Benedict Evans made an interesting post recently about the future of cars in the next few decades. Specifically, about what a car is, how it gets made, who owns them.
Evans suggests the the car manufacturing industry may undergo similar organizational and technological shifts to those seen in cell phone manufacturing.
As on-demand car services comprise an increasing share of car purchases, characteristics like flair, design, innovation, fit and finish won’t matter as much.
Self-driving cars will increase supply of on-demand car services. They will also induce many other second-order effects: decreased demand for parking and public transport; more retail spaces (because of less car parking), more visitors to city centers; more traffic congestion (or less b/c of automated traffic optimization); possibly limited transport options for low-income pub transit users; possibly increased biking because it will be safer, or less because of availability/convenience of on-demand cars.
Overall, fewer cars will be sold. Many (maybe most) will be sold to on-demand service providers. Few of them will be luxury models.
Car smarts will increasingly come from software, and that software will be delivered to some (maybe large) extent from the mobile devices we carry.