Automotive Industry Ripe For Disruption

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Auto Industry Disruption

The automotive industry has always been a story of disruption. Cars were quite a breakthrough when they were first introduced.  Henry Ford then made them affordable for everyone and completely disrupted manufacturing along the way.  The highway system disrupted cities and the way many modern humans live and interact. Among other major disruptions were the Japanese who revolutionized manufacturing again.

And now McKinsey says we can expect some more disruption from the auto industry.

It’s not the biggest stretch of the imagination that such a ubiquitous product that is more or less necessary for modern life in many countries would have constant change.  Most of the driving age population in the US buys a few cars in a lifetime, and buys a lot of parts and service for those cars too.  There aren’t many other products out there that are as expensive as an automobile, as necessary, or as fun to purchase either.

So it’s is easy to think there are a lot of interested parties trying to make money in the auto industry by always improving their product to entice customers. Let’s take a look at some of the major disruptions McKinsey sees coming down the road.

Shared Rides

A friend once I asked me if I had tried Uber and I said, “no, I have a car.” But after that little quip I downloaded the app and have taken “an Uber” a few times since.

Sharing rides is disruptive now and will be more so in the future.  McKinsey says that the popularity of ride-sharing will largely depend on geography – London will be more popular than rural Iowa. Auto-manufacturers will begin to sell more cars to fit this purpose as well.

Autonomous for the Populous

One day we can get in the car and turn on the song “Take me to Church” and the car will actually take us there!  There is a great deal of upside with driverless vehicles – just let your imagination run wild and you’ll quickly see the appeal of having a car drive you around.

Competitive Landscape Bumpier than Ever

Just when the auto industry thought life was getting back to normal (if they ever did, I don’t know), Apple and Google had to get interested in cars!  Talk about coming out of left field. Maybe they’ll want to make forklifts next. If I were Ford I would be very interested in what the folks at Apple and Google are dreaming up for cars.

And McKinsey says that Tesla is most likely just the beginning for electrified cars.  There will be more competitors offering more electric car options all around the world in the near future.

The writing is a little vague but you can read all 8 of McKinsey points about disruption in the auto industry on their website.


Main image: By Victorgrigas (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons