Acerta’s top 5 automotive influencers
We do our best to keep up with the automotive world at Acerta, but it can be difficult to keep track of all the trends and changes taking place—especially these days. That’s why we turn to the experts: people who’ve developed a knack for understanding an industry that employs nearly 10 million people and is worth more than half a trillion dollars in the US alone.
From leading researchers, to savvy writers, to digital strategists, these are the five automotive influencers you should be following.
Vice President of Industry, Labor & Economics at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), Kristin Dziczek has more than 25 years of experience working with automotive and manufacturing technology, first as Associate Director at the renowned Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center and then at CAR.
She is particularly well known for her expertise on automotive labor and employment, demonstrated by her insightful comments on the challenges of restarting the auto industry in Automotive News, the Automotive Logistics Podcast, and Axios, among others.
For more in-depth examples of Dziczek’s insights, check out her co-authored CAR publications “Contribution of General Motors to the Economies of Nine States and the United States in 2019” and “Automation Adoption & Implications for the Automotive Workforce”.
On a less philosophical note, check out his recounting of MotorTrend’s first impressions of the Tesla Cybertruck for a chuckle.
Attorney, former contributor to Forbes and founder of SafeSelfDrive.org, Jim McPherson has a very different perspective on the automotive industry from the others on our list, particularly on the subject of autonomous vehicles. McPherson has devoted considerable time and effort in recent years to advising public entities and private companies on the legislative, economic, and logistical impacts of AVs, and his insights continue to penetrate into the issues surrounding autonomy and safety.
Amidst Silicon Valley’s climate of eager anticipation regarding driverless cars and the future of mobility, McPherson offers a sobering take on the challenges, pitfalls and misperceptions of autonomous vehicles. He’s called out Elon Musk for dangerously overhyping Tesla’s Autopilot, admonished Uber for its lack of data transparency, and provided a clear definition of the often nebulous term: ‘micromobility’. Despite his more realistic viewpoint, McPherson is careful to emphasize that he is neither for or against autonomous vehicles per se, but rather focuses on advocating for strict safety standards and accountability.
It’s a sorely needed reminder in an industry that prides itself on moving fast and breaking things.
Although he’s been working in the industry for less time than the others on our list, Wayland has quickly built up an impressive resume: he covered Detroit businesses for the Michigan news site MLive, then became a beat reporter for FCA and co-hosted an automotive tech and trends podcast with Mike Martinez at The Detroit News called “Miked Up”. From there, he moved on to focus on General Motors and the UAW for Automotive News before taking up his current role at CNBC last year.
As an example of his work, Wayland’s recounting of a trip to the Ferrari production plant in Maranello, Italy paints a vivid picture of the company’s unique approach to manufacturing:
A strategist and thought leader on digital transformation both in Germany and abroad, Wilko Wolters is an associate partner at IBM iX, the tech giant’s digital consultancy. He was also a co-founder of d2twelve Strategy Consultants, and is currently managing partner/digital advisor to the board for mobilityheads, which focuses on digital strategy and consulting in the automotive industry. In addition, Wolters is a lecturer for the mechanical engineering department at the University of Applied Sciences Landshut.
A prolific social media user, Wolters’ knowledge and insight into the intersection of digitalization and automotive technology shine through in every post. From tweets about sustainability by making car parts from coffee beans, to videos of holographic windows on Beijing subways, to offering practical advice for business leaders, following him provides a clear and entertaining view into where the auto industry is headed.
There are many other automotive experts and leaders out there, but each of the people on this list brings something unique to an enormous and complicated industry.
Who are your favourites? Let us know on Twitter!
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