There are a number of factors that could determine when the future will deliver another best-selling vehicle in line with the Volkswagen Beetle, Toyota Corolla or Ford F-Series. Economics, market development, price, functionality, reliability will all play their part, especially in an era where bands of consumers are moving away from petrol cars to hybrids or electricity-powered vehicles.
One thing is for certain, China will play a leading role in deciding the next best-selling car. According to Reuters, China will outstrip the US to become the world’s leading market for premium cars within the next seven years. Furthermore, China already has the upper hand on the US in terms of being the world’s largest auto market overall, signalling that China is already a dominant force in the motor industry.
At the moment, German high-end car markers are performing particularly well in China whereas US manufacturers are still performing well in the States. However, the year 2020 will see China selling around three million luxury vehicles while the US will be selling around 2.3 million, according to McKinsey. Furthermore, China’s premium car market will grow at an annual rate of 12 per cent over the next seven years compared with eight per cent for the overall passenger car market.
When it comes to manufacturers, China is also leading the way. There are over 100 automakers in China compared to only two massive American car companies (General Motors and Ford) at the moment, with Shanghai Automotive earning $33.6 billion revenue in 2010.
On the other hand, the current passenger market is still dominated by Japanese and Korean automakers, with China constantly playing catch-up. But in the future? Only time will tell.
The world’s next best-selling car also has the potential to be an electric vehicle, provided the price, reliability and technology are right. The batteries, construction, electronics and charging mechanisms all need to be refined over the next few decades but it definitely could be a winner in the future.
Currently, sales of electric cars account for 3.8 per cent of all cars sold in the US this year so far but the development of electric car technology could see that change quickly in the future. As batteries hold longer charges, vehicles become more autonomous, light and strong construction materials are developed and light, powerful motors surface, electric vehicles could signal a new dawn in the motor industry.
Another feature that will have an impact on the world’s next best-selling vehicle will be its green credentials. Modern, low-carbon vehicles are set to be the Corollas or the Fiestas of the future if the UK has anything to say about it.
A partnership between the government and the automotive industry will see investments of £500 million each over the next decade into a national engine development centre, which hopes to make Britain the epicentre of low-carbon engines.
According to Business Secretary Vince Cable, the investment is designed to maintain a momentum started by a flourishing UK automotive sector; growing vehicle production and component supply in the country. Overall, the centre is aimed at commercialising technologies for the vehicles of the future, suggesting that environment-friendly vehicles could be future top sellers.
Overall, there are a number of variables that need to fully develop in order to identify the best-selling car of the future. Only time will allow us to determine what type of vehicle will come out on top; whether that’s an electric car, a premium vehicle, an eco-friendly vehicle or another type.