Auto year 2020. Electrification and digitization.

The auto year 2020 will be tough. For the first time, the forecast upheavals in the industry will be felt by everyone. A challenge - and one thing is certain, nothing will stay as it was. From now on everything is subject to change. Digitization, electrification and what's next in Trollhättan? And what will happen to an aging Saab portfolio and the industry in general? An overview in two parts.

2020. The age of mobile digitization and electrification begins
2020. The age of mobile digitization and electrification begins

Climate Protection

Brussels is tightening the reins. The measures intended to protect the climate in a condensed form: Since January, the target of a maximum of 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer has applied to new cars in the EU. Manufacturers who do not comply can expect fines running into billions. A specification that, as always, comes with exceptions to the rule. 2020 is considered a year of transition, with subtleties. Manufacturers are allowed to simply cross out the “thirstiest” 2% of their vehicles in the CO5 calculation. In addition, the guideline is watered down with a weight component. Producers of traditionally heavy vehicles are on average allowed to sell less economical cars than those of small cars. In plain language, Daimler's new vehicle fleet may emit 2020 grams of CO102 in 2, but PSA's only 92 grams. There are also credits for special extras, such as LED light. They may be deducted with a maximum of 7 grams.

Electric cars are given a special status. Brussels assumes that they are completely climate neutral, even with a high proportion of coal in the German electricity mix. In the form of a "super-credit", every electric car sold in 2020 will be included twice in the calculations, in 2021 then by a factor of 1,6. Hybrids also play a part in achieving the climate goals. According to the law, they are assigned a high proportion of purely electric trips. This reduces their consumption to values ​​that have little to do with reality.

The climate protection goals have an impact on car dealerships and consumers. Because they have to see how they deal with it in reality.


The trade is under increased pressure. In the past, he wasn't spoiled by high yields. The manufacturers tighten the thumbscrews and swear their sales partners on the climate targets. In 2020, retailers will only generate the possible bonuses for a number of brands if they sell enough low-consumption vehicles. In practice, this will mean 3-cylinder instead of 4-cylinder or hybrid drive instead of combustion engine for the customer. Maybe a new electric car if he has the financial means to do so.

In parallel, we will see a strong thinning out of the variety of models in 2020. Small cars and less popular variants are disappearing, and with it the inexpensive option of a new car. In addition, several importers raised their prices in autumn 2019 in anticipation of the upcoming penalties.

For some brands, the margin system has also been rearranged behind the scenes. Less discount for sales partners, which will increase the economic pressure even more. Against the background of an expected decline in new registrations, there is no optimistic outlook for many companies that are unlikely to survive the faults in the medium term. This is accompanied by digitization and with it new sales channels beyond traditional structures.


Everyone is talking about electrification. Digitization is more important. In the future, it should bring completely new revenues, in addition to the hardware business, which will lose its importance. The “user experience”, the mobility experience, was shaped by software in the 20s. Assistance systems take the strain off the driver, and semi-autonomous gliding becomes standard. The automobile is developing into a rolling smart home that is permanently streaming and online. The customer should use the time gained to improve productivity - in theory. In practice, the majority will stream something or play online while the car is driving autonomously.

The German providers are frighteningly naive about this development. For them, digitalization appears to be like selling a Golf C in the 80s. Ashtray and Radio Alpha cost extra, rear window wiper is not. Yes, and floor mats are expensive.

Translated into the present, this means that one would like to sell digitization in the smallest bites. As if you had to pay extra for every font in a word processor and the possibility of writing on more than one screen page. Until recently, BMW tried in all seriousness to charge subscription fees for the Apple Car Play connection. Failed, of course. Nonetheless, the digital small business goes on. For 5 digital keys you expect to collect € 80,00 per year, and otherwise the ConnectedDrive Store dominated by annoying little things.

It's terrifying for 2020, that's not how software works. One can only hope for a steep learning curve for German industry. Tesla demonstrates how to do it. In the United States, premium services cost $ 9,90 per month. This means that all services and all updates are integrated in one flat rate. The customer is happy.


The average consumer will be far from happy in the 2020 car year. Higher prices and limited choice, not a good start. In the price-sensitive segment in particular, the customer will feel the effects. The dream of a new car is then postponed or perhaps remains a dream forever. How consumers will react is the billion euro question. You face the great unknown in the game. Are you ready for electric mobility?

Nobody has a valid answer.

In order to whet their appetite, the topic of electric cars is generously subsidized. In China this failed and the subsidies are reduced to zero. How ever China is the New Year's surprise package.

Tomorrow, in the next part, it's about a surprising China, old cars and their future. And about Trollhättan.

14 thoughts on "Auto year 2020. Electrification and digitization."

  • "And hopefully there will be enough software updates for decades to come".

    Like Google does now ......
    You may find that as development becomes more expensive, manufacturers discontinue 'updates' making for older vehicles
    un-roadworthy, and with no value …….

  • complexity

    Credits for LED, degressive “Super-Credits” and infinitely more. Who can think of another adjustment screw?

    It seems to me that political operations as a whole, i.e. across all departments, party and national borders, have entered into an overbidding competition of complexity.

    And in the midst of these elite super brains, no one dares to speak in the name of simplification. The spot of the entire commission would be certain for him or her.
    No, in this circle you can and may only throw further set screws into the round. The more and smaller the better.

    Vanity rules.

  • The problem with digitization is also the lack of user-friendliness. Digital displays, but I still can't put everything together the way I would like. I don't see any pioneering advantages. Many functions are hidden somewhere on the menu level; neither fast nor intuitive to use. Instead of simply activating the seat heating with a button, I now have to press something three times on a touchpad. And it will take a long time. During the journey it has become extremely unsafe to operate anything in this way. Voice control is also annoying because you have to know the commands exactly. With 200 of those that are seldom used, it seldom succeeds. So search in the menus. If there are still buttons, there are too many and they are tiny. Or there aren't any more. Rotary knobs are super practical, but completely out. Just because it's digital and new doesn't mean it is better - that's why I prefer driving my Saab to the modern company car. Functionality and practicality are victims of the digital equipment of the vehicles - and most of these cars will never see an H license plate, because the electronic frippery will probably go the wrong way until the time comes. Will there still be spare parts?

  • $$$ - signs in the eyes

    That's roughly what I meant. You can no longer talk about automobility without immediately ending up with local politics (Lizi) or national finances (Axel Valentiner = Branth) or even global trade in CO2 certificates or international agreements on climate protection ...

    All these commandments, bans, fees, subsidies, sanctions, speculation and fiscal revenues can be grouped under the category “incentive to consume” for many years.

    Is it serious about the environment? Can you consume them healthily?

    Politics and business seem to be convinced that it is exactly this way and not different. Fine dust stickers and driving ban zones, scrapping premiums & Co all point in the direction that as many new cars as possible would make a significant contribution to environmental protection. There have also been purchase incentives for new refrigerators and vacuum cleaners have never been as energy efficient as they are today ...

    It's just stupid that the suction power doesn't play a role. A simpleton who thinks of the suction power of an efficient vacuum cleaner. It doesn't matter that you vacuum twice as long with reduced power and in the end you need a lot of time and 1,5 times the amount of electricity. Get rid of your good old Nilfisk. Pack it in the back of the Saab, pack the fridge and leave the Saab in the junkyard ...

    Buy everything new tomorrow. A new car, a new vacuum cleaner and a new refrigerator. And if you then also pack your house 40 cm thick in Styrofoam, then you have almost saved the world. The only thing missing is the new, state-funded oil heating system, the ban on which, however, has long been discussed in parallel with the promotion ...

    Speaking of heating, my (wooden) house is young, energy efficient and the insulation materials are organic. I don't need styrofoam. But I need a little gas. And the heating system easily cost as much as a new car in the upper middle class. Why and for what? ? ?

    A couple of electric radiators from the hardware store would have done the same. Oh yes, I forgot that 4 to 5 years ago electricity was not considered environmentally friendly and is still expensive ...

    So please let me see my lack of foresight and foresight. After all, politicians have not yet come up with the idea that electricity can also be used for heating and construction costs can be significantly reduced. Cost reduction?

    Yes, cost reduction. Devil stuff. That's why electricity has to be on the road. Only there does it need a completely new infrastructure and battery capacity, and only there does it contribute to economic growth. A Beelzebub, who thinks about obvious and simple alternatives ...

    The current “environmental protection” seems to me to be a final boom of the imagination of limitless growth. There are endless incentives to buy and to consume more than ever before. And never before have these incentives been so closely linked to the environment and even the survival of humanity. Pure cynicism ...

    Since you can no longer buy a new Saab, every Saab driver is automatically a refusal to consume.
    I think that's a really good answer.

  • Thank you, that sums it up pretty much.

  • Again written too fast….
    It should read "... a complaint to the EU ..." and "... double-digit growth ..." ...

    The Lizi

  • And the senseless consumer madness just goes on regardless of losses…. . But I would also like to congratulate the lobbyists of the German auto industry !!!! Higher emissions for the producers of fuel drinkers should be recognized. And in fact there is absolutely no reason to build small, economical, and inexpensive cars. Image and margins are missing…. And as the previous speaker aptly remarked, electric car buyers also sponsor the party …….
    The city of Barcelona has also come up with something great for climate protection.
    A license plate detection system was set up that records all vehicles entering the city. All diesel engines built before 2000 and petrol engines built before 2006 are no longer allowed into the city area between 07 a.m. and 20 p.m. on weekdays. Unless the vehicle has been registered on a specially created website. Then it is possible to acquire a special permit on 10 individual days for a fee of 2 euros per day.
    All foreign vehicles also have to endure this procedure - it takes about 2 weeks - and exactly the same conditions. The only difference is that registration is free for Spanish cars. Foreigners can pay 5 euros for this. Does the reader ring the bell…. ???
    I am already working on a complaint with my lawyer …….

    Just by the way…. Two-part growth in flight movements and cruises in Barcelona is expected in 2020. The first thunder over the city when they take off and charge. The port couldn't be more central.

    Greetings to the community.

    I'm now taking a lap with one of the polluted Saabe….

    The Lizi.


    Have we and have ever agreed on the plural of Saab ????

  • Did you do the math? 95 g CO2 are allowed, over € 100, - penalty per gram per car.
    So € 1.000 fine for those who sell a car with 105 g CO2.
    For 20 cars with 105 g CO2 sold, a penalty of € 20.000.
    Then sell an electric car with 0 g CO2, which is counted twice.
    And save about € 20.000 penalty.
    Thus, each electric car is not only subsidized by the state purchase premium, but also with an additional € 20.000.
    (Works the same way at 105 g allowed and actually 170 g. 3 selling 170 g cars cost € 19.500 penalty. Then sell a double counted 0 g E car and save the penalty).
    So if VW sells an E-UP for € 20.000 including VAT, they will save another € 20.000 (“plus VAT”) on fines for other cars.
    And Tesla, for example, forms a pool with FiatChrysler, so that every Tesla sold saves FiatChrysler people high penalties.
    A subsidy that is higher than the actual selling price is a brutal market intervention.

  • The buyer will decide which drive technology will prevail. The big hanging of digitization annoys me. I want to go by car. At most I want to be supported while driving, but not incapacitated. Ultimately, this only serves for limitless monitoring and maximum influence through constant “sound” of people.
    Simply disgusting.

  • universal

    Unfortunately, today you can hardly write anything about automobility without also addressing all possible areas of life ...

    Electrification and digitization as well as obsolescence are powerful bridges in every direction and on all possible topics.

    Keyword “digitization” (to take just one thing):
    It is a favorite topic of media and politics. From elementary school to hospice. There have long been a multitude of scientific studies that have proven analog learning to be more efficient and analog dying to be more humane ...

    Neuroscientists make the spatial orientation in analog and print media responsible for measurable superiority, for example when learning, and for a deeper understanding of texts and contexts ...

    A more recent confession of the blogger fits in well. Those who still like to pick up analog newspapers have a clear advantage and have a better overview ...

  • The punishment will come. First for combustion engines, later for hybrids. And if synthetic fuels are available, the electric car will be hit. Always the same game, diesel drivers have noticed several times how values ​​were destroyed.

  • Fuel cell or CO2-neutral fuels are apparently a foreign word for most vehicle manufacturers.
    Hopefully the whole digitization works for a lifetime and hopefully there will be enough software updates for decades to come.
    As long as it is not certain which drive concept will prevail, I will drive classic cars.
    I'm not going to buy a new car for tens of thousands of euros, which may soon be out of date technologically.

  • And the next step is the massive punishment of owners of older vehicles.

    We have known the truck here in Switzerland for years (–reisedokument–strassenabgaben/schwerverkehrsabgaben–lsva-und-psva-/lsva—allgemeines—tarife.html).

    In the Swiss federal administration, 'thinking papers' have been haunted for two years to introduce this type of punishment across the board for passenger cars as well.

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