We sure hope that this prediction ends up being wrong.
There is a lot of debate over when cars will become fully autonomous. Today, this technology is only in the prototype phase, but companies like Tesla, Volvo, Ford and GM are working hard to bring it into the hands of consumers. Each of these companies has a different approach to self-driving cars. Ford thinks that hybrid technology is best and GM is focusing on removing the steering wheel and pedals all together. No matter how we reach them, autonomous cars will no doubt change the way consumers buy cars. It won't be easy to predict this change.
Autocar reports that a study conducted by financial services company Credit Suisse predicts that 2030 will be the year that autonomous cars severely hurt normal car sales. The report stated that "Our global automotive production chain model forecasts global car production flatlining from 2030 with rising production in developing markets offset by declines in developed markets." The study was conducted out of the UK, so it also added that "Within that, we expect UK production levels to begin a structural decline from around 2030, falling about 1% per year from that year as autonomous vehicles comprise a greater proportion of the UK."
The reason for the decline in normal car production can be attributed the rise of ride-hailing services such as Uber combined with the use of fully autonomous cars. The study also figured out that certain people will still benefit from car ownership. Someone who drives more than 5,000 miles a year may still benefit from owning a car instead of using ride sharing for short distances and rental cars for long distances. The study predicted that 14% of the new car market from 2040 will be made up of autonomous cars with semi-autonomous cars representing about one third of new car sales. We like the idea of self-driving cars, but we hope that there will always be a place for driving enthusiasts.