I would like to introduce you to some friends of mine. One is named George Jetson. George works for Spacely Sprockets and his wife is Jane. He has two children, a daughter, Judy, and a boy, Elroy. They live in a space-age home that has every modern convenience you can think of. They have a computer that talks and does everything needed to run the house. They even have a robot vacuum that moves about the house and a refrigerator that dispenses food and drinks. George’s vehicle is a neat job with a big bubble for a top. Yes, The Jetsons appear to have it all. And to think this was all dreamt up in the early 1960s for TV!
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say, “Wow, just like on The Jetsons — it is a reality.” Yes it is true, many of the things that seemed crazy on that show have become a reality, most of them in the past 20 or so years. But wait, this is 2016. It’s been more than 40 years since those things were created for TV. Elroy is more than 50 years old and George is pushing 80, at least.
I have been to many very informative meetings lately. I have heard many very bright people talk about what is in store for our business and all the changes that are on the way. We are going to have more data from telematics than we will know what to do with. Our parts are going to be delivered direct from the assembly line via drone. Cars will drive themselves and self-diagnose their problems. All made capable by our friends, the computers. I don’t know about you, but this is all sounding a lot like another computer named HAL. As I remember it, he did not end up being such a great guy in the end. But, that’s another 60s movie.
I guess my point is, yes, we will experience change. It is the one constant in this world. Yes, it will accelerate. Yes, the above technologies will eventually be upon us, and our industry will accept and adapt to them. My question is when. It took George’s world 40-plus years to get to us. In the meantime, what do we do?
The way I see it, we make parts, distribute them the way we do today and keep the 240 million vehicles out there on the road. It’s what we do! People design cars. It still takes us to build them. We still diagnose them and repair them. People get us the parts and bring them to us. If we get all tangled up in what may happen and when, this country will grind to a halt.
In the meantime, let’s do this.