And none of it looks good for Tesla.
No, your coffee isn’t getting any weaker. Consistently waking up feeling like your brain is too sluggish to process the massive shifts going on in the world is now a symptom of being alive in these modern times. And the auto industry’s tumultuous ride in 2017 is only one sign of that. With electric cars and news of automation around the corner, we leave 2017 needing plenty of rest before 2018 is here. But hold on tight, because according to predictions made by Automotive News, 2018 will be just as intense.
Thankfully, the forecast claims that things will calm down before they get hectic again. A reprieve before the storm if you will. That's because AN thinks that automakers will roll back plans for self-driving cars in 2018. Not that they’ll abandon the technology—don't get your hopes up there—but the ambitious timelines automakers have outlined will need to be extended in order to account for reality and to allow the technology to mature. Programmers will need to take time to iron out kinks in the technology and once that is done, they’ll need to spend time figuring out how to get consumers to change their habits while allowing cities to adapt to driverless pods roaming their streets.
Of course no talk of autonomous cars can go without mention of electric vehicles. AN thinks that we’ll be hearing quite a bit more about these in 2018, but it won’t just be European, Japanese, and domestic automakers who will be part of the conversation. China will begin to join the round table as its massive economy and large auto market continues to prioritize electric cars all the while national automakers adapt the technology to meet demand. Being an authority figure on the new technology will mean Chinese automakers won’t skip a beat to sell their vehicles to Americans. Some Chinese startups have sailed overseas and set up shop in Silicon Valley with the goal of selling cars here by 2019, so expect to see ads for them by 2018.
And finally, a merging of the autonomous/electric car news into one automaker: Tesla. The company has had a banner year with reveals of the Model 3, Semi, and Roadster, but as it’s become typical for Tesla, none of these reveals mean things are going smoothly. Even with close to half a million buyers putting down Model 3 deposits, you’d be hard pressed to find one on the streets right now. Unfortunately, AN expects Tesla’s trend of tardiness to continue thanks to production headaches with the Model 3. Even Morgan Stanley thinks Tesla will only have built 48,000 Model 3s by the end of 2018, far fewer than the 500,000 units it claimed would be done by this time next year. Get it together Musk, because 2018 is already hunting for victims.