How can Traditional Car Manufacturers Stay in the Race for Market Share?

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Achim Kram
CEO of VocL

As many as 25 Chinese-built electric car brands will shake up the British retail market from 2024.

What advice would you give traditional car manufacturers to stay in the race for market share?

VocL Voices’ Responses

Richard Sansom 
East Midlands Network Director, Cadent Gas 

 In my opinion, the race to self-driving will be the deciding factor for car manufacturers in gaining market share in the future. The pacier a manufacturer moves towards the principles of self-driving, the sooner market share and incremental consumer benefits will be realised including; improved safety by detecting obstacles and avoiding collisions, better mobility for individuals who cannot drive such as the elderly or disabled, reduced traffic congestion through optimised routes, and cost savings in terms of reduced insurance, maintenance and fuel costs.

Will Lankston
Managing Director, Timpson Direct

At every price point, customers will expect (at least) an ok looking car, with decent range, that drives reasonably well. In my opinion, customer experience will be the big differentiator. This is one of the reasons Tesla have the largest market share of EVs in the UK (all whilst publicly accepting their build quality is not at the same level as other manufacturers). They have focused on customer experience both ‘in-vehicle’ and in the charging infrastructure to support their vehicles. If I were to offer advice to traditional car manufacturers, it would be to tear up their traditional rule books and design an EV with the customer experience as their first principle.

Justine Ball
Partner, Shakespeare Martineau LLP / AMPA

For me, it’s all about partnerships and investment. Partnering with trusted suppliers from multiple locations to be able to source and secure the vital parts and electronics required for the cost effective production of cars is key. The market has been shaken by the inability to source microchips and other products required to progress car manufacturing more quickly in the UK with wait lists of circa 1-2 years. Having multiple suppliers in different locations may help in manufacturers’ ability to keep up with demand. There also needs to be further investment in hybrid and fully electric technology in order to appeal to a wider cross section of the population. Having a vehicle which requires less time to charge, can hold more charge and more domestic/manageable charging points for individuals in their homes and on the road. This is likely to make electric vehicles more appealing to a consumer which could increase demand.

Sion Lewis
Associate, Arup

Traditional car manufacturers need to maintain high end quality and the other attributes that set them apart whilst considering cost. Thinking outside the box for new user initiatives to promote their brand and give consumers more reasons to stay with the brands they know could be decisive. A great example of this was the lifetime free charging initiative by Tesla. This undoubtedly encouraged EV uptake but more importantly for Tesla it encouraged Tesla EV uptake. Investment in securing supplies of current but also future battery resources will also be crucial as the demand for them exponentially increases. In short traditional car manufacturers should not be complacent on any front.

Vincent Egunlae
Assistant Manager – M&A, Grant Thornton UK LLP

Fundamentally, the UK car manufacturing industry has all the hallmarks of an evergreen industry; a highly skilled workforce with wide-ranging capabilities, but the threat for market share from external entities is real. To maintain market share and ensure that the industry remains integral to Britain, traditional car manufacturers must embrace new electrified vehicle manufacturing and ramp up production. This will involve attracting new engineers to the profession, upskilling and training them, then retaining them in the longer-term. We must scale the capabilities that we have to compete on a global scale.

Rebecca Harlow
Net Zero Carbon Lead, Arcadis

The most important thing for any organisation, car manufacturer or otherwise, is the ability to intrinsically understand their customers needs, challenges and the context in which they are being asked to live work and travel. This environment is rapidly changing through growing social conscience on the environment, shifting legislation and cost of living/doing business crisis. Taking time to step back, empathise and understand this is vitally important as to beat the market. This should also be the advantage of existing brands, as these communities are todays current customers. Using this advantage is the biggest advantage current manufacturers have in maintaining and growing market share.

Ben Horn
Digital Transformation Director, Crystal Doors

The primary appeal of electric vehicles is their potential for sustainability. Designing them with a short product life and a high waste impact may be a quick solution, but it is short-sighted. As consumers become more conscious of product life cycles, the market demand will shift towards products that are built for a circular economy. To get ahead of the game, it is important to begin heavily investing in the R&D of recyclable and reusable parts, from batteries to chassis. But materials alone do not make a circular economy. Manufacturers must also invest in factories capable of building new cars from the parts they shipped in their previous products.

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