A fly­ing start

Motor Equipment News - - CONTENTS -

Well, we’ve started the new year, and that on the back of a record year for the mo­tor im­porters, both new and used. Cer­tainly bet­ter than I fore­cast at the be­gin­ning of last year – for which I’m grate­ful – but per­haps I’m be­ing given a sign that it’s time to put my crys­tal ball back into the cup­board.

It is hard to work out what the mar­ket is go­ing to do this year, with no signs of any abate­ment in ve­hi­cle sales, with the ex­cep­tion of the heavy in­dus­try.

This lat­ter seg­ment is nor­mally a good in­di­ca­tor of eco­nomic progress, but since it was skewed up­wards some­what by com­pa­nies buy­ing up to deal with the Christchurch earth­quake dam­age, an eas­ing back is to be both ex­pected and ac­cept­able.

One area where I’m stymied for this year is the growth of pure elec­tric ve­hi­cles. There has been some move­ment in this area, and more im­porters are bring­ing the ve­hi­cles in, but without some sort of mean­ing­ful gov­ern­ment in­cen­tive growth is likely to be slow as the to­tal cost of own­er­ship fig­ures don’t re­ally make sense even with low run­ning costs, thanks to the high ini­tial pur­chase price of the ve­hi­cles.

How­ever, these will no doubt come down as de­mand in­creases, and the good news is that there’s con­stant growth in the road­side charg­ing in­fra­struc­ture to as­sure peo­ple they’re go­ing to be able to get to their des­ti­na­tion!

Two other things to think about. On au­ton­o­mous cars: although mas­sive ad­vances have been made, I be­lieve it will be a while be­fore a com­puter can re­li­ably repli­cate all the myr­iad de­ci­sions a hu­man makes while driv­ing a car, and the ve­hi­cle can be al­lowed to have com­plete con­trol.

Global warm­ing? While I be­lieve in cli­mate change, there are too many peo­ple, of­ten quite un­savoury char­ac­ters, jump­ing on the band­wagon for me to get to grips with it.

Fact is, no-one can pre­dict the fu­ture, and com­puter mod­el­ling is only as good as the data that’s be­ing fed in. If you look at dire pre­dic­tions made 10 to 15 years ago, well, none of them have hap­pened, lead­ing me to be­lieve we need a lot more in­for­ma­tion be­fore we can work out what MIGHT hap­pen.

And that’s what makes the fu­ture look a lot brighter than the doom and gloom mer­chants would have us be­lieve.

Happy New Year!

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