Nissan's Joni Paiva shares the four trends shaping the future of mobility
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Insights: Nissan’s Joni Paiva on the four trends shaping the future of mobility

Insights: Nissan’s Joni Paiva on the four trends shaping the future of mobility

Nissan’s divisional vice president for Africa, Middle East, India and the Oceania region, says the automotive sector’s second major revolution has been driven by three factors: customers, manufacturers and markets

Gulf Business

Stepping into a new fiscal year provides an opportune moment of reflection for automotive players to consider the current state of the industry, while setting sights on goals for the coming years. Yet, “What’s next?” is a complex question to answer – and one that cannot be addressed in isolation. The past two years in particular have demonstrated how the automotive sector’s second major revolution has been driven by three factors – customers, manufacturers and markets.

We have seen each of these factors independently demonstrate their influence: empowered customers continue to impact business decisions, car manufacturers have embraced agility to enhance their product and service offerings in real time, and markets are making serious future-focused mobility and sustainability commitments.

However, the evolution of the mobility ecosystem relies on these factors working in tandem towards a progressive, connected future. While mega-trends like electrification and autonomous driving continue to top the list of buzzwords associated with the automotive industry, they require closer introspection to be put into actions that deliver true impact.

Here’s a look at trends currently shaping the industry and what automotive brands can do to make the most out of them:

The auto industry’s relationship with sustainability has seen a massive shift this year – and we expect it to continue.
We have seen original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), energy partners and governments alike move beyond passive acknowledgement to solid sustainability commitments in the past year, with some already taking initial steps to put these plans in motion. It is no longer enough to simply reiterate the importance of decarbonisation – customers want to see companies put their money where their ambition is.

Conversations around sustainability are also increasingly moving beyond emissions to encompass a more holistic view – from the design and engineering stages, through to manufacturing and shipping, how vehicles operate, how they are serviced, and what happens to them after their lifecycle. This is in line with emerging consumer trends around conscious consumption and demand for mobility solutions that support the communities they live in. Car companies will therefore need to continue re-evaluating and redesigning their processes to better establish automotive circularity.

The road to sustainability is electrified. While this is hardly a new development, electrification has received a recent surge that’s impossible to ignore – with global EV sales expected to grow to 11.2 million in 2025 and reach 31.1 million by 2030, according to a Deloitte report.

Alongside ramping up EV production, car brands need to also look at innovating existing drive systems and powertrains. This ties back to sustainability efforts, as well as educating customers about the benefits of EVs while offering a smoother transition to electrified products.

These product and technology innovations need to be matched at a market regulation level through cross-industry collaborations, public-private partnerships, and supportive policy frameworks and incentives. Furthermore, to facilitate long-lasting shifts in consumer behaviour – all these initiatives need to be underlined with consistent efforts to drive awareness about EVs amongst the general public – addressing range anxiety, cost parity and other potential barriers to adoption.

Intelligent cars are on the rise. While the production of cars decades ago mainly focused on key functional elements such as the engine, suspension, and wheels; there is now an equal emphasis on ‘the brain’ of the car. Automotive brands have firmly moved into the automotive technology space, attracting innovative talent and emerging start-ups. We will see this trend intensify in the years to come with tech integration capabilities playing a major role in setting car brands apart from the competition. The aim is to elevate the traditional transport-focused role of a car into an integral part of people’s digital life – especially for a growing base of tech-savvy customers.

The rise of intelligent cars will focus on establishing new relationships with the car’s underpinning capabilities and technologies, offering seamless driver-vehicle interactions.

Customer-centricity still holds the key. With on-the-go, on-demand convenience becoming the norm, people now have zero tolerance for friction. Consumers are not just using different routes to engage with a brand, but are more likely to switch brands if they don’t get a consistent experience across channels, and abandon their shopping journey if faced with even the slightest of delays in the purchase process.

It is therefore essential for auto brands to continuously innovate and optimise its services in order to drive omnichannel customer journeys and facilitate impactful engagement across physical and digital touchpoints. It is vital to leverage technology in a way that empowers customers to take ownership of their shopping journey, and seamlessly transition across online and offline at their convenience.

Buckle up, it’s going to be a thrilling ride. The availability and adoption of advanced technologies are transforming how cars are made, powered, and integrated into society. With many macro-economic and industry changes impacting the industry all at once, OEMs need to stay agile to keep up with the pace of the ongoing automobile revolution. It’s a fine line to tread – as innovations need to address global challenges and respond to customer needs, while maintaining economic viability and decreasing pressure on existing supply chains.

Car brands will need to take a holistic and guided approach to their mobility transformation – they will be held more accountable by industries and consumers alike, and will need to deliver greater efficiencies while future-proofing their businesses to be more resilient. How brands take charge of the next few years will set them up for an exciting new chapter for the industry.

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