As cars become more automated, Okuyama predicts the auto market over time may split into two camps: vehicles that simply fulfill public transportation needs such as self-driving taxis serviced by ride-hailing applications; and super-luxury cars that will be trophy items for the wealthy.
As a result, he says, car ownership will decline, decreasing demand for affordable, traditional cars like Honda’s hugely popular Civic models.
“Automakers have used existing technology and road infrastructure to create cars which have an emotional connection with drivers. This is how they have been adding value to their products,” Okuyama said.
“But cars have become commodity products, and, as such, they have to become more functional and even more affordable,” he said, foreseeing a future where stripped down, minimalist ‘commodity’ cars would share the roads with luxury vehicles.