Automotive Industry Hot Topics with Industry Analyst, Tyler Harp –  (01/19/2024)

This week we are joined by a special guest, Tyler Harp, Industry Analyst at CAR. Tyler covers and shares his thoughts on the latest Hot Topics happening in the automotive industry. If you would like to receive this bi-weekly insight into critical industry issues you and your organization are facing, sign up for our mailing list here to get Hot Topics sent directly to your inbox. 


The Future of Auto Shows: 

Tyler’s thoughts:

In an era of declining brand loyalty and a shift of consumer focus toward convenience and safety features (i.e. ADAS), auto shows can play a vital role in showcasing a company’s latest tech. They provide opportunities to engage with car buyers, drumming up brand enthusiasm with interactive exhibits. Opting out will prove costly, especially as competitors take full advantage. There is another marketing benefit in addition to consumer awareness – talent attraction. The EV transition, SDV evolution, and drive towards autonomy mean that automakers are competing with Silicon Valley and big tech for talent. These events provide a platform for automakers and suppliers to show the world, and future STEM graduates, that automotive is a “sexy” industry to be in.  


The Uphill Climb for EVs: 

Tyler’s thoughts:

I had the good fortune to attend the 30th Annual Automotive Insights Symposium, held at the 7th District of the Federal Reserve Bank – Detroit Branch. In the opening presentation, a compelling visual of the Moore’s Technology Adoption Life Cycle demonstrated where the EV market may currently be: “The Chasm.” This is the gap between tech enthusiasts and visionaries who make up 16% of the population, and pragmatists who make up 34%. Including hybrids, electrified vehicles represented 16-17% of US light vehicle sales in 2023. This brings us right to the edge of the chasm with practical mainstream adoption on the other side. To make this leap, solid EV infrastructure and affordability are key. Progress is being made, but slowly – potentially too slow to meet EV goals. There are considerable headwinds including political opposition, increasing insurance premiums, and competitive price wars slashing profitability (if there was profitability to be had in the first place). But even with these challenges, record investment by automakers suggests that it is not a question of if, but when EVs will be commonplace. Unlike for Sisyphus, the EV hilltop can be reached.  


UAW Targets Non-Union Manufacturers: 

Tyler’s thoughts:

Non-union autoworkers are receiving raises, including at Tesla, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Toyota, and Honda, in what UAW President Shawn Fain would attribute to the “UAW Bump.” Following a very public and dramatic contract negotiation with the Detroit Three, the UAW is attempting to capitalize on its success to unionize 13 other automakers in the US. These raises are likely a ploy aimed to thwart this endeavor, a strategy that has proved successful in the past. However, after winning record contracts, it could be argued that the UAW “owes” it to the Detroit Three to go after non-union automakers. The Detroit Three market share has dropped from 90% in the 1960’s to just shy of 40% in 2023. These record contracts could pose a competitive disadvantage in labor cost, even after factoring in the “UAW Bump.” With the latest contract in hand, Shawn Fain has an excellent advert for how the UAW can benefit non-union auto workers. Considering the momentum already seen in Tennessee and Alabama, his message seems to be carrying weight. 



Tyler Harp headshot photo

Tyler Harp

Industry Analyst

Get our feature stories straight to your inbox.

Join our email list today and never miss our feature stories, publications, and event news.