General Motors CEO Mary Barra has iterated it many times before; there will be more change in the next five years than we have seen in the past 50 years regarding the automotive industry as a whole.
Barra touched on these subjects more in depth during a recent interview with Business Insider. Specifically, she attempted to gaze into the future, 30 years ahead, and try and imagine where the industry and GM would sit.
One important takeaway is the possibility of a totally different business model. It’s quite likely, according to Barra’s thoughts, that we will see a segmented market. One market will crave a traditional ownership model, while others will move towards driverless fleets of vehicles.
What does this mean for automobile production specifically?
“I see a different model than today’s model, but one where, even if there are fewer vehicles, their life cycle is less, or the way they are serviced provides a different business,” Barra said. Cars owned personally are only used six percent of the time.
“The nature may change, but I think there’s still a very strong business fundamental.”
She also felt other markets would not simply skip over personal car ownership, likely pointing to emerging markets like India and Africa.
“I think we are a long way out from [the death of car ownership],” she said. “I think traditional ownership model will dominate for quite sometime, and it will be driven by rational customers making decisions about what’s best for them. If you look more broadly than the United States, there are still whole markets that are emerging where you people are still looking for that freedom that mobility gives them and the ownership.”
As for the GM’s future? She plans to set the company up to dominate whatever business models prevail in the future.
“It’s very exciting for me personally,” Barra said. “I have been at the company for 36 years, and I know the deep technical talent that is across this company, so enabling this talent and empowering them to be able to lead this transformation is something that excites me every day. It’s the power of the men and women at General Motors and their capability to redefine how people get from point A to point B. That is exciting to me, that we are in a position to lead.”