i3 - November/December 2020 - 17

Because of
the pandemic,

A

lready in the throes of change brought about by
advancing technologies and government mandates
to promote electrification, the global automotive
industry and its supply chains were thrown into a
tailspin by the spread of COVID-19 earlier this year.
Automakers pivoted quickly to a virtual war footing, shifting
their production lines to make health care and personal protective
equipment such as ventilators and face coverings. And they
remade the way they launch, promote and sell cars.
Now, experts say, some of these changes will have a lasting
impact on the auto industry including self-driving car and electric
vehicle (EV) development and sales, as well as Mobility as a
Service (MaaS) and ride-hailing.

56%

of consumers
planned to limit their
use of public transit
for three months.

ANALYSTS AND DATA

Due to
COVID-19,

47%

Creativa Images/Getty Images

of consumers plan to
keep their current
vehicles longer.

C TA . t e c h / i 3

i3_1120_16-19_Feature_PandemicEffectsAutoIndustry.indd 17

"There's been a recognition of the need to accommodate a world
that's going to have COVID-19 for the foreseeable future," says
Roger Lanctot, director of automotive connected mobility at the
global research and consulting firm Strategy Analytics. "That's
going to mean more digital retail, more touchless reselling of cars
and more remote servicing," in addition to developments like antimicrobial fabrics for vehicle interiors. "The filtration of air in cars
will get more attention," he adds. COVID-19 has renewed focus
on both the automobile as a personal space and MaaS alternatives. It also will speed the transition to EVs as automakers look
to retool production lines after a forced pause in making internalcombustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
"Micro-mobility" - shared scooters, for instance - "was absolutely devastated at the beginning in March and April," Lanctot
recounts. "Now there's kind of a surge," he says, with micro-mobility rebounding "as an alternative to public transportation and to
privately owned and operated vehicles."
Because its foundation is software, MaaS has the capacity to
effectuate routes for ride-hailing or other services that avoid or
minimize travel through virus hotspots, he suggests. The Whim
app from MaaS Global Oy, based in Helsinki, Finland is "the ultimate MaaS vision," he declares. It gives users access to a multitude
of transportation modes.
Lanctot says, "We expect a more rapid uptake of electric vehicles in the wake of COVID-19. Since the industry took a hit of a
couple of months of limited or no production of vehicles," primarily ICE models, it was afforded "an opportunity to make adjustments" in plans and hence get a jump on EV production, he adds.
In a July presentation titled COVID-19 Impact and Recovery for
Strategy Analytics' Smart & Connected Mobility Summit, Lanctot
said worldwide "light vehicle production" will be 20% lower in
2020 versus 2019, at 71 million units; battery-electric vehicle
(BEV) production will fall only 8% by comparison; the falling car
market will combine with a static market for ADAS (advanced
driver assistance systems), pressuring development of self-driving
cars and related infrastructure this year and beyond. However,
EV adoption and automation along with connectivity and data as
revenue drivers will propel MaaS and a "multimodal future."
Overall U.S. car sales bottomed out in April after a
"massive" decline prompted by economic shutdowns, says
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2020

17

10/20/20 10:15 AM


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i3 - November/December 2020

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