Source: Automotive News
The auto industry seems to be roaring like a massive freight train into a neatly defined future — a brave and unmistakable new world of vehicle electrification, autonomous driving and shared mobility.
But hold on.
At a gathering of executives and thought leaders here last week, auto execs sounded far from certain about this future thought to be so cool and clear-cut.
Like a kid standing at the end of a high diving board for the first time as the crowd below coaxes him to jump: He knows he's going to jump. He just wants to think about it for another minute.
"When you're running the company, you have to make decisions," Don Walker, CEO of Magna International, North America's largest auto supplier, told the audience at the Center for Automotive Research's annual Management Briefing Seminars.
Walker captured the complicated anxiousness of the moment.
"If we went all in on electric vehicles," he said hypothetically, "and we thought it was going to be 20 percent penetration in 10 years, and it's only 8 percent, then we've overcapitalized, and we quoted wrong.
"The investors can change just like that — and sell the stock. So we really need to look at what is really going to happen and make the right investments in technology and in product strategy."
Implicit in Walker's comment and echoed throughout the week: This is one of the most high-stakes moments in auto industry history.