It’s today 100 years since Henry Ford introduced the moving production line and the mass production of cars took off. A car has more or less had the same design and function since then. A dominant design was established and has been followed by more incremental improvements and significant enhancement in terms of production efficiency. The development of the car industry is well described and is a classical example used when illustrating the diffusion of innovation theory. However the car industry may now quickly approach a dramatic shift entering into a new phase driven by modern communication technology and environmental concerns.
The Economist published about two and a half years ago a special report on the future of the car. Their cover story Clean, safe and it drives itself, pictures quite dramatic changes in term of use and design. The prediction of this development is not new, but is the timing now right? Let’s assume The Economist got it all right, how will then this impact the industry? How does this correlate to the innovation theories by researchers such as Rogers, Utterback, Moore and Christensen? What are the underlying driving forces that make this happen now? How will our use of the car change and what further implications will this have? How will communication technology be utilized?