This section should really be titled, “Explosion in transportation in the developing world and consequent salvation of the automobile manufacturing industry.” The Mobility Cloud can’t usurp private car ownership as the consumer’s dominant method of interacting with the automobile unless it’s less expensive than private car ownership, and it has to be meaningfully less expensive to have a real impact. Consequently, by definition, if automobile sales are devastated in the industrialized world that means that The Mobility Cloud is offering transportation significantly cheaper than privately owning cars. If the cost of transportation is reduced by twenty or fifty or eighty percent, the inherent corollary of the previous point about car sales being gutted in the industrialized world is that the price of transportation will have been reduced so much that now it’s available to a significant percentage of the human race living in the developing world that could never afford it previously. Billions of people in the developing world are doing this right now to get around.
All of these people, and there are literally billions of them, would choose to ride in or on a vehicle if it were available to them and affordable, and if the price of transportation drops to a fraction of its current cost through The Mobility Cloud, it will be affordable to many of them. Industrialized nations are already at “peak car,” but developing nations are very far away from peak car, so there is room for huge increases in the transportation user base in those markets. This growth in transportation in developing nations is the only thing that will keep current established automobile manufacturers in business, but they’ll only stay in business if they can adapt fast enough.
To survive, existing automotive companies will have to transition from manufacturing the gasoline-powered, consumer-oriented vehicles they’re currently producing to building electric fleet vehicles, intended to be owned by multinational ride service providers like Uber and its future competitors. These fleet vehicles will have greater standardization, fewer options and most won’t be the ultra-luxurious consumer items that car companies are spitting out by the hundreds of thousands of units right now. Highly luxurious, on-demand transportation will certainly be available for those that want to pay for it, but it won’t be the primary market.
The developing world will skip the cultural phase of widespread, massive private car ownership that industrialized nations went through. It will be like SE Asia and many parts of Africa were with telephone technology. Those societies never installed land lines on a massive scale like Western Europe and America because by the time the population economically could afford and needed mass phone penetration mobile phones had already arrived. They never did land lines. Developing nations will have a whole social class that never experiences private car ownership as they climb the socioeconomic ladder.