In Armageddon (a 1998 film), a meteor is approaching Earth, threatening the very existence of all life on our planet. Now a similar danger awaits car manufacturers and dealers. We even know the date of the carmageddon: 2030.
Instead of a giant rock heading towards the dealers, they are dealing with the migration of customers to online sale services. This is one of the main factors contributing to the fact that in the near future we will no longer buy cars from dealers. Added to this is the ageing of the European population, increasingly stringent emission standards, further urbanization and the popularity of car sharing (why buy a car if you can rent one?), which will result in a decreased demand for new vehicles. The effect? As forecasted by Roland Berger, a consulting firm, by 2030 the market will fall from the current level of 73 million new cars per year in the US and Western Europe to 48 million cars, with a hard landing starting in 2027, and with a decline of over 50% in western EU countries.
This will be the Carmageddon (for the sake of clarity: we don’t mean the computer game with this title), i.e. a scenario in which the sales of new cars in dealerships and, as a consequence, sales of used cars will be falling dramatically. Automotive companies are already beginning to prepare for this. Renault intends to reduce costs by 2 billion EUR thanks to the three-year savings program. The company will, for example, sell a network of 10 dealers in France to prepare for the future in which cars will be bought online. Renault is not the only company which will tighten the belt. Daimler, which currently employs over 300,000 people around the world, will liquidate at least 10,000 jobs by 2022. This will be followed by huge investments in electric vehicles and, in the future, in self-driving cars.
The trend is likely to reach Poland with a delay but lower demand for new cars will also reduce the number of second-hand cars available, which may translate into smaller volumes of import. The aforementioned Roland Berger analysis predicts the number of used cars available in the USA and Western Europe to drop from the current level of 114 million to 100 million in 2030. In Poland, around 0.5 million new cars and 1 million used cars are sold each year. However, the changes will sooner or later affect Poland anyway and, following the example of Tesla, we will order new cars via the Internet, although probably we’ll do it on a mass scale later than in 2030.