Scenario two: The Facebook future
Scenario two: The Facebook future
Skyrocketing fuel costs make individual vehicles unaffordable. Huge government support comes for EVs. Battery makers take the driver's seat, reducing the role of manufacturers to assemblers of outside technology. Consolidation and bankruptcy are frequent outcomes. Product differentiation is based on range and infotainment features, and volumes are lower. Modern communication makes car sharing easier, and information technology replaces metal bending as the most important competitive advantage.

Winners: Balance sheet strength and technical adaptability are key. The Germans lead again, thanks to their engineering prowess. But Toyota moves up because of its success with the Prius, Nissan gets a boost from the Leaf, and the Volt propels GM higher. All-EV Tesla becomes an industry leader in this scenario (but barely registers in others).

Losers: Hyundai, with its fast-follower hybrid strategy, gives ground here. Weaker companies in Southern Europe, China, and India that lack resources are pushed out by new entrants like battery makers and fuel cell specialists.

By Alex Taylor III, senior editor-at-large @FortuneMagazine - Last updated July 02 2012: 7:56 AM ET
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