The Automotive Industry Revolution

Pierre Wattre

Automotive Industry Evolution Opportunity

Focusing on emerging countries and looking for more-than-ever specialized and qualified individuals, Gen Y will play an important role in the revolution of the automotive industry. In 2011, the one billion mark was reached. Yes, more than 1,000,000,000 cars and light-trucks are on world’s roads, consuming over 300 billion of US gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel yearly. According to a J.D. Power study, emerging markets accounted for 51 percent of the global light-vehicle sales in 2010, and the organization expects this trend to accelerate.

BRIC Markets in the Automotive IndustryBy 2014, 33% of World Demand will be in BRIC Markets

Back in 2010 the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) published the study “Winning the BRIC Auto Markets: Achieving Deep Localization in Brazil, Russia, India, and China”, clearly stating that until at least 2020, the attention of the automotive industry will be on the BRIC countries. Even more important, in 2014 already, more than 30 percent of the world’s automotive sales will occur in BRIC markets. Major US and EU automakers are spending billions to develop in these countries as the sales are growing up exponentially. In 2012, Volkswagen sold more cars in China than in Europe. Ok, the old continent is badly hurt from the financial crisis and the ongoing problem of overproduction, but it is a strong sign. Optimizing the presence in the BRIC markets is therefore crucial for the major automakers, as most of the buyers own a car for the first time in their life. This is for them the perfect opportunity to start building brand loyalty; the purchases in the automotive industry are not rational but rather emotional.

Automotive Industry and Alternative Powertrains

A big part of the revolution is also happening in the powertrain. It is not the first time that alternative powertrains are making the headlines, but this time around, it is different. Regulations, in US, in Europe, In Japan, and in most developed countries, are forcing the automotive industry to reduce the emissions of their cars and to improve the fuel efficiency.

Tesla Model S and other electric cars are revolutionizing the automotive industry.

Tesla Model S and other electric cars are revolutionizing the automotive industry.

As reducing the motor size or the weight of the car is sometimes not enough (and is can be costly), car manufacturers are slowly integrating so-called eco-innovations such as start-stop systems, or changing the powertrain of the car to reduce the emissions of their fleet: natural gas, hydrogen, fuel cells, battery, hybrid diesel-electric, gasoline-electric, LPG, parallel hybrids, series hybrids, and the air compressed motor. In addition, a third era of electric cars has emerged since 10-15 years (first era was in 1890-1910 when more electric cars than internal combustion vehicles existed, before cheap oil, and second era was in 1960-1980, following oil crisis) and this time around the automotive industry is more serious about them. Not only these cars fit in the objectives of having a decarbonized transport system (tailpipe emissions wide, not well-to-wheel wide), but also they now include lithium-ion batteries which prove to offer sufficient energy to cover the daily needs of most drivers.

Job Opportunity for Gen Y in the Automotive Industry

The relationship between Gen Y and the automotive industry is a complicated one. In many developed countries, the rate of young people having their driving license has decreased over the last few years, and Gen Y are not that much interested in owning a car (at least less than the previous generation). But Gen Y will be at the heart of the revolution of the automotive industry. Alternative powertrains and emerging markets are massive job opportunities for Gen Y, especially because working on an electric motor or electric car is a totally different set of skills than working on an internal combustion engine, and automakers are recruiting young people specialized in alternative technologies. Cars become also more and more “connected” to their environment, with number of products and services being developed in the field of telematics. With more than 100 million people working worldwide directly or indirectly in the automotive industry, it is always looking for young innovative people, in marketing, engineering, sales, and policy. If you are looking for a job, take your chance and join the revolution.