That's what makes Jaguar's move to set to up InMotion such an interesting development. Just as John Lewis is out there engaging with bright sparks through its incubator programme, Jaguar is seeking to find out where the modern world is taking us when it comes to cars, and more specifically, car ownership. Through its new start-up, it's hoping to develop new ways of being the brand of choice when people think about getting from A to B.
On a long car journey the other day a bunch of us were talking about what impact modern tech will have on the number of cars on our roads and who owns them. What is clear is that the traditional driveway with his and her cars parked up is likely to be less the norm in the future. If you can simply press a button in an app to hail a self-drive car to come and get you or to call an Uber-style taxi, then why would you go to the expense of owning a couple of cars per household?
Think of it this way. If you have downloaded Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon Music and use one or more of them, the chances are you don't think of yourself as being in the CD market any more. It's incredibly unlikely that the artists you like are not discoverable on one of these services and so you just bookmark them. The same goes for having "boxsets" available via Sky or Netflix. We are slowly moving away from owning stuff toward an economy where we subscribe to services that provide it on-demand.
Jaguar would appear to realise that this means the farce of us all driving to work and leaving vehicles in a car park all day and then parked up all night on a driveway will likely come to an end. At least it will probably come to an end for cars that are not always in use -- the average family's second car. I say this because any hailing service is likely to have a pricing structure which, like Uber, raises prices when demand is highest and -- let's face it -- that will likely be the commute into and out of work and the Friday and Sunday night trips to a weekend destination and back.
That's half the beauty of what is likely to emerge. Rather like train ticket prices, which seek to even out passenger numbers across the day and prevent casual visitors from cramming in next to seasoned commuters, peak-time pricing would surely encourage people using car pooling services to avoid the busiest, most expensive times and so ease congestion.
The first step to this will almost certainly be carpooling clubs that a brand like Jaguar will be keen to set up. They're already operating in London where a low-emission vehicle can normally be booked and driven around for members of a scheme. Clearly such clubs are going to develop in to more nationwide offerings where maybe Jaguar owners get a discount if they book another of the manufacturer's models for a weekend away or simply want to borrow a second car for a day out or go shopping because their main vehicle is in use by someone else in the family.
It is not a huge leap of faith to see how driverless cars will take this to the next logical conclusion, and if not the main car, at least the second car is routinely hailed from an app and parked up outside a person's house or office until someone clicks to hail it.
Car ownership is something I think we can all agree is likely to change considerably, and I have to say Jaguar deserves plaudits for setting up a start-up within its ranks to explore how people will get about in the near and more mid-term future. The one way of avoiding being swallowed up by the future is to be fundamental in creating it because if you're not tearing apart your business model, you can bet someone else is. Just ask someone who owned an Our Price record store, a DVD rental service or any camera maker who thought smartphones would never replace their superior imaging machines.