There's been much hand-wringing about the threat that autonomous vehicles pose to new-vehicle sales in the coming years.
But those concerns are overblown, says an executive with the autonomous vehicles subsidiary of Ford Motor Co., which plans to launch self-driving vehicles for commercial use in 2021.
"The thing that worries me least in this world is decreasing demand for cars," John Rich, COO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles, told The Telegraph in London. "We will exhaust and crush a car every four years in this business."
Because shared self-driving vehicles can be on the road much more than consumers use their personal cars and trucks each day, they'll wear out far sooner, Rich explained.
"Today's vehicles spend most of the day parked," Rich said in a separate interview with TechCrunch. "To develop a profitable, viable business model for [autonomous vehicles], they need to be running almost the entire day."
In contrast, the average vehicle in the U.S. is now nearly 12 years old, according to a study by IHS Markit.