So lots of things will change and some in a more dramatic way than others.
Over the past few decades, the tire industry has made a significant contribution to making individual mobility safer and more sustainable.
This type of innovation will take tire engineering to a different level and performance will be a major factor.
I do not think that the tire [will become] a commodity product. We will continue to improve our products without running into a type of maturity.
We will see more dedicated products for more dedicated solutions. So complexity will continue to increase.
Realising all of this in a sustainable way will become increasingly important.
Recycling, sustainability requirements on production processes will continue to increase. But that is something we are all used to.
What is new is that the tire, at the end of the day, is the only connection between the car and the road. So if the tire becomes a sensor for the car linked to the internet, you can imagine how much potential there will be to make mobility safer and more sustainable.
For example, if we would know what the road conditions are, the temperature, the condition of road surfaces, we can communicate them to the next cars following.
There are tonnes of opportunities from a safety and sustainability point of view.
So the tire will be more and more connected.
The dream of a global tire that can be sold all over the world will most probably not be the case.
We will have west European tires, east European tires, Middle East tires, African tires; tires for automated vehicles, electric vehicles etc.
The increasing importance of online channels is because of information availability, but also through increasing service requirements. We believe we will have more and more education at the point-of-sale and point-of-service.
But will these two points be at the same location in the future?
In the scenario of a ‘mega car city’, we will have service stations but probably the purchasing decision will not be done at the service station. This will drive some significant changes to the service depot.
The importance of fleets will increase. These fleets will be looking at total cost of ownership and this combined with the data from tire to car connectivity, for example on fuel economy, as we already see on the truck side, will spill over into PCR as well.
Total cost of ownership will become a much more decisive factor, particularly as these types of service providers will look not only for products they will look for a service solution as well.
Being able to provide problem-free mobility for their fleet will be decisive.
So, in essence, I believe the world is changing and maybe the changes will be more dramatic that anything we have seen in the past.
The tire will not be a commodity product, but will become an intelligent part of the overall system and offer lots of opportunities for us as an industry.