2020 has been a memorable year for probably more negative reasons that positive ones. One phrase that has prevailed this year has been ‘the new normal’.
The automotive industry has been going through an unprecedented rate of change in the last few years, but the ramifications of the events of 2020 have exponentially sped up the evolution of this sector. The next few years are set to be exciting times for manufacturers as they race for solutions to meet changes driven by consumer demand and legislative guidelines.
The drive to deliver alternatives to the traditional internal combustion engine and reduce the impact on the planet, as well changes in the movement of goods and people, has changed how we think about getting from A to B. Following the pandemic, we have seen an acceleration to this change in mindset, especially in the business to business sector, where our customers are now having to make challenging decisions about their choice of replacement cars and commercials. The requirement to reduce costs for their business and for their company car drivers remains paramount, while carefully monitoring regulatory changes to ensure they only select the most suitable and economic vehicle solutions for their business as the demand for electric and alternative vehicles has surged amidst restrictions and the expense of in city travel.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles late CEO; Sergio Marchionne, foresaw this and focused the energies of the organization on being able to adapt quickly and to innovate, investing heavily in infrastructure and in research and development.
Internally, we have summarised this into three converging areas shaping the future of our business; Mobility as a Service (MaaS), electrification and connected and autonomous vehicles.
MaaS seeks to take the most efficient way of getting from A to B, through aggregating a number of different service-based transport modes – such as ride-sharing, car-pooling, ride-hailing and other private and public transit methods into one booking-and payment platform. FCA has the initial framework in place for this and has been pioneering car sharing and ‘pay per mile’ schemes over the past few years.
Autonomous vehicles are fast becoming a reality and virtually all modern cars and commercials feature a degree of autonomy; case in point, the 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia & Stelvio range feature level 2 autonomy, providing the driver with numerous aids to improve safety. FCA has also significantly invested in autonomous, driverless cars in partnership with Waymo (Googles Autonomous vehicle division) and some of those technologies are now evident in our fleet.
The electrification of our products is particularly exciting, as our e-Ducato commercial vehicle and all new Fiat 500-e launch in the coming months. It is clear that the historic challenges faced with early electric vehicles are fast being overcome, with much improvement in the range capability and the integration of technology, including fast charging which can provide a 50km range with a five minute charge as an example.
Manufacturers are going to have to react quickly and flexibly over the coming months and years to remain competitive and at the forefront of technological advancements as the market evolves, it’s never been a more exciting time.
Our new issue of Soluzioni is available to read at www.fcafleetandbusiness.co.uk but If you would like more information about FCA feel free to contact our business centre on 08081685095.