Mitchell Predicts Top Auto Trends for 2020

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Dec. 13, 2019—In the fourth quarter Mitchell Industry Trends Report, the organization predicted the top five automotive trends for 2020. According to the analysis, 2020 appears poised to be a pivotal year for both the furtherance of development already in place and fresh forces of disruption, such as:

1. Continuing growth of electrification

Auto manufacturers continue their push toward the aggressive 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards by ramping up electrification strategies with the expansion of mild hybrid programs as well as new plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicle (EV) offerings. 

What to Expect: Expect to see a full range of new full EVs enter the market in 2020 including: the Tesla Model Y, a small crossover built on the Model 3 platform; the Mini Electric, which has a great deal of shared technology with the BMW i3; and a full range of electric vehicles from Volkswagen in their ID series.

2. Growing presence of startup car companies 

Several companies are attempting to follow in Tesla’s footsteps as the next big automotive startup. Many of these startups, like Tesla, are focusing on electric propulsion. 

What to Expect: The one to watch is Irvine, Calif.-based Rivian, which secured $700 million worth of funding from Amazon earlier this year.

3. New and Improved Digital Platforms

In order to meet the increasing demands of the complex technology embedded in today’s vehicles, automakers invest significantly in upgrades to the digital platforms on which these vehicles operate. 

What to Expect: GM recently announced the rollout of a new electrical platform that will be capable of meeting the bandwidth requirements of its future lineup of vehicles.The new platform will be able to manage 4.5 terabytes of data processing per hour, which is five times more than the current electrical architecture” and will also have the capability of performing OTA updates.

4. Expanded Level 3 Automation

Level 3 automation is often referred to as conditional automation. This level of autonomy allows the driver to disengage from certain safety functions like braking if certain conditions are present while the vehicle monitors the environment.

What to Expect: Systems like Audi’s Traffic Jam Pilot, Cadillac’s Super Cruise and Mercedes’ Drive Pilot all provide the opportunity for the vehicle to take over all critical driving functions in certain specific scenarios.10 Currently, this system is only available on select vehicles, but we can expect to see it offered broadly in the near future.

5. Increasing Utilization of Carbon Fiber in Vehicle Construction

While much of the focus is on aluminum, a great many automakers are turning to carbon fiber not only for exterior components such as hoods and liftgates but also complete inner-body structures.  Carbon fiber is even finding its way into the full size pickup market with GM utilizing the composite in the construction of new bed assemblies on the Silverado/Sierra platform.

What to Expect: Industry analysts predict a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the automotive carbon fiber market at between 7.9 percent and 10.6 percent over the coming 5 years.

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