Cybersecurity

Manufacturers in the auto industry continued to face challenges and find opportunities related to cybersecurity in 2015, and those trends are expected to intensify in 2016. New laws and new threats (discussed in more detail here and here) have either incentivized or required manufacturers to evaluate their cybersecurity strengths and weaknesses, then capitalize on the former and work to eliminate the latter. In light of the rapid evolution of cybersecurity technology and threats, auto industry members can expect to devote, or continue to devote, significant resources to cybersecurity issues in 2016.

Disruptive Technology/Internet of Things

Smart products, big data, and analytics are not just for tech companies anymore. Many auto industry members are now constantly looking for ways to leverage these tools to improve their process, their products, and their customers’ satisfaction, and those who aren’t may be falling behind.  In an increasingly connected world, automotive companies need to keep pace and ensure that their products not only stay relevant, but push the envelope whenever possible.  Potential regulation of the open Internet (discussed here) only complicates matters, and gives automotive manufacturers more reason to carefully watch this trend in 2016.

Regulatory Developments in China

In 2015, manufacturers saw dramatic changes in China’s regulatory landscape (discussed in more detail here, here, and here), including new restrictions on hazardous substances for electronics manufacturers (which restrictions were finalized in early 2016, as discussed here), data-flow and content restrictions, and currency devaluations that significantly complicated the international trade landscape. Additional changes are surely coming in 2016, with new implementing measures for defective auto product recalls and a more aggressive climate policy being only some of the changes to watch. Auto industry members currently operating or selling products in China or looking to expand there in 2016 should pay close attention to these and other developments.