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New means of getting from A to B are disrupting carmaking

The Economist |  25 April 2021  |  Investment News

IN THE decades after the second world war carmakers were the undisputed champions of the personal-transport economy. Competition and economies of scale made cars affordable to millions of motorists in industrialised countries. In the 1980s and 1990s the likes of General Motors (GM) and Toyota boasted some of the world’s richest market capitalisations. When it came to getting around town, nothing beat the automobile.

Today the picture looks different. Of the five most valuable firms in the moving-people-around business only two, Toyota of Japan and Volkswagen of Germany, are established carmakers. Ahead of everyone by a country mile is Tesla, an American company that has disrupted the car industry by turning electric vehicles (EVS) from an unsightly curiosity (remember the G-wiz?) into a serious challenger to the internal combustion engine.

 

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