Auto Trends in 2021

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Hi Taylor: Any interesting trends in the auto industry for the coming year? Feels like after the slump that was 2020, we should be in line for some interesting things. - Arnold

Hey Arnold: You and I have a mutual interest. I’m always car shopping with my eyes, and also mindful of what direction investment strategies might be going. Don’t cash in on my thoughts too quickly, but here are some things that have caught my eye.

1. Electric trucks. It looks like a handful of companies have figured out how to merge eco-friendly and payload capacity. Ford, Rivian, Lordstown Motors and other manufacturers have announced models that seem to satisfy truck enthusiasts. I’m sure there are still plenty of kinks to work out, but my gut tells me it won’t be long before we see the roads filling up with big, powerful hybrid vehicles. I’m especially interested to see which companies bring these new models into their fleets, as that will be a good way to gauge how soon the general public will get on board. 

2. Online shopping. Naturally, the pandemic slowed down visits to used car lots. As things get back to normal that trend will level out, but this also seems like a service that will only get more popular now that it’s thoroughly entered the mainstream. There will still be all the sales tactics and lot perusing for traditionalists, but the number of online sales will continue to rise as dealerships and third-party sellers make that option more available. Depending on how steadily online sales rise, I wouldn’t be surprised if more dealerships start offering home delivery on vehicles above a certain price point. At that point, we can expect other tech and gig services to start getting involved as well. 

3. More of the same. I’m excited about the above trends and other new releases, but I’m not blind to the fact that the auto industry looks relatively similar to how it has in years past. Sedans are getting sleeker, electric cars and hybrids are more accessible, SUVs keep adding bells and whistles and cargo space. The global shift toward cleaner energy will continue pushing the needle for car manufacturers, but we haven’t reached any sort of tipping point yet. We’ll check in again next year to see if 2021 was the year everything flipped. 

The car industry won’t ever leave us—it’ll just keep adapting as consumers’ needs evolve. It’s exciting and challenging for us investors to keep up, but definitely worth the effort. Happy New Year!