Horace Dediu and Jim Zellmer discuss the politics, processes and possibilities of cars in light of: 1. Young people deferring drivers licenses. 2. The growth of car sharing. 3. Practical alternative power trains. 4. Urbanization. 5. Increased Congestion. 6. Driverless cars. 7. Rise of the "App Economy".

Hosted by Horace Dediu and Jim Zellmer.

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11: The Thin Red Line

March 14, 2014 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 2 minutes • Wiki Entry

We explore the strategic and tactical considerations behind BMW’s i sub-brand. Why did BMW attach a new BMW sub-brand to a new powertrain rather than using another brand, like Mini? The answer helps explain how innovations and brands inter-relate and how incumbents can attempt to absorb what is potentially non-sustaining. We consider the pros and cons of innovation within an operating business – “intrepreneurship” – compared with creating an autonomous enterprise for the “new new thing”. Horace contrasts BMW i with General Motors’ failed Saturn experiment and notes that today, GM offers a mainstream plug-in car through the long serving Chevrolet brand and sales channel. We consider the burden that regulation, girth, cycle times, legacy practices, financialization and strategy taxes place on incumbents. Finally, we look at what it takes to cross over the line which separates the device-based nice-to-have infotainment options from the must-have driver and ownership assistants that will inevitably find home in these devices.