Post-COVID Automobile Trends


Author: Sarwant Singh

Date Published: August 5th, 2020

Publisher: Forbes


The pandemic has had some significant effects on the future of the mobility industry, and according to Singh of Forbes, 20 new trends have been identified to shape the future of the post COVID-19 auto manufacturing industry. For starters, the engineering of vehicles is starting to shift from horsepower to computing power; as Singh describes it, there is a growing interest in making vehicles that have robust digital architecture over high mechanical performance. Additionally, interest in autonomous vehicles is starting to grow, and new technologies supplementing and moving the transition to autonomous driving are starting to emerge, with China leading the way. Cars are also expected to become more of a user-centered marketplace, eventually allowing users to do common things like pay for gas, purchase services, pay for tolls, and more from the comfort of their car. Additionally, we can expect to see technology such as voice assistants and smart connections to users’ homes and other vehicles in future automobile designs.

Another key thing to note besides the change in research and development is the changes happening in terms of users and prospective buyers. Gen Z is beginning to buy more vehicles, likely leading to vehicles that appeal to their preferences. Additionally, the sale of “luxury vehicles” is predicted to decline, primarily due to the changes in social polarization and the future of a work commute. With one big reason for a vehicle being uprooted completely by the pandemic, car companies are going to need to work hard to find an appropriate replacement for the workplace commute. With the shift to a digital marketplace as well as due to the economic crash, the used car market is also expected to make a return, primarily with Gen Z drivers.

Besides users and technology, business is also expected to see changes, with the outsourcing of parts becoming less reliant on China, and supply chains eventually becoming diversified. Business models are expected to become more collaborative and partnership based, and the life cycle of cars will be more carefully considered in order to create the most continuous revenue. Finally, zero emission initiatives are expected to take shape quickly in the next ten years, and will base themselves in the early design stages of vehicles in what is described as a “circular economy.”

As designers, it is crucial for us to get an idea of what future trends can look like in a general sense. This article, though it seems rather opinion based, takes into consideration a lot of the social, political, economical, and environmental contexts surrounding the automotive industry. It is a very broad article and one that covers a breadth of detail rather than depth, and in turn, gives us researchers plenty of potential outlets to further examine patterns and trends, and to give us a good direction as to where to look for problems. Besides, it is key to understand expected future trends so that we can design for future problems. I found several of the points made relating to Gen Z and their preferences to be interesting, mainly due to the fact that by the time that the work related to this project is expected to launch, Gen Zers like myself will be its primary target audience. It makes me want to keep questioning what Gen Zers want to see in a vehicle as of now, versus what they may want in five to seven years.

Singh, S. (2020, August 5). Top 20 Post-COVID Automotive Trends. Forbes.