Private car ownership still has a future

Adel Murad
Updated 25 November 2017
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Private car ownership still has a future

It is the fashion these days for car executives to focus on future trends such as car-sharing, car-hailing services and autonomous driving. Jeff Holden, Uber chief product officer, recently declared that “individual car ownership is something that will go away because it is very inefficient.”
That may be partly true. But for a clearer picture of what is likely to happen, it might be better to listen to the guru who predicted the rise of the compact SUV years before his competitors, went for electric cars instead of other alternatives and now has the “Leaf” all-electric car as a best-seller in the segment.
Carlos Ghosn, chairman of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, confirmed that personal car ownership would continue to expand worldwide despite ride-sharing services. He said that people think that sharing is a substitute for ownership but it is not — it is an addition. He is pushing for more production and aims to challenge for a lead position in the industry.
Ghosn’s alliance is poised to sell 10.5 million vehicles this year, making it a contender to challenge Volkswagen and Toyota for the top sales spot for the first time. The alliance has forecast that deliveries would jump to at least 14 million vehicles in 2022. Ghosn forecasts that growth will come from China, India and other emerging markets.
Although car-sharing is more efficient, there is no substitute for car ownership. Some of the new services are now available in Europe and the US but they have not affected levels of car ownership. Common sense dictates that people aspire to own their private car, regardless of low usage and high costs.
This is also true in affluent markets such as the GCC, where people own several cars despite driving only one vehicle at a time.
People prefer ownership and privacy. They would not accept sharing other goods and services, so why would they accept sharing cars?
• Adel Murad is a senior motoring and business journalist, based in London.


Tesla production leader Doug Field exits company

Tesla produced 5,000 of its Model 3 cars, along with a combined total of 2,000 Model S and Model X vehicles. (AP)
Updated 03 July 2018
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Tesla production leader Doug Field exits company

SAN FRANCISCO: Tesla on Monday confirmed that the head of Model 3 production, who went on leave after chief executive Elon Musk took over his duties, will not be returning.
The departure of engineering senior vice president Doug Field came as California-based Tesla appeared to have finally hit a self-imposed goal of cranking out 5,000 Model 3 electric cars in a week.
Tesla co-founder Musk fired off a Twitter post over the weekend saying “7,000 cars, 7 days.”
In a note to investors on Monday, Analyst Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities said that in the preceding week, Tesla produced 5,000 of its Model 3 cars, along with a combined total of 2,000 Model S and Model X vehicles.
Tesla has been under pressure to increase production to show it can operate profitably and at the kind of scale needed to be considered a major auto company.
Musk has been managing the Tesla production line, which has been rejiggered to pump out cars faster.
Field will not be returning to the company, according to Tesla.
“After almost five years at Tesla, Doug Field is moving on,” a company spokesman told AFP.
“We’d like to thank Doug for his hard work over the years and for everything he has done for Tesla.”
Tesla announced in June that it was cutting nine percent of its workforce to enhance profitability, but said the move would not affect an ambitious production ramp-up of its Model 3 sedan.
The job cuts are part of a company-wide restructuring to address excess staff in some areas due to the company’s speedy growth, Musk said in an email to employees.
The cuts concern salaried staff but not production workers and will not affect Model 3 output targets, said Musk, who characterized the downsizing as an acknowledgement of the need to focus more on costs.
“Given that Tesla has never made an annual profit in the almost 15 years since we have existed, profit is obviously not what motivates us,” Musk said in the message.
“What drives us is our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable, clean energy, but we will never achieve that mission unless we eventually demonstrate that we can be sustainably profitable.”
Shares of Tesla closed the formal trading day down 2.3 percent to $335.07 but regained some of that ground in after-market trades.