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Automotive Sector in Transition

Portrait of Wolfgang Bernhart
Senior Partner
Stuttgart Office, Central Europe
+49 711 3275-7421
April 4, 2016

Sharing the road

For decades, the automobile was seen as society’s ultimate status symbol. People adored and identified with their cars, ensuring the auto industry had a smooth ride and a simple business model for the better part of a century. That is now rapidly changing, and the car is being demoted to simply a means of getting from A to B. Carsharing, self-driving vehicles, and alternative propulsion systems are radically altering the automotive ecosystem.

With such a fundamental shift in attitude toward the automobile underway, carmakers are facing new levels of disruption. For example, electric upstart Tesla has become a serious competitor to German premium brands Mercedes and BMW both in terms of image and innovation—and despite its very low production volumes. At the same time, autonomous “robocabs” could account for a third of all automotive mobility by 2030. Yet the industry is also grappling with longstanding structural problems, including overcapacities, legacy manufacturing costs, and ever-rising capital and research expenditures.

As cars become just another useful consumer device, market participants must consider refocusing their efforts onto those parts of the business judged most promising. Volume carmakers face the biggest challenge, since they need high turnover to compensate for low-margin vehicle sales.

Autonomous “robocabs” could account for a third of all automotive mobility by 2030
Autonomous “robocabs” could account for a third of all automotive mobility by 2030

Future automotive ecosystem

In this publication, we analyze what industry executives will need to know to remain competitive in the coming decades. Our innovative simulation tool distilled studies on specific market segments into one comprehensive picture, including scenarios for the future of carsharing, consumer acceptance of autonomous driving, and the electromobility market.

We found a development similar to what has already been witnessed in the telecommunications and consumer electronics sectors: service providers are likely to take control of the value chain and push device manufacturers into the background. This will have significant consequences for the entire auto industry and Roland Berger’s experts have identified five points of particular importance. Following these guidelines, incumbent carmakers can remain relevant in the future automotive ecosystem.

  • Photos: Sam Edwards, Getty Images; Stefan Schulze, Getty Images

Think:Act

Automotive Sector in Transition

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Carsharing, self-driving vehicles, and alternative propulsion systems are radically altering the automotive ecosystem.

Published April 2016. Available in
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