Today's technology savvy consumers will increasingly base their purchases of new vehicles on the "smart features" packed inside, such as voice-activated stereo and GPS systems, according to a study released this week by IBM.
The Automotive Global 2020 Study, which was released Wednesday by IBM at the Center for Automotive Research's management briefing conference in Traverse City, Mich., notes that consumers are increasingly looking for their vehicles to provide greater real-time information on such things as safety, performance, and gas mileage.
It also predicts that a trend in the near future will be for consumers to have access to a "virtual garage" of vehicles, where they might choose to drive a fuel-sipping hybrid most of the year, switch to a sports car in the summer, and a family-friendly SUV for vacations. It notes in the current model, consumers are often restricted by finances and buy a compromise vehicle, or a car with features that often don't get used.
"Basic transportation will no longer be enough for increasingly empowered consumers," said Sanjay Rishi, vice president and global automotive industry leader for IBM. "They want an automotive experience that matches their lifestyles and lets them move seamlessly from life inside the vehicle to the world outside."
Based on its findings, IBM issued five imperatives that it says will distinguish outperformers in the automobile business in 2020:
Advanced mobility. Auto companies must embrace new mobility models, such as new ownership and usage models.
Transform retail. Dealers will need to find new ways to connect with sophisticated consumers.
Simplify complexity. As vehicles become more connected and intelligent, their electronics and embedded software have become more complex. Common processes and standards need to be established.
Partner extensively. To address the cost of innovation, companies need to partner beyond their traditional industries, particularly in such areas as electronics and hybrid developments.
Execute globally. Automakers and suppliers need to create flexible operations, aligned with local economies, and focus on having a positive social impact wherever they conduct business.
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