How autonomous vehicles could affect sales: 3 scenarios

How autonomous vehicles could affect sales: 3 scenarios

ALG, a subsidiary of TrueCar, has come up with three scenarios for the way autonomous vehicles (AVs) could affect sales by 2030: no effect, an 8.6 percent decrease in vehicle sales or a 41 percent drop in sales.

The analysts looked at three instigators of vehicle demand: ownership mix (fleets vs. privately owned vehicles), occupancy of each vehicle type, and the lifespan of each vehicle type. The first scenario assumes that privately owned AVs would perform like their conventional counterparts, with vehicle occupancy and lifespan unchanged. Overall sales would not change.

In the second scenario, vehicle-to-infrastructure technology has been accepted by NHTSA and taxpayers, and most Americans are happy not to drive themselves. Single-occupancy commuting in privately owned vehicles disappears. One-quarter of household driving needs are met by AV fleets. Nearly one-quarter of passenger miles shift to higher-occupancy, longer-lasting vehicles. As a result, vehicle sales would drop by 8.6 percent.

Scenario 3 is the most drastic. Three-quarters of passenger miles are served by AV fleets rather than private vehicles. Fleet vehicles would have 25 percent higher occupancy and 25 percent longer lifespan. Vehicle sales would decline by 41 percent. As for dealers, the report says, –Theyêre well positioned to maintain AV fleets and their real estate may be valuable to fleet operators for downtime storage.”

There is another possibility: If AVs create less congestion and people can make productive use of their commuting time because they donêt have to do the driving, they may be willing to accept longer commutes. If they still want single-occupancy trips, there could then be an increase in vehicle production.

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