier to navigate through, set up and manage (well, in most cases).
A big part of this trend and possibility is upgrading your vehicle yourself through the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD). There are several OBD 2 scanners and telematics units that will basically ‘upgrade’ your normal vehicle into an intelligent one.
It is honestly super easy to install and use, and it will actually help you save money as it offers multiple features.
Some of the most popular features are; reset fault codes, parking assistance and remote start. Digitalization is however not only about that. In general, it is transforming everything into a digital form - computer/cloud.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is in other words a simulation of human intelligence in computers. They are programmed to think like humans and act like humans, but better.
In connection to the automotive industry, there are technologies such as deep learning, computer vision and machine learning.
These help self-driving vehicles and fleets to assist drivers and passengers to travel safely. It has also been a huge help in automotive manufacturing, where it decreases production costs, increases efficiency and accelerates the rate of production.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) improves road safety, ensures a secure communication between vehicles... It also reduces pollution and energy expenditure with better fleet management.
The Internet of Things is the future and it’s just the beginning. Companies develop advanced technologies, in order to gather more data from the vehicles and its surroundings.
However, IoT is not being primarily used in automotive industry. It is becoming such a common trend that we can actually see it in almost every industry
We keep seeing more and more companies investing in IoT technology as it increases their productivity and supply chain. In theory, it should also increase their return on investment or at least fasten the process of it.
Transition to Usership
We have seen another trend, known as car sharing on the market for the past 1½ years. People are less interested in buying their own cars. They would rather rent a car for a longer period of time than buy one.
This generation also tends to spend more money on traveling and personal usage products than on cars or apartments/houses.
This means that the trend has changed from ownership to usership and we have already seen plenty of companies changing their business models to car sharing options. However, it's not just big companies.
Many private car owners decide to rent their cars to their friends or other people, in order to get some side income and improve their financial situation.
It is also a great chance for car owners that barely use their cars, as cars are made to be driven. Therefore, they in some cases age faster than the cars that are being used daily.
It’s just the beginning of 2021 but we will see much more of it soon.
3D printing helps production companies enormously as it increases the production speed and efficiency. It also helps manufacturers to print spare parts that match their requirements.
On top of that, using composite materials should lead to automotive parts that are stronger, lighter and more durable.
We have seen a huge increase in demand for 3D printing generally in many types of industries and it is forecasted to be increasing continuously in the upcoming years too.
Some experts have also mentioned that they believe 3D printing will be soon available within the vehicles, meaning we will be able to actually print anything while being inside of the vehicle.
Imagine telling your car to print something out while you are asleep, and then it is going to be waiting for you when you get back to the car.
There are many more options and possibilities with this specific trend and we can't wait to see more info about that.
Do you use your car often? Is it a part of your job? If yes, then this is something for you. Imagine being able to do basically everything within your vehicle.
Watch your favorite movies, listen to your favorite songs, pay bills, make purchases online and pay through your vehicle's cloud/system, order a service or more.
It is expected to have your whole vehicle totally connected to your smartphone and/or cloud very soon, which should make all of those things possible.
We cannot say if that is going to happen this year, but we will definitely see it soon enough. We will be able to do basically everything within our vehicle.
We will have an option to purchase services, tools, getting features on demand, refueling and much more. Obviously, everything from the comfort of our vehicle.
This trend will definitely increase the efficiency of drivers who depend on their vehicles and its functionalities.
Despite the top 10 automotive industry trends we have just mentioned above, there is one more thing. Apple lovers are you ready?
It's been a couple of years since Apple announced they will release their own Apple car. At the end of 2020, rumors started to spread even more as as Apple announced they want to invest 3,6 billion in Kia, to develop their dream Apple car.
We have already seen several prototypes online that obviously look amazing. However, the reality can differ. Read more about intelligent car technologies.
Stay updated if you are interested in what else automotive industry has to offer in the upcoming years.
According to the PWC report, it is forecasted that the number of vehicles will be increasing until 2025 and then slowly decreasing, depending on a specific area.
The forecast also states that by 2030, approximately 40% of all cars will be electric. The use of electric vehicles is becoming a new normal, and it also becomes very common in public transportation such as electric buses and/or electric taxis.