Luxury cars provide consumers with a higher quality ride (bigger engines, better handling, faster acceleration) and, most notably, owners typically enjoy the status associated with owning a high-end name brand vehicle. So what will happen when the driverless technology is available? This article suggests that luxury cars will have no purpose in an all self-driving future.
On the one hand, driverless vehicles will all leverage similar technologies, so the quality of the ride will (in theory) be comparable across vehicles. Even in this article about the Rolls Royce driverless concept and this site on the Mercedes F015 concept, most of the features highlighted in the article are aesthetic (sleek design, “luxury lounge,” and a virtual assistant); the focus is no longer on the ride. Moreover, in theory, private vehicle ownership will decrease substantially, so the likelihood and, ultimately, the image associated with owning a vehicle could decline accordingly.
On the other hand, I have to believe a sub-set of our population will always own their own vehicle (despite what government policies are put in place to discourage it). Price has never and will never discourage the purchase of luxury vehicles, so that will not change, and companies will always find ways to differentiate their products.
My hope is that we will have mostly shared fleets (at least in our urban and suburban areas) and the shared fleets will have a range of products that are priced accordingly. A high-end, sophisticated shared vehicle with a sleek design, “luxury lounge,” and Starbucks coffee offered will cost more than the basic shared vehicle service.So what do you think? Will we see the end of the luxury car market?