The Road Ahead: Ed Garsten’s Insights on the Evolving Automotive Industry

May 22nd, 2024 | by Angela Simoes, Communications Director | Posted in: Insight on Things

Recently, I had the pleasure of speaking with Ed Garsten, a veteran reporter with over 45 years of experience covering the automotive industry. Ed’s extensive career has spanned broadcast, print journalism, and social media. He has served as a CNN Correspondent and Bureau Chief, National Automotive Correspondent for the Associated Press, and an automotive writer for the Detroit News. Ed also led Fiat Chrysler’s Electronic Communications group from 2005 to 2016 and is now a Forbes contributor, an integrated media consultant at Franco PR, and the host of “Tales From the Beat.”

Ed Garsten visits the Mile Marker Podcast

Computers on Wheels

Ed highlighted the rapid evolution in the automotive industry, particularly over the past decade. He emphasized the exciting advancements in vehicle technology, noting that modern cars are essentially “computers on wheels.” Ed finds it thrilling to engage with young innovators from tech startups whose groundbreaking ideas are being adopted by major automakers. These innovations include advancements in chip technology, electronic control units, and cybersecurity, which are crucial for the safety and functionality of today’s vehicles.

Ed Garsten talks about the future of automotive

The Ongoing Impact of Tech on Automotive

We delved into the impact of technology beyond the automotive sector. Ed pointed out that features initially developed for cars, such as over-the-air updates, have broad applications. He mentioned a company focused on creating secure, standardized systems for these updates, ensuring that vehicles remain safe from hackers. Ed shared an anecdote about using GM’s Super Cruise system, marveling at how autonomous features like lane assist are transforming the driving experience.

The conversation also covered the changing landscape of vehicle ownership and consumer preferences. Ed noted the rise of subscription models and car-sharing services as automakers explore new revenue streams. He acknowledged the challenges in making these models widely successful but recognized their potential to offer flexibility and convenience to consumers.

On the topic of electric vehicles (EVs), Ed discussed the industry’s initial hype and subsequent reality check. He used GM’s example to illustrate the challenges of transitioning to an all-electric portfolio. Despite ambitious goals, the demand for affordable EVs like the Chevy Bolt remains strong. Ed stressed the importance of offering a range of EV options to cater to different market segments and highlighted the need for better consumer education on the benefits and realities of EV ownership.

We also touched on the infrastructure challenges associated with widespread EV adoption. While EV technology is advancing, Ed pointed out that the supporting infrastructure, such as charging stations, needs significant development. He emphasized the importance of honest communication with consumers about the practical aspects of EV ownership, including daily driving needs and long-distance travel considerations.

A Bright and Innovative Future

Ed expressed optimism about the future of automotive technology and consumer experiences. He believes that automakers and dealerships are learning from recent challenges and adapting to provide more streamlined, customer-friendly buying processes. This evolution, driven by necessity during the pandemic, is likely to improve the overall car-buying experience.

Ed Garsten’s insights shed light on the dynamic and rapidly changing automotive industry. His enthusiasm for the future of vehicle technology and consumer experiences was evident throughout our conversation. As we wrapped up, it was clear that the automotive world is on the brink of even more exciting developments, driven by innovation, adaptability, and a focus on enhancing the customer journey.

Watch or listen to my conversation with Ed on the Mile Marker Podcast.

Author:
Angela Simoes, Communications Director

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