Driverless and electric cars to lead 2014 growth
Leech said 2013 had been a ‘fantastic’ year for the automotive industry, with 1,276,287 cars built in the first 11 months – a 5.4% rise – while sales were up 9.9%. Figures which put the industry back at pre-recession levels last seen in 2008.
‘According to KPMG International’s 14th Global Automotive Executive Survey, consumer enthusiasm for electric cars in 2013 failed to ignite but the outlook in 2014 will start to brighten as range-extended battery-powered cars are launched, like the new 2014 BMW i3,’ he explained.
Forecasting developments in driverless cars, Leech said: ‘New self-driving features will be deployed in executive cars such as “traffic-jam assist” which will see cars driving themselves in low speed traffic jams.’
‘The focus on innovation by the UK government will also help the development of driverless and electric cars. Plans to test driverless cars in the UK by global car manufacturers will push the UK as a player in driverless car technology.’
A slower rate of growth is predicted for 2014, he predicts, on the way to a forecast of 1.9 million units by 2017 – a 25% increase on 2007 levels. In the meantime, France, Italy and Spain are expected to make 33%, 28% and 17% fewer cars, while Germany will have come full circle back to 2007 levels.