Ever Changing Car Markets  

The worldwide economic slowdown and negative growth has serve as a wake-up call for many consumers who had been overspending during the good times. There had been a wave of job cuts with companies declaring bankrupt. This has restricted people's spending power for buying luxury goods that they have gotten used to. People are tightening up their purse to save for a rainy day while the same case goes for national governments, whom have been figuring out methods for spending cuts. Cutting petroleum consumption is top on the agenda list. Governments had been running fiscal deficits during the good times without a proper control on spending and it is time for them to adopt some wise spending habits.Asia consumes the most number of oil in terms of global volume. China, together with Japan and India are already using 25% of total world oil consumption, with production of oil accounting for only 6.25% of total world oil output, hence making them large net importers of oil related products. These countries have been importing millions barrels of oil every single day non-stop. Their insatiable appetite for oil is mainly driven by demand from car owners.
Recently, Kia, an Asian automobile manufacturer based in Korea, launched its all new Forte Hybrid vehicle, the very first hybrid range going into mass production. Another model range was launched name Eco-Dynamics, where several environmental friendly cars, which meant lower oil consumption and gas emissions, will be marketed worldwide in many international markets.
Tata Nano, manufactured by the car company related to the famed Tata Industries, is another model launch that is predicted to capture India consumers' hearts and money, due to its extreme low retail price at below $2,000. Sales projections are expected to reach more than 100,000 vehicles, but there is potential for higher revenue with future launches. This car is targeted for the young and hip customers who will be captivated by the model and upgrade to a higher end model when their income rises. It is a classic case of capturing customer loyalty. Nano's highly successful launch had called for a new market segment and higher demand for low cost vehicles with minimal fuel consumptions.
Car companies are feeling the pinch of the economic slowdown due to cars being a luxury good. Many are cutting on production budgets for optimizing cost structure, but one area that remains spared is the development for fuel-efficient vehicles. Hyundai Motor, Honda Motor and Toyota Motor, which are South Korean and Japanese powerhouse car manufacturers have maintained research spending levels at 5% of total revenue. Hyundai has kept the research budget even on the backdrop of a $2.2 billion program for cost reduction. Car manufacturers in Asia are competing big time in the still growing industry by continuing its heavy investment outlay in R&D.
Hybrid cars development had propelled a new frontier market for batteries. Battery producers are also stepping up the game for higher R&D budgets in developing the next cutting edge battery technology. Hybrid automobile's rapid growth is the first transition and evolution for a car. As more advanced batteries are produced in the future, there will be a time where petroleum is no longer needed. Another hybrid model of the future, the Plug-In Automobile Electric Vehicles will have a bright future where sales are currently at 100,000, a tiny fraction currently from total 1.7million cars of hybrid range sold in 2015. Hakan Samuelsson, the chief executive of Volvo just announced all Volvo cars to be electric or hybrid from 2019. Tesla of course leaders in the electric field just rolled out Its first completed Model 3 (shown above).
Cars running on alternative energy supply other than petroleum are expensive to develop, but that did not deter companies from dropping heavy research funds on developing hydrogen-fuel cars. There are no mass production of these fuel cells currently which represents a big step forward on the car evolutionary stage. Hybrid industry is expected to grow many folds, as consumers get hooked on the concept which will further spur plug in cars development. This may cause petroleum based cars to be completely phased out from the market. Current hydrogen fuel technology is still not stable and too costly and this has restricted the overall growth rate for electric cars. Probably by the year 2018, battery technology will have made great progress which will further see explosion of growth for electric vehicles where cost will no longer be prohibitive.