There certainly are some fundamental threats to the traditional automobile as we know it. The efforts to move away from gasoline engines is not new but gaining in tempo. Also, the idea of self driving cars has a lot of support and merit, given that it would save tens of thousands of lives when mature.
Google of course is pursuing this by unveiling a concept car that looks like a Smart Car, but would be self driving. The Blade Car shows a lot of promise and also features futuristic design rather than the boxy look of the Smart Car. And then there is the Tesla, and electric vehicle which is developing a dedicated body of devotees. Although rather expensive now, no doubt the prices will come down.
A quick overview of these vehicles can be found here .
And then there is the latest urban trend of group sharing, as evidenced to some extent by the Uber phenomenon. Many big city dwellers have forsaken car ownership for several years. However, the idea of sharing will accelerate this and is especially popular with the Millenials, who are less interested in ownership of things in general than any generation in recent memory. All of this will have a major impact on the auto industry and on the economy.
It seems inevitable that the automobile is headed on a crash course to its own destruction or at least its re-creation.