The Future of the Automobile Industry?

Robert Edwards April 15, 2015

In this past Monday's Star Tribune was an article reprinted from the Los Angeles Times. It discussed an analysis of the automobile industry by the giant investment bank, Morgan Stanley. The author of the study concluded that the automobile industry as we know it will not be recognizable in the not-too-distant future. The 2 factors that are going to cause this disruption are the sharing economy and autonomous driving. According to Morgan Stanley, the $10 trillion worldwide automotive industry is in for a huge shakeup due to these factors.

Essentially the study concludes that the future will involve far fewer people actually owning cars. Instead, you will summon an autonomous/self driven vehicle to your location on your smart phone, tell it where you want to go, and it will drive you there and drop you off. You will then walk away, leaving the car for the next person to summon.

Obviously this won't necessarily work for everyone. People who live in the suburbs in need to commute downtown every day will probably still need to actually own a car, but it will probably end up being a self driven vehicle. And the two-car family may disappear entirely unless both parents need to commute.

What this means for personal injury lawyers is a slow and steady decline in business for those of us who represent the victims of automobile accidents. For society this is a good thing. Fewer and fewer accident caused injuries will benefit society far more than personal injury litigation does. We have a saying in our business: a fence at the top of the cliff is better than an ambulance at the bottom. This is just an example of exactly what we have been preaching for decades.