Lessons from Geneva: EV is way to go, but lots of worries remain
After the recent Geneva Motor Show the reactions are mitigated. For one, the EV is now ready to really conquer the market. But there are also big worries: Brexit, Trump taxes, European CO2 fines, customer hesitation and last but not least the future of motor shows.
This mitigation was also seen in the voting for the Car of the year 2019 where finally the electric car won. But it was one of the closest battles ever with a small, lightweight sports car that represents the best of the old school.
60 car journalists out of 23 European countries and member of the Car of the Year (COTY) jury have elected the fully electric Jaguar I-Pace as their Car of the Year 2019. In the end the Jaguar beat the French Alpine A110 sports car with the smallest of margins.
Both cars obtained 250 points of the jurors, something that had never happened before. In such a situation the number of first places is considered as an additional dividing criterium. There the I-Pace won, being placed 18 times first against 16 for the Alpine.
As we write this, there is still no decision about Brexit (when, negotiated or no deal,…) and this weighs on the car industry. For sure, one thing that companies hate is uncertainty and that’s just what is happening now. It will stay like this until there is a clear decision, whatever that will be.
Especially German premium car manufacturers are also worried about possible decisions from the Trump administration. Quintupling the import taxes for foreign cars imported in the US could be disastrous. In general, trade wars is not what CEO’s want and it has an influence on prices.
At the show PSA Group CEO Carlos Tavares, also president of the European manufacturers association ACEA, was clear. The ever more stringent emission regulations for cars between now and 2030 will cause havoc.
One way or the other it will cost the manufacturers a lot of money. They will have to recuperate this from their customers. In an unprecedented way Tavares called upon these customers to vote against politicians who installed the regulations. It’s an obvious sign of the stress car CEO’s are under.
Motor shows under fire
Last but surely not least: the big motor shows are quickly losing ground. It began a few years ago with Volvo not going to Frankfurt, now it becomes a habit. Even Geneva is not untouchable: this year 7 important manufacturers chose to skip Geneva.
Manufacturers are looking frantically at other means to reach the public, also because of the soaring costs of motor shows. Those will have to reinvent themselves or disappear. More and more manufacturers go also to other non-automotive shows to show their products, e.c. the CES in Las Vegas.
Perhaps the formula of the Brussels Motor Show is not so dumb after all. For many years it was considered a simple car fair because people came also to buy cars. In the future this may be the only way to ensure that customers and manufacturers think it’s still interesting to attend.