The Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA) celebrated its 20th Annual Conference this week in suburban Detroit under the theme: “Transom Innovate Lead.” And while this year’s discussion that occurred the day after Election Day was dominated by trade and tariff concerns as well as discussions of talent strategies, leadership and technology, the afternoon session included a discussion of the North American automotive outlook in a session called “Navigating Peaks and Valleys.”
If you talk to anyone involved in the automotive and transit sectors, the conversation will inevitably touch on how impactful autonomous vehicles and next-generation transit will be on our day-to-day lives. In our February 8, 2018 article, Autonomous Vehicles and Ride Sharing Will Reshape Our Buildings, Our Cities, and Our Lives, we discuss how urban planners and developers are starting to plan ahead and future proof their cities and developments for an autonomous and next-generation transit future. But, the impact of this new technology will reach beyond simply future proofing developments, but shape how we as drivers and passengers, and how cars, interact with the road around us, how land is used and developed, and how the government funds transit projects.
On September 30, 2018, the United States, Mexico and Canada announced that they have reached an agreement on a “new, modernized trade agreement for the 21st Century” (USTR, 09/30/2018). Going by the new name of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), it will entirely replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
On October 17, 2018, politicians expected to finalize Brexit terms at a 24-hour summit of European Union leaders in Brussels. Had things gone to plan, a special one-off meeting in November was all that remained to sign the final Brexit deal between the European Union and the United Kingdom. But the October summit fell apart. Seemingly unresolvable issues, over what would happen with the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, could not be overcome. European Union leaders, saying not enough progress had been made, also cancelled the planned November meeting. This leaves a possible mid-December European Union summit as the last and only chance to reach a deal before March 29, 2019 (Brexit day).
We might be at least part of the way through the looking glass in the Automotive Industry as OEMs, led by General Motors, are looking to keep the industry pointed in the direction of zero-emission vehicles and the Federal Government is looking to keep things as is. Specifically, last week GM called for a National Zero Emissions Vehicle Program. GM claimed that such a national program could add seven million electric vehicles on the road by 2030. While a large number, that is less than are anticipated under the current regulatory incentives. As the Automotive News pointed out, while GM’s announcement might have some altruistic basis, GM is also a leader in the electric vehicle space and wants to “seize on its advantage.”