Monday, 15 april 2019 | Redacción CEU
The fact that Xiaomi bets on the automobile market seems to confirm something that is not new, but it is very significant: technological brands want to have a determining role in the future of the motor world. With this adventure, the Chinese giant of smartphones joins the interest of other major firms such as Apple or Google, and does so with a car that is not completely new. Why has the brand decided to land on the automotive industry with a well-known vehicle? Why did the firm come to the conclusion that betting on this sector is a good idea?
The Asian brand, which is dedicated mainly to the design, development and sale of smartphones, announced a few days ago the future launch of its own car on Weibo, a popular social platform in China. Since then, few details have been known about its first car. What has been mentioned is that it will be an SUV based on the already known Betsune T77, and that it will be launched into the market under the Redmi logo. The specialists also agree on what the price could be. It may cost a little less than 12,000 euros, being able to reach the figure of 18,000 euros depending on the different levels of vehicle equipment. Of course, although this is the starting price, the amount might vary in relation to what the final Xiaomi's design will look like.
The giant of the mobile world will carry out important modifications in the Betsune T77. This fact does not mean that it is not possible to get some idea of what this vehicle may be like, especially if we take into account the particular characteristics of the model that was presented at the last Motor Show of Beijing: a five-seater SUV with a 142 hp gasoline engine, a six-speed manual gearbox, a weight of 1.455 kilograms, and with dimensions of 4.5 meters in length, 1.8 meters in width and 1.6 meters of height.
The firm will also make some changes in the aesthetic design of the vehicle. Logically, Xiaomi wants its car to be identifiable and different. Nonetheless, it is in the integrated technology of the car where the firm is expected to work most strongly. The fourth global mobile phone manufacturer may use the MIUI operating system, and might place special emphasis on onboard entertainment and connectivity. In fact, some voices suggest that the final design of this vehicle could include a virtual holographic assistant.
Xiaomi is a giant cellphone brand, but it is also a very versatile firm. Among some of the products that it sells, there are sneakers, glasses, suitcases, light bulbs, vacuum cleaners and electric scooters. However, its commitment to the automotive world is not due to a simple or unforeseen reasoning. The relationship between technology brands and car companies is increasingly narrow. The rules of the game in the motor world are no longer the same.
This is precisely one of the sectors where consumers have higher expectations: driverless driving, optimization of on-board entertainment, integration of new technologies, etc. The industry, which is aware of the need for change, has set futuristic horizons, and now to make them come true, it must invest strongly in innovation and technology. Everything suggest that Xiaomi does not want to miss out on this opportunity and expects to live this transformation of the industry in first person.
According to the report EASCY: The five trends transforming the automotive industry carried out by PwC, the car of the future will be electric, autonomous, shared, connected and annually updated. All of them are working lines on which the industry is currently focused. In particular, among all these areas, connectivity is the dimension in which Xiaomi may be more interested due to its trajectory in mobile technology. In this sense, it is essential to keep in mind that cars will not only offer occupants the opportunity to connect to the outside world, they will also be connected to other vehicles and connected to transport networks and infrastructures. It is a whole world to explore.
However, on this front the Chinese firm is not alone. Major automotive brands such as BMW, Ford or Volkswagen and technology companies such as Samsung and Qualcomm are working on the design and development of projects on connectivity: facial recognition for the detection of symptoms like fatigue, augmented reality for the improvement of driving, driving assistants by voice, V2V technology, rear mirrors and digital license plates, smart cities and roads, purchases which are made on the way, "trunk deliveries", digital diagnostics of cars, etc.
The PwC study also points out that in 2030 in Europe and the United States about 70% of cars will be connected. It even maintains that 100% of vehicles in China will have total connectivity that year. Knowing this fact, no one can be caught by surprise with Xiaomi's decision to embark on this adventure. On the other hand, its choose of an already developed model as its first car is not strange, since the firm will be much more interested in the development of the technological aspects that in the traditional automotive ones.
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