GM targeted 2035 for going all electric. Ford said the same for 2030 but only in Europe.
Now Volvo tells us that it will sell battery only cars by 2030. To buy one, we have to go online where price is non-negotiable. As for the dealers, they say that the sales, service, and delivery process will still involve them. But I wonder.
Thinking of the no-longer-needed jobs in the auto industry, we can imagine huge changes.
Auto Industry Jobs
We can start with U.S. car dealerships and parts sellers. They total a whopping 118,000 establishments:
The industry currently employs between 1,8 and 2 million individuals. While Bloomberg titled the graph “Back on Track,” I suspect the number of jobs will plunge (again) by the end of the decade:
More precisely, the individuals who could lose their jobs include salespeople, mechanics, and cleaners:
Our Bottom Line: Creative Destruction
We can expect massive upheaval in the auto industry as cars go electric. With most auto industry jobs targeting gasoline powered vehicles, the EV’s entry and subsequent dominance will make all previous tasks obsolete. Economist Joseph Schumpeter (1883-1950) called the phenomenon creative destruction.
Joseph Schumpeter explained that capitalism marches forward when new industries replace old ones. A painful process because of the pain it causes for workers and firms, creative destruction propels growth and progress. It embodies the structural change that unfolded when computers replaced typewriters and autos eliminated the horse and buggy. Similarly, it will transform auto industry jobs and activities. Impacting physical and human capital, tools, equipment, and buildings as well as knowledge will change.
Our title says we have a mystery. The mystery is when, if, and how we diminish the pain of disappearing auto industry jobs.
My sources and more: My Bloomberg Green newsletter grabbed my attention through its look at auto industry job destruction. Meanwhile, Bloomberg had more of the Volvo facts and Techcrunch told about Ford and GM. And finally, at econlife, we’ve looked at electric vehicles, here and here.