What’s Next. A Year of Change in Automotive.
2020 is a year like no other. Who would have expected that many of us would spend months working by ourselves (albeit connected by Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc.) in our kitchens, basements or rec rooms? In fact, we may still be in one of those places.
Who would have imagined that the entire—as in global—auto industry would shut down for various periods of time and that when the factories turned on the lights, the most important lights in the building were those from a temperature scanner that would check the temps of all entering the buildings?
If someone said to you in January that the greatest use of additive manufacturing technology in the industry would be in printing components for face shields, not personalized interior trim, you would have probably suggested that that person might be having a fever.
If that same person told you that there would be OEM-supplier relationships that were GM and Ventec, Ford and 3M, you would have been absolutely certain that said person was off his or her game.
The terms “unprecedented” and “new normal” have been used so much during the past few months that they’ve become nearly meaningless.
Earlier this year the team consisting of members from AutoBeat Daily and Automotive Design and Production started working together. The former had been focused on news and the latter on new developments and tech with more of a long-form approach.
Because you are reading this you know that to be the case for at least one of the two, if not both.
But the team decided—and remember, this is pre-pandemic—that given the profound changes that were aborning in the auto industry it would be beneficial to the readers if we morphed what we’d been doing individually into something that would provide a fresh-but-informed take on the industry, both in a to-the-moment manner, as well as looking at longer-term approaches.
We came up with the phrase, “Connecting You with What’s Next.”
This isn’t just something that is useful for marketing but is something that pretty much states our mission—and our commitment to you as a reader.
We’re not going to pretend that we’re going to provide you with information about everything.
But we are going to do our damnedest to assure you that we will let you know what matters—now and going forward.
There are two things that are true about the industry today, two things that were true pre-pandemic and that will be true after we’ve returned to a “normal normal”: the amount of electrification in vehicles will increase, as will the amount of automation.
Sure, there may be some slight modifications to investments and program timing on behalf of the OEMs—which has consequent effects on suppliers—as a result of the non-trivial financial hits taken as a result of COVID-19. But for reasons ranging from regulations to technological imperatives. The regulations—especially for those who are selling to the European Union and China, not to mention California and the other CARB state—are obvious.
But the latter is a huge force in driving things forward. That is, remember the keyboards that used to be a part of cell phones? They could have continued to be deployed as a functional matter until Apple came out with what seemed to be the “no one will ever like something like this” virtual keyboard. Post-Tesla no OEM can afford not to come out with an EV that isn’t a compliance vehicle (i.e., that helps meet the regulations) because consumers know the tech exists and what it can do. Similarly, with Super Cruise General Motors has placed a marker on hands-free driving that other OEMs are going to have to meet or exceed.
So as you won’t be surprised, we’re going to keep an eye on those spaces.
But there is something else that we’re going to be doing, too. And that is getting insights from people in the industry, the women and men who are making What’s Next happen.
Think of it as two buckets of information:
The people are the former. The products, techniques, materials, processes and the like make up the latter. So we’re going to do our best to provide you with what you need to know about both.
There is one more thing about this publication that is important for you to know.
While it is ostensibly “new” it is not new in the sense that someone came up with an idea to cover the industry and then hired a bunch of people who have drivers licenses for identification purposes only. We’ve been covering the industry for a long time and are willing to acknowledge that there is a whole lot we need to learn every day to keep up with the changes.
So welcome to AutoBeat.
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