On first blush the auto industry might seem staid – cars have been bought and sold for the same way for a hundred years. People go into a dealership, find a car they want, negotiate and buy. But, right now, I think the auto industry is a microcosm of the US and Global Economy, dealing with issues of US manufacturing prowess, venture capital, Web 2.o, green technology, and global politics.
India and China continue to develop their car markets, regularly toying with the idea of importing cars into the US. High gas prices, global warming, and geopolitics are forcing manufacturers to look to alternative fuels and energy, and venture capitalists are getting on board, too. The Tesla Roadster, an all electric vehicle, and the hydrogen powered BMW 7 series are just two examples of manufacturer innovations.
Finally, the full glory of Web 2.0 seems to have hit car sales. Dealers are increasingly using blogs, embedded videos, social networks, and any manner of widgets. These widgets are helping dealers reach out to consumers in new ways.
It’s an exciting time to watch the car industry, in the near future I’ll profile new companies in the auto industry.