Traverse City, Michigan – The IBM Automotive 2020 Study, based on a global collaboration with 125 automotive industry leaders in 15 countries, suggests that consumers will be the driving force in a move toward flexible transportation services that will replace the purchase of personal vehicles for multiple uses, and that all new vehicles will have some level of hybridization by 2020.

The report was presented at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars conference in Traverse City, Michigan.

The study said that consumers continue to become better informed and more demanding, and they will drive transformation in the current purchasing model for vehicles, expecting to purchase or lease a vehicle that comes with flexible access to a diverse “garage” of vehicles. In the current business model, consumers are often restricted by finances and buy a compromise vehicle, or one with features that do not get used. In the new model, consumers will drive a primary vehicle that best meets their daily needs, but will have the option to change to a different model as needed, such as driving a small, fuel-efficient vehicle during the week, but have access to an SUV for a weekend ski trip or luxury sedan to attend a wedding.

“Basic transportation will no longer be enough for increasingly empowered consumers,” said Sanjay Rishi, Vice President and Global Automotive Industry Leader for IBM. “They want an automotive experience that matches their lifestyles and lets them move seamlessly from life inside the vehicle to their world outside.”

Consumer demand for more information and entertainment from their vehicles will produce a growing presence by 2020 of telematics, including remote vehicle prognostics, active safety capabilities that sense and respond to driving behaviours and road conditions, a wide array of entertainment choices such as data downloads and streaming media, and powertrain innovations.

The study also suggests that alternative power will see continued innovation that extends far beyond 2020, and that by that year, all new vehicles will have some level of hybridization. Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles will remain a viable alternative, but projections put only a small fraction of vehicle production migrating to this technology by 2020, due to cost-prohibitive processes and new infrastructures. Biofuels will also see their share of investments, and non-food-based biofuels will grow.

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