In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, stocking frames, spinning frames and power looms began to replace hand weavers in the textile industry in England. This coincided with harsh economic conditions triggered by the Napoleonic Wars.
The hand weavers watched their livelihoods being swept away on a tide of technology-based automation as inflation and redundancy combined to drive misery into many households. Their response was to smash the machines and they became known as Luddites – a word that has entered our language as a synonym for fear of technology.
I was drawn to reflect on how little things have changed when I read of the plan by Victorian taxi owners to cause widespread customer disruption in Melbourne on Grand Final Day as a protest against the Victorian government’s legalisation of Uber’s ride sharing and on-demand hire car services
These modern day Luddities are trying to smash an idea.
Frankly, technology always wins these skimishes. Within a generation, the hand weaving trade no longer existed in England. With autonomous vehicles already a reality I can’t imagine why anyone would buy a taxi licence today expecting it to be valuable in a generation’s time.
I plan to speak a little more about the challenge of disruptive technology at the Industry Lunch at our Convention next week — and to encourage us all to not be Luddites.
But while technology does indeed pose its own unique set of challenges for the retail automotive industry it is the continued rise of regulation and market intervention that must get our most intense focus in the near and medium terms.
The Convention will provide you with an opportunity to hear from us with updates on our activities in Canberra. We will offer you insights into how our policy advisors help us to work within the political and regulatory machinery to ensure franchised dealers’ interests are duly considered in arriving at balanced and practical solutions.
We’ll provide a status on just where we are on the Vital Five policy challenges and our assessments of likely outcomes as we head into the final quarter of the year.
As in years past, the Convention will provide you with a brilliant opportunity to hear from the best motivators, trainers and operators in the retail business. You will also be able to rub shoulders with prominent automotive executives from Australia’s market leading brands at the various social functions and to pose your own questions at the Industry Leadership Session. I’m sure you’ll also find value wandering through the largest product Expo we have ever hosted.
There is still time to register if you have not already done so.
I do look forward to seeing you next week and spending time with you personally to discuss the many important challenges and opportunities our ever-changing industry offers up.
As ever, I wish you…
Good luck and good selling!
Chief Executive Officer