A half-century ago the automobile industry was fairly stable. Market shares fluctuated only slightly and the retail business was pretty much the same from year to year.
Then a couple of wars occurred in the Middle East and a bunch of government departments and regulations sprang up and the car business has never been the same.
Yet that all looks like child's play compared to the kind of disruption we are facing today. The future of the car business is about to become quite confusing on every level.
Whether you're manufacturing vehicles or supplying components or in the business of retailing automobiles, your world is about to change profoundly.
To begin with, there is the rush to autonomous automobiles — whether consumers want them or not.
I have no doubt we will see self-driving cars, given the billions of dollars being invested in the technology. It will probably take longer to happen than those involved in autonomous vehicles are predicting, yet much of the same technology will be available in current vehicles very soon.
No one really knows who will want these vehicles and, more importantly, how much more costly they will be than the standard vehicles of today. But they are coming and there is no doubt they will be extremely disruptive for everyone in the industry.
And after we adjust to self-driving cars, we will then have to deal with vehicle electrification. Right now, the market share for electric vehicles is tiny. But if governments around the world are intent on mandating the elimination of fossil fuel in favor of EVs, as some are already doing, it will result in more huge disruption of this industry.
It may take a couple of decades for this to unfold, but make no mistake — whether consumers want electric vehicles or not they are coming.
When governments mandate powerplants without regard to consumer preferences or the industry's ability to react, it will mean huge disruption. Change is coming rapidly for every corner of the business. Get ready for a very rocky road.
It is going to be chaos.