Auto industry could benefit from changes
Could Louisiana be home to an auto industry plant? Dennis Cuneo, a former senior vice president with Toyota Motor North America, seems to think so.
The Advocate reported Cuneo saying more than 100 firms in Silicon Valley that work on cars are seeking “places to produce components.” During a Baton Rouge Rotary Club meeting last month, he said Louisiana should consider working with those firms.
One issue with changing technology involves self-driving vehicles and the potential for cybersecurity problems. In fact, 10,000 General Motors employees are addressing the issue at plants in several states, including Texas and Georgia.
Meanwhile, tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump are pushing for more American car manufacturers to build here. But countries outside the U.S. want to bring in more eco-friendly electric vehicles. The United Kingdom and France want to prohibit gas or diesel-powered engines within the next 22 years.
Despite Trump’s tariff, some states are looking to bring in more electric vehicles to protect the environment. Ten states are requiring just over 15 percent of new vehicles to be electric by 2025.
Trying to figure out how many electric cars will be on the road in the next 15 to 20 years is anyone’s guess.
Cuneo said more self-driving cars could be produced because of an emphasis on making roadways safer. Industry officials have said the number of yearly deaths from car crashes could drop to less than 5,000. Currently, automobile accidents claim 35,000 lives annually.
These changes to the auto industry, especially on the technology side, are sure to cause major waves. Not only could it affect the manufacturers, but things like self-driving cars could impact repair shops, emergency responders and cab and truck drivers.
The evolution of the automobile appears to simply be a matter of when. If Louisiana’s business leaders choose not to get involved, our economy could lose out on a big project.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Crystal Stevenson, John Guidroz, retired editor Jim Beam and retired staff writer Mike Jones.