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A Discontinued Classy Vehicle, A New Electric Car, and Two British Visionaries
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By: Teri Bernstein

 

 Dyson and electric car; Bloomberg

Two wealthy Britons have recently announced separate visions for introducing new cars:

 

  • James Dyson, an inventor of high-end and efficient vacuum cleaners and hair dryers, now has 400 people working on a new electric car.
  • Jim Ratcliffe, a petrochemical executive and billionaire, plans to build a "spiritual successor" to the Jaguar Land Rover Defender, a classic safari vehicle.

Maybe each of them should talk to Elon Musk first. Developing, manufacturing, distributing and selling automobiles is a major undertaking. The capital investment, changing technologies, and fickle consumers contribute to challenges at all levels of the process. Nevertheless, to some observers, the car manufacturing industry is at a pivotal point of change. “There is a lot of fluidity in the entire industry space, which is what these players see,” said Peter Wells, a business professor at Cardiff Business School in Wales.

 

While Ratcliffe is eyeing the marketing niche created when Jaguar Land Rover decided to no longer manufacture its iconic car, Dyson brings a lot of development and manufacturing experience to this venture. Dyson envisions spending £1 billion on the car and another £1 billion on the battery, which may not be enough (Musk has spent over £6 billion on the Tesla Model 3). In any event, Dyson has already bought Sakti3, a company whose work on solid state batteries may give him an edge. 

 

I doubt that either car will be in my price range, but I am curious about what will develop. 

 

Source: "An electric car and a throwback: the dreams of 2 rich Britons," by Stanley Reed and Amy Tsang, New York Times, October 12, 2017.

 

Discussion

  • Which of these two Britons has a better chance of fulfilling his dream? Give specifics about why to back up your opinion. Cite analysts in the article.
  • You be the visionary. What products would you like to develop or see developed, if you had a few billion to invest?