Assume there will be a challenge to traditional retailing

  03 May 2016

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about autonomous cars and mobility solutions. These words and phrases are even making their war through to national media outlets that are not normally given to talking about cars. A recent BBC interview with Ford chief executive Mark Fields covered this area neatly.

Mr Fields very wisely said Ford was keeping a close eye on both traditional rivals and tech-giants such as Google and Apple. He explained how Ford saw the car, and mobility in general, developing and what it was doing about this race to fully autonomous vehicles. 

However, at no point did the interviewer ask about how the sale of cars may change in future – particularly with the new tech entrants. And neither did Mr Fields talk about this threat either.

So, if Ford is working on the assumption that Apple is building a car, then shouldn’t retailers be working on assumption that Apple – or any of the large tech firms – will also consider challenging the way vehicles will be sold? Probably.

However, the follow-up question has to be, will the restrictive franchise system put in place by the manufacturer be able to cope with new tech-giant entrants if it won’t let retailers depart from the rules to try new ideas?

Tristan Young

Editorial director

Auto Retail Network

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