Gearheads won't like this one bit.
Ken Okuyama knows cars. He worked at Pininfarina and designed the Enzo Ferrari. He also worked at Porsche and helped design the Boxster. He worked at GM in the early 1990s where he was in charge of designing the Camaro and Corvette. So, yeah, he knows a thing or two. Okuyama did a recent interview with Reuters before the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show where he talked about the future of the automotive industry. Basically, the future looks a little bleak for gearheads and those who like to drive.
Okuyama believes Google and Apple could bring about a change in how cars are viewed and used, with cars being viewed more as functional devices. The designer sees this as a threat to Japan's automakers, such as Toyota and Honda. "If they don't watch out, they risk becoming just suppliers to those (tech) companies." He sees a future in which only two types of cars exist. The first type are functional and autonomous, shuttling around people from A to B. Imagine sitting down and plugging in your devices instead of actually getting behind the wheel. The second type would be luxury cars that only the wealthy can afford, as in only the rich will be able to afford driving. How did he come to such a dramatic conclusion?
Automakers have used existing technology and road infrastructure to create cars which have an emotional connection with drivers. This is how they have been adding value to their products. But cars have become commodity products, and, as such, they have to become more functional and even more affordable." His advice: Jump on the autonomous bandwagon soon or risk being left behind. "Self-driving cars will eventually become commonplace ... as a result, carmakers will have to sell not only the hardware, but also the overall system to run the cars." Okuyama is planning to unveil a $1.3 million bespoke car at the Tokyo Motor Show. We wonder if it will have autonomous capabilities.