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Charles Darwin is often quoted about the survival of the fittest. What I think what he was really getting at is the survival of the most able to adapt. In automotive terms, we probably see more change in the last 10 years and will do so in the next 10 years than at any point since Henry Ford first gave us motoring for the people. 20 years ago the web was still a novelty. 10 years ago we all had Nokia phones and even 5 years the idea of a tablet accomplishing the jobs of the desktop and apps that would enable you to switch your car heating on would seem far-fetched.
So the norms are changing. Again 20 years ago all of us spent time fretting over the copy for our newspaper ads and yet today even the Yorkshire post office in Leeds has been demolished.
So it’s clear there has been a lot of change and I expect what’s harder is to predict the changes of the next 5, 10, 20 years. In the words of Yoda “Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future”. But what we do know is that disruption is inevitable, wearable tech is here to stay and that all of our experiences whether digital, physical or product are likely to become more personalised.
It’s also hard to predict how social media will evolve from campaigns like the brave Stephen Sutton to those that effect real change and have the ability to make governments and destroy businesses.
Even todays digital natives will be usurped by post digital natives. Those who don’t know anything other than digital. Consumer expectations will continue to rise and the Apple generation will demand increased value in increased value and service from us. Will they need to visit dealerships to buy a car? Will they want to visit dealerships for servicing? When exactly will self-driving cars take off? And when will electric be the norm rather than the exception?
Whilst we don’t have all the answers, join me, the NFDA’s Sue Robinson, Lookers Andy Bruce, What Cars? Jim Holder, Perry’s Lee Manning and Benfield’s Mark King at Driving Digital 4 in Birmingham on November 6th 2014 and we’ll at least ask some interesting questions!