The $100 billion race to win the mobility game

A new report paints a clear picture of just how much money automakers, suppliers, tech companies and venture capital firms are spending to remake the auto industry.

According to McKinsey & Company, a whopping $111 billion has been invested in mobility start-ups and technologies since 2010. More than 60 of those transactions carried a price tag of at least $1 billion.

“We were a little surprised looking at the numbers,” said Matthias Kasser, a partner with McKinsey. “The business models for making money on these technologies are not yet clear, but the companies feel they have to make these investments.”

The report says more than half the money invested since 2010 has been focused on car-sharing and autonomous-drive solutions. Since 2014, $9.6 billion has been spent on technologies related to car-sharing.

Included in that figure is $500 million General Motors invested in Lyft to take a 10 percent stake in the ride-hailing company.

Lyft, as well as Uber, Didi Chuxing and Grab have all collected massive investments as they push to capture market share, especially in China and the United States.

“It’s a bit of a land grab right now,” said Kasser. “The ride-hailing companies still have to develop these markets even though it’s still not clear how big ride-hailing will become.”

The growth in ride-hailing is expected to accelerate over the next decade as automakers and tech companies develop self-driving cars and robo-taxis.

Waymo says in the near future its self-driving minivans will start giving paying customers rides in the Phoenix area. Meanwhile, General Motors, Uber, Delphi and other companies are also investing heavily to develop autonomous-drive vehicles.

In short, they are all racing to be ready for a changing world of mobility, even though industry veterans admit it’s impossible to know exactly when these investments will pay off.

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