An analysis from Barclays Capital forewarns new-car sales will plummet 40 percent in the United States over the next 25 years, a drop that would have severe consequences for the Big Three and entire supply chain.
Families won't need more than one car because a single self-driving vehicle, like the new Google car pictured above, can handle drop-offs and pick-ups from multiple locations. Customers will rely on cheaper sharing services to take them elsewhere, according to the firm's "Disruptive Mobility" report. Each shared vehicle, it said, could replace as many as nine traditionally owned cars.
Automakers that rely on large-volume sales will be hit particularly hard and "would need to shrink dramatically to survive," analyst Brian Johnson wrote.
Some segments, such as pickup trucks and large vans, may be less susceptible to such drastic loss. But overall, Johnson sees autonomous cars and car sharing as "a further lid on the prospects" of automakers like Ford and General Motors.
Automation will endanger the livelihoods of tens of thousands of taxi drivers who will be replaced by "robot taxis" hailed via smartphones, he wrote. Although not specifically mentioned in the Barclays report, that prediction echoed one from only weeks ago that roughly 3.5 million truck drivers could lose their jobs to self-driving trucks.
Without drivers to pay, consumers will save money on transportation costs, both in terms of car-sharing services and the transportation of household goods. It may cost passengers 44 cents per mile in a self-driving taxi, versus the $3 to $3.50 they currently pay for an UberX ride, Johnson wrote.