The stakes are numerous, but since it is necessary to choose, here are the three which hold the attention at the beginning of the year.
Priorities and cooperation
The global automotive landscape is being recomposed. For a few days now, the alliance card has officially added one more component: Stellantis (“strewn with stars”, in Latin). This new entity, born from the merger of the PSA group (Peugeot-Citroën) and FCA (Fiat-Chrysler), gives birth to the fourth automotive group on Earth. The birth of Stellantis is the tree that hides the forest. Not all cooperation between major automobile manufacturers is intended to generate mergers. They will multiply in the coming months. These collaborations will mainly focus on sharing technologies related to the transition to all-electric, of course, and connectivity. Electrification and connectivity will be at the heart of manufacturers’ concerns for 2021, leaving crumbs for autonomous driving and carsharing. Two poles that will be set aside for the next year (and perhaps more) to minimize costs in the face of uncertainties related to the pandemic.
Redistribution of cards
PHOTO PROVIDED BY RIVAN Rivan announces the first deliveries of its R1-T pickup truck for next fall. Currently, Stellantis brings together 14 brands. Everyone agrees that this new automotive giant will necessarily have to harmonize ranges and remove duplicates. A real headache. Such restructuring is also likely to take hold in other, more established automotive conglomerates. The move to all-electric has resulted in the creation of entire subsidiaries (e-tron, EQ, Ionic, etc.), and this is causing confusion among consumers. They risk thinking that “traditional” firms no longer represent trendy values. To this problem must be added the tightening of anti-pollution standards and the penalties imposed by certain governments (Quebec is one of them) to achieve emission reduction targets. This represents other costs that could cause automotive groups to question the life or survival of certain brands in their portfolio. Some groups could also redefine the territories of some of their brands, as the Nissan group did by withdrawing Infiniti from the European market, for example. While some wonder about the viability of certain emblems, a handful of small manufacturers, in Tesla’s wake, are emerging. The redistribution of the cards linked to the technological evolutions to come could well give their chances to these new brands which are called Rivan, Lucid or Bollinger, to name only these three.
Connected to retro
PHOTO PROVIDED BY VOLKSWAGEN Volkswagen ID Buzz Globally, the market share of fully electrified models remains confidential, but its growth is nonetheless very sustained. Government subsidies, the activism of the first buyers, the number of charging stations, even autonomy will perhaps not be enough to convince the entire population to take the plunge quickly. According to a study carried out by the firm Deloitte among consumers, the price of these vehicles in this uncertain period represents one of the main obstacles to their distribution. The second is linked to the worry of losing one’s bearings when moving towards the all-electric. This explains, in part, the efforts of stylists to reinterpret certain “classics” to make people want. This is the case, for example, of Volkswagen, which promises within two years the marketing of the ID Buzz, a vehicle largely inspired by the Microbus, which first appeared in 1949. According to the first indiscretions of its manufacturer, this A future model will be able to accommodate eight people on board and will offer versatility equal to, if not greater than, that of its ancestor due to its electrical architecture.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY RENAULT Renault 5 Prototype Volkswagen is moving forward, but it is Renault which will draw the first by offering, next year, a reinterpretation of the famous 5, a model that has been a huge success here in the years 1970-1980. On this side of the Atlantic, General Motors will adopt much the same strategy with the rebirth of the Hummer EV and, if we believe the rumor, an electrified and utilitarian version of the Corvette. General Motors would then be inspired by the commercial strategy adopted by Ford with the Mustang Mach-E. On a smaller scale, but always with this in mind to create a form of rapprochement, the conversion of gasoline vehicles to electric also contributes to reassurance. Jaguar has already demonstrated this by electrifying a small series of its legendary Jaguar E-Type following the success of the prototype used by Prince Harry during his marriage to Meghan Markle. Already, several small firms are offering to transform old cars with electric thrusters. An original idea, although despised by several purists, which not only allows them to be more reliable, but also to preserve them even longer.