With the US auto market seemingly nearing its peak, the world’s largest auto venue – China – undergoing a crisis and with other emerging markets stalling, automakers are increasingly stretching beyond their comfort zones.
The global growth slowdown is especially taxing on the world’s “richest” carmakers – the luxury and ultra-luxury brands, such as Rolls-Royce, Bentley or Porsche. But they do seem to have the strategy to wither these changing times – they will go outside their traditional niches and tap growing demand in segments that were unthinkable just years ago. Porsche for example has shown how successful such a move can be – they took a leap of faith and entered the SUV segment with the Cayenne, which soon become their top selling model. And let’s not forget Bentley’s Bentayga – the first of an upcoming crop of ultra-luxury crossovers.
And the ongoing 2015 IAA Frankfurt Motor Show is showing how the automakers are pulling more rabbits than ever out of their hats: Jaguar has presented its first ever crossover, the F-Pace, which concurrently established a Guinness World Record for performing a giant loop or Porsche delivering an all-electric sports car concept featuring not only green credentials but also holographic apps.
Taking away all the glamour of such an important automotive event we see how the industry is struggling to adapt to the increasing demands of the XXI century – more technology and less fuel consumption. And on top of all that – autonomous driving. New tech, cleaner powertrains and driverless features cold translate in research and development budgets jumping at least $10 billion in 2021, says AlixPartners.