We are indeed in a very different automotive era. Take this car, the Fisker Ocean, an upper mid-sized electric crossover created by a Californian start-up company that not only has no dealers but doesn't build cars either. Instead, as industry giant Apple will with its first car, the brand gets others to do that for it. In this case, the chosen factory partner is Magna Steyr in Austria (who regular build cars for Mercedes and BMW). For Fisker's next model, the Pear, it'll be Foxconn, who make many of the world's iPhones.
Fisker buys in all its drivetrains and batteries too, with much shorter development lead times than established makers work to, so buyers get more up-to-date tech. All of which leaves the US company free to concentrate on design, something that, being led by gifted stylist Henrik Fisker (who has the BMW Z8 and the Aston Martin DB9 on his CV), it's well qualified to do. Fisker tried - and failed - to start his own car company a decade ago with the ill-fated Fisker Karma, but the Ocean looks a much better effort, billed as 'the world's most sustainable electric car'. It offers better value, more driving range and more technology than all its main rivals. Who really need to take this car very seriously indeed.