This is a fascinating in depth piece on the current state of the automotive market, particularly how it affects German OEMs. It is clear that there is a monumental shift towards electric, autonomous vehicles and we are only years away from the iPhone moment. The FT describe this as: an electric, self driving "living room on wheels", securely connected to the web and more often shared among users rather than bought.
They are very clear that this will not come from Germany. Dyson, Apple and Google are all busy working on the iPhone for cars, not to mention the number of new entrants from China. Tesla has done a fantastic job for changing the perception of EVs, making them incredibly desirable by creating a whole new driving experience but the next decade will see a significant step-change in new technology and we will certainly experience the iPhone moment for cars.
GTAI has good reason to call this an “internationally peerless automotive environment”. But it is based on a product, combustion engine cars, that could cease to exist within a single generation. The engineering skills that have set German cars apart from the pack are likely to lose importance relative to software and imported batteries. And its strengths, from engine knowhow to world-class factories, could turn into a weakness as the industry undergoes a radical shift. “The big data players — the Tencents, Alibabas, and Googles — are building a new universe,” says Stefan Bratzel, director of the Centre of Automotive Management in Bergisch Gladbach. “For 100 years the automotive universe had established the rules of the game. Just a few people controlled the industry, especially the Germans. Now, the role of the German automotive industry is at risk.”