Global Automotive Industry: Key Forecasts for 2030

Feb 8, 2018

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The United States became the major car market in the beginning of the ’90s, when Ford launched its Model T mass-manufacture. Nowadays, the company still ranks among the most popular passenger cars manufacturers worldwide.

Due to the strict emission control regulations in several countries, automotive companies have started to reorient their strategy towards electric mobility. Connected cars and self-driving vehicles are expected to fully transform the automotive industry.[1]

PwC automotive industry experts defined trends that will drive the transformation of the sector and made suggestions on how companies could leverage them for their future success.

Here are the key insights presented in the study.

The car of the future: 5 dimensions

  • Electrified

The mobility of tomorrow is emissions-free. The electrification of the drive train will make it possible. The energy used to charge the driving vehicles will come from renewable sources.

  • Autonomous

The growing technological advantage in AI, machine learning, and deep neural networks will finally allow implementing the concept of autonomous vehicles.

  • Shared

Car-sharing isn’t a new thing. However, for several years car-sharing facilities were available in many big cities just as a pilot project. The concept is expected to become sustainable together with the introduction of self-driving vehicles.

  • Connected

In the future, cars are expected to be connected with each other and the transport infrastructure. Concurrently, vehicle occupants will be also connected with the outside world, so it will be possible to use multi-media services during the journey.

  • Yearly updated

The four aspects mentioned above will lead to an increase in the rate of innovation. Cars will be annually updated to integrate the newest hardware and software. Hence, model cycles of 5-8 years will be very likely the thing of the past.

Relevant ‘Autonomous Vehicles: The Mobility Of Tomorrow

What will shape the future automotive sector?

External factors

  • Our mobility habits will change

When all legal issues will be clarified, the amount of shared and self-driving vehicles on the roads will significantly increase.

PwC forecasts that 40% of the mileage driven in Europe could be covered by autonomous vehicles in 2030.

  • Personal and overall vehicle mileage will both increase

Growing population and mobility demands will lead to a continuous mileage increase. Besides, the improvement of mobility safety and its costs reduction will push general mobility trends into the direction of individual mobility.

PwC Autofacts assumes that personal mileage in Europe could rise by 23%  to 5.88 trillion kilometers by 2030.

  • Vehicles will be used more intensively

The full car capacity will be used more intensively than nowadays which means that the vehicles will have to be replaced much sooner.

However, the spread of autonomous cars technology will lower the accident rate,  and, as a result, decrease their maintenance and repair costs, so the cars will stay longer in use.

Modelling results

  • The car inventory will decrease significantly

The PwC specialists predict that the car inventory in Europe will drop from over 280 million vehicles to around 200 million by 2030 (a decrease of over 25%). For the U.S. they estimate a fall of 22% (to 212 million vehicles).

  • Vehicle sales will rise regardless

Though the car inventory will decrease, the sales of vehicles are forecasted to grow. In fact, self-driving and shared cars will be replaced more frequently, which will lead to the sales volume increase.

PwC assumes that car sales in Europe could rise by 34%, while in the U.S. they expect it could grow by 20% in 2030.

  • Autonomous driving and electrification will be mutually beneficial

Autonomous driving will mainly increase in inner cities and on highways. In fact, both ‘autonomous’ and ‘electrified’ are mutually beneficial dimensions (e.g., automatic charging process uses inductive charging).

PwC analysts, therefore, estimate that by 2030 there will only be a small, single-digit percentage of pure combustion engines among new car sales in the EU.  And more than 55% of new cars will already be fully electrified.


  • Rapid redistribution of R&D investment

The investments in product range will clearly fall. PwC calculated a decrease of 19% already by 2020.

The experts came to the conclusion that investing in software development instead will help companies to gain a strong competitive advantage.

  • Decisions regarding the long-term structure will be made between 2020 and 2025

In the period between 2020 and 2025, manufacturers and suppliers will face decreasing margins. Concurrently, they will have to intensively invest in customer-oriented innovations.

The increasing sales figures of new vehicles will require investments in production capacity for the necessary hardware. Hence, those companies who will start implementing flexible and scalable concepts now will play an active role in shaping the future automotive industry from 2025.

  • Future business models will include

Manufacturers and suppliers will have to review their business model in order to comply with the 5 trends mentioned before.

In fact, not only direct buyers will be considered as target groups and customers of the car industry, but all consumers of the products, both in private and shared usage.

A direct software-based interaction with each user will help to generate higher revenues over the customer relationship lifecycle.

The car user will be in focus

PwC developed a mathematical model which can be used to quantify the impact of the 5 dimensions. Based on usage behavior modelling, it can help to estimate individual mileage and, as a result, the overall car mileage in a particular market.

PwC experts predict that the transformation of the automotive industry will be driven to a large extent by younger, technically savvy generations.

Concurrently, they expect a worldwide shift in the percentage of the population with more modern attitude towards mobility innovations.

However, some regional and cultural differences have to be taken into account.

Based on ‘Five trends transforming the Automotive Industry’ by PwC.


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