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The Asymco Trilogy with Horace Dediu Part 3 – The Asian Cars Edition – Analyse Asia with Bernard Leong

In the last and final part of the trilogy, Horace discussed the Japanese automotive industry, and provided interesting insights into how Japanese car culture contrasts against the European and US counterparts. Using the innovator’s stopwatch framework, Horace explained the challenges on how Tesla, Google, Uber and Amazon could disrupt the car industry, and provide some thoughts on what approach Apple might take on creating the car if they are doing it

Source: Episode 33: The Asymco Trilogy with Horace Dediu Part 3 – The Asian Cars Edition – Analyse Asia with Bernard Leong

  • Sacto_Joe

    At one point you refer to the existing U.S. car market, and you say that the auto industry, through an infusion of new technology, could go through a new disruption, but the incumbents are not allowed to fail, as by the existence of regulation that the potential disruptor needs to fight through, thus excluding new technology. You go on to say that if you don’t allow failure, you don’t allow entry.

  • Sacto_Joe

    Second point in interview: Speaking of Google, Horace infers that they are interested in a transportation system rather than selling a car brand. He argues that that’s what most people want; just transportation. Of course, it needs to be reliable, and it needs to be there when you need it. And it needs to be cost-effective. If it can be all three, then people won’t care about the brand.

    It’s kind of like the taxi or uber idea taken to the ultimate. And it makes sense, if it can in fact do all three things. Most cars just sit in the driveway or garage most of the time. Lose the car, and your driveway or garage can be used for other things. Of course, you also become entirely dependent on an outside entity. Over time, for example, what’s to stop that entity from raising their price, when you’re entirely dependent on them? Or how trustworthy is their maintenance? Things like that.

    It’s that feeling of independence one gets as the owner of a car that I think argues against a complete acceptance of this idea, at least in the U.S.

  • DesDizzy

    Horace, listened to this podcast for the first time and found it interesting. A few points.

    Regarding the “nostalgia” that you mentioned in the European car industry. I think you will find that “history” has a value in the luxury goods market, irrespective of sectors, and when consumers pay far more for a product than its intrinsic value, this is part of what they are buying. However, that being said, technically, the premium automotive sector in Europe, by any objective measure, is the most advance technologically on the planet, from; Audi to McLaren, to Porche to Range Rover.

    Secondly, I agree that Lamborghini design has adopted a “brutalist” approach over the last couple of decades, and Ferrari have recently chosen to follow suite. Could this be due to the demise of the great Italian design houses like Ital Design, Pininfarina etc

    Thirdly, following on from the design point, why are the majority of US designed cars, which do not have a “historical” flavour, so unremittingly ugly?

    • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

      You cite technological leadership but in service of what? What is the value of improvements which cannot be absorbed?

      • DesDizzy

        Not sure what you mean by cannot be absorbed. Formula 1 pioneered carbon fibre, which has been “absorbed” by high performance cars and aircraft. The same thing has happened with telemetry and regenerative braking etc etc. Not sure how closely you have followed formula 1 over the past 30 years or so….

      • http://www.asymco.com Horace Dediu

        I’m referring to the notion of over-service. Improvements in products beyond the point where mainstream users can make use of the improvement. The test for over-service is to ask two questions: 1. Do new features get used
        2. Do new features get rewarded with higher pricing

        In other words an innovation over-serves if it cannot find users and can’t find buyers.
        (I do follow formula one and have been speaking with technical directors and designers in the industry.)

  • Mo

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