Racing to the market

Racing to the market: the automobile industry revs their engines


Driverless cars were all the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, where more than 100 tech companies showcased their latest developments. Tesla, Kia, Ford and Google all promoted their latest advances towards the goal of an autonomous car.


Tesla made headlines when they revealed that some of their vehicles were able to park themselves without a driver inside. They engineered an exciting innovation that is clearly distinguishing the company from its peers. And innovation is a key ingredient to success as consumers begin to look to the industry’s pioneers.


What’s the draw for consumers? Just think about catching up on some sleep or a little work while riding safely to intended destinations. Increased road safety is another benefit drivers of the future can expect.


Market commentary


While driverless cars are still quite a way from becoming the norm, people are still buying cars in record numbers. New Zealand’s new vehicle sales rose to a record in January.


According to the Motor Industry Association, registrations increased 1.9% to 11,893 in January, marking the strongest January on record. Commercial vehicle registrations increased 13% to 2,657, the highest ever recorded for a January month, while passenger vehicle registrations slipped 1.2 percent to 8,899.


So, while the price of dairy continues to fall as a result of global oversupply, New Zealand vehicle sales have hit annual records for the past two years.


What’s next?


General Motors recently reported it will invest $500 million in Lyft Inc. and work with the ride-sharing company to develop a network of self-driving cars.


It’s a sign of intent to keep pace with Uber, Lyft’s ridesharing rival, as Uber bought out the robotics team at Carnegie Mellon University last year. And with other car-makers striking Silicon Valley partnerships of their own — such as, reportedly, Ford and Google — we’re seeing the rise of a whole new area of competition in the auto industry.


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