There is an irony brewing in the American car industry

Written by on November 1, 2017 in Opinion with 0 Comments

By Simon Bratt /

There is a wonderful irony brewing (assuming irony brews) in the American car industry. While the world – particularly the richest bits – focus on electric and self-driving trucks and cars, the demand for good old work horse trucks keeps rising. So does the price.

This might raise the question: when the deadline approaches when cars and trucks have to be electric, how big will the back lash be? The answer will be ‘huge’ you would assume. Trucks are, of course, very useful things and will continue to be very useful things whether they are fuelled by electricity or hydrogen or some ancient fossil fuel.

But trucks also make a great noise, and it simply will not be the same trying to command the road in something that glides along really quietly.

The irony is that while the richest bits of the world invest in Tesla and other self-driving electric car companies (there are now six such companies that have achieved Unicorn status), the makers of good old-fashioned cars are building huge war chests.

Multiply the cost of a new F-series truck by the number that Ford are selling and your eyes begin to water.

In fact, Ford has gone from near bankruptcy to having $17.3 billion lying around in cash in a surprisingly short time frame.

This means, of course, that the ‘legacy’ car makers have huge amounts of money to throw at the problem called Tesla. And, for companies like GM and Ford, the cost of capital is negligible, which puts them in the Amazon camp when it comes to investing in new, cool things (and the boring bits such as lack of internal combustion engine).

Electric cars are also, irritatingly for legacy car makers, much less expensive to maintain and there is little, if any, money to be made from lucrative legacy service contracts.

At some point, petrol and diesel will be banned as a fuel for your car or truck. And the States is actually trying to reduce the level of regulation needed for self-driving cars in an oddly counter-intuitive campaign to speed their full introduction.

So, what we need to watch is the size and scale of the back lash from consumers who love a big, growly truck.

Maybe one of the features of the new, silent, electric breed could be a ring tone – to maintain the growly bit.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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