The article Nissan aims to recast image with high-tech electric cars by Joseph White guides its readers through recent developments in manufacturing of electric vehicles. The author evaluates the situation of electric car market today and tries to understand why sales of electric nature-friendly innovation do not grow as fast as it was forecasted. Marketing analysis suggests that long-term returns on investment into the car industry of the future will be high, but current preferences for high-powered fuel vehicles are not changing fast enough. However, the central question of the article is whether car industry is capable of building and mass marketing electric vehicles that customers will want to purchase and prefer over gasoline-fueled cars.
Future Car Industry Technologies in Today’s World
It seems that the switchover to mass production and marketing of electric vehicles depends on a customer’s demand more than on car industry capabilities. This far, demand is nowhere near the optimistic forecasts about above million sales of electric vehicles. Somehow, customers are not as enthusiastic as manufacturers about the innovation. The change of customers’ behavior is so dramatic that industry does not count on today’s middle age and older population to let go of habits of driving gasoline-fueled cars and holding onto the steering wheel. Older generation is not so keen on partaking of and embracing “Tesla-mania”. This phenomenon describes attraction of some of the investors, scientists and visionaries of the future for non-gasoline powered vehicles. It comes from Tesla, brilliant scientist who experimented with electricity, and from Tesla Motors, Evon Musk’s car company devoted to the development of competitive electric cars. Supporters of electric cars claim that only younger generation can appreciate with an open mind the possibility of riding in the car that drives itself and be free for connecting with the outside world in the meantime. It takes different outlook on life to be able to utilize such innovation. Consequently, the future of electric cars is in hands of those who are now twenty to thirty years old. Auto makers can build the bridge from today’s clientele to tomorrow technology by offering meaningful value that gasoline-fueled cars cannot provide and that enhances life of the customer today, not in ten years. Relevant theories of consumer’s behavior should be employed, and marketing strategies developed to identify what makes the customer want to buy an electric car. Supporters of electric cars should launch aggressive marketing campaign to increase sales. Otherwise, gasoline related routine and inertia will dictate the state of the market. Clearly, future is in electric cars. It is for a reason that Tesla Motors costs more than FIAT and Peugeot-Citroen put together.
Nissan is an example of a company that invested a lot into electric cars development. However, its image has not changed much due to increased focus on electric cars. The impact of its involvement with innovation was relatively small because of high prices and low sales. Additionally, Nissan’s Leaf model was not a very successful venture. It is a rather plain practical car without charisma, sexy or sporty look and not too fast and high powered. It does not provide much of an image, does not cause envy and does not contribute to owner’s sense of superiority. Thus, Leaf does not bring psychological satisfaction that customer who purchases a new car experiences. Perhaps, connected vehicle technology should be emphasized to potential buyers since this will interest many customers.
Marketing analysis suggests that long-term returns on investment into the car industry of the future will be high, but current preferences for high-powered fuel vehicles are not changing fast enough. However, the electric car industry attracts large investments and has capabilities that allow building and mass marketing of inexpensive, fast and high powered electric vehicles that customers will want to purchase and prefer over gasoline-fueled cars.