ReinCARnation: The Emergence of Time Over Ownership as the True Brand Value and Driving Force for Design

Mark Johnson, Selby Coxon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Is the one-hundred-year love affair with the privately-owned motor car drawing to an end? Are we entering a period where unfettered enthusiasm for the peak of personal prestige and perceived freedom is tempered by a world of climate anxiety, economic challenges, densely populated cities and shifting cultural priorities? Within the design industry, automotive design has long been the popular and jealously guarded elite of industrial design practice. From the genesis of mass production on the assembly lines of Henry Ford to the elite robot populated super factories of Volkswagen. The push to appeal to consumers through the exceptionalism of developing form and surface has been the backbone of the automotive industry’s business model. However, as we move into the third decade of the twenty-first century the supremacy of the privately-owned car is under attack. Developing nations are seeing a decline in young people taking up licenses and while former developing countries such as China and India are embracing the motor car, sales in other parts of the world are in decline. More of the world’s population live in cities than at any other time in human history and corresponding challenges for mobility have not been kind to the car. The motor car’s expansive footprint relative to occupant capacity has congested streets and choked arterial roads making the former tactile pleasure of ‘motoring’ seem like a distant fantasy. All the while, an accompanying shift away from fossil fuels with their incumbent problems of pollution, expense and finite life. If design has been such an influence on the past successes of automotive industry then how will it address new business models predicated upon shared use, a decline private ownership, new power trains and oversee a smooth transition to a new engagement with mobility in general.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvancing a Design Approach to Enriching Public Mobility
EditorsSelby Coxon, Robbie Napper
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9783030647223
ISBN (Print)9783030647216
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameIntelligent Systems Reference Library
ISSN (Print)1868-4394
ISSN (Electronic)1868-4408


  • Access economy
  • Automotive design
  • Brand
  • Car share
  • Experience design
  • Time related ownership

Cite this