President and CEO
Center for Automotive Research
As we hit the halfway mark for the year, the automotive industry trend towards an electric future continues with new EV announcements from automakers. DEI initiatives also made headlines this week and will persist in being a critical topic of importance for the industry. We are also monitoring news regarding striking UAW workers and recent announcements from NHTSA.
As the microchip crisis continues to plague the automotive industry and beyond, we have migrated all news updates related to the shortage to our website. You can stay informed on the automotive impact of the global chip shortage by visiting here.
If you missed my previous Hot Topics email, you can read it here.
We would love to hear from you and welcome your questions at any time. If you’re interested in sharing your thoughts with us on hot topics, or if you would like to ask us a research question, please reach out to Katie Ramsburgh.
Automaker EV Announcements
Certainly, the EV announcements have been profound over the past several months, and they will not lessen. Just today, the EU released its continued plan to only sell EVs by 2035. This target is a mighty goal, and with the environmental crisis we see these days, this goal will not waver considerably. Gen Z will only reinforce these goals and be the first generation to make purchase and workplace decisions based on sustainability. So, we are starting to address the environmental imperative in the automotive world with carbon footprint-free vehicles (and this must go beyond just the tailpipe), but this will impact our workforce and talent of the future. Automakers have much at stake in their quest for carbon neutrality, and it reaches the essence of all aspects of sustainability (environment, social, and governance).
Diversity and Equity in Automotive
As you all know, I am a longtime advocate of STEM and women in STEM and auto. With women making 60% of all auto purchase decisions, it is vital to have more women in the workplace designing, manufacturing, and selling these products. Beyond this, as we move into ride-sharing and other mobility service packages, we need to have a diverse workforce well-rounded in all aspects, from micro-mobility to public transit. Our customers will want a multi-modal ecosystem of mobility, and we better be ready to provide it. The way to do that is to involve all the mindsets from these sectors. We also need to be very concerned about the demographic we seek to provide these services – each region will need a modified or different solution to optimize mobility. These considerations include urban, suburban, exurban, and rural – all have mobility challenges for work, education, and health care.
For those joining MBS, you will see that CAR practices this in our panels and keynote speakers. You will see a very diverse composition of panelists – race, gender, and thought. CAR itself is over 50% female and has a diverse ethnographic team – this brings a diversity of thought and backgrounds, making our research richer.
Hope to see you all in about two weeks in Traverse City!!
Auto Workers and Unions
This news is very interesting in my view. The union leadership has accepted a contract to move towards a vote three times, but the rank and file have rejected it. This rejection demonstrates a lack of trust in the union leadership, perhaps brought about by the recent UAW scandal, which continues to be a press headline. The new union management has a huge hill to climb – internally and externally. The right leader needs to get back to the basics of why unions were formed and how they can better support their members. It is servant leadership, not a fiefdom. The next few months will be critical in determining if the new leadership can become a servant leader for their members.
Vehicle Safety and NHTSA
I hope you all listened to my Daily Drive podcast last week about this subject. If not, you can listen here. It is time for industry and government to work together to set standards starting with ADAS technology through connectivity and autonomy. We need to do this for our customers and their trust. Without customer trust, this technology is doomed or at least put on a much longer track to commercialization. Organizations such as CAR, SAE, IEEE, ITSA, and others can bring the right people to the table and support the discussions. Let’s all work together to make common terminology and standards to gain the support and trust of our customers. Then the great technology we are all investing in will thrive and make our roadways safer and more enjoyable.