KPMG survey finds disruptors, changing consumer relationship top of mind for auto execs


Automotive industry executives agree that they are witnessing the disruption of the traditional business model and the changing customer relationship. These will be affecting their business through to 2025, according to KPMG’s 17th annual Global Automotive Executive Survey.

Executives say that as consumers continue to demand increasingly digital products and services within their vehicle, the industry will need to transform their traditional business model.

The product development cycles, sales and aftersales processes, as well as the associated products, technologies and services, will all have to change significantly in order to keep up?

Auto executives are less optimistic that traditional automotive companies will be able to dominate the customer relationship in the connected car.

“According to one-fifth of all respondents, tech companies (especially from Silicon Valley) could gradually take over the customer interface in the connected car,” KPMG says.

The Global Automotive Executive Survey is KPMG International’s annual assessment of the current state and future prospects of the worldwide automotive industry.

In this year’s survey, 800 senior executives from the world’s leading automotive companies were interviewed, including automakers, suppliers, dealers, financial services providers, rental companies, mobility solution providers and for the first time, companies from the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.

Among those surveyed were seven from Canada, 71 from the U.S., 22 from Mexico, 38 from Germany, 57 from Japan, 100 from China, 37 from South Korea and 100 from China.

The executives surveyed also gave more importance to autonomous and self-driving vehicles than one or two years before.

“Beyond that, the results reflect that executives recognize that vehicle or customer-related data will be a crucial success factor for the coming years in the auto-motive industry,” says KPMG.

More than 40 per cent estimate big data/user data as a very important key trend.

Generally, the ranking of this year’s key trends reflects that the auto industry is moving its focus increasingly towards the customer needs, rather than traditionally product and technology-led internal concerns.

One thing is clear now: the auto industry is changing and the countdown for disruption has already started.

In order to keep the control of the customer touchpoints, and not to lose them to new industry entrants, manufacturers need to change their business models at the very core.

Who is best prepared? Will the highest market share still be the key to success?

Premium manufacturers might be able to cope best with the upcoming changes due to their strong and trusted premium brands.

They might also have the most power to seek innovations and cope with the regulators’ vision of future mobility in terms of e-mobility and autonomous driving.

But will they also be the companies with the highest increase in market share?

However, as former results show, BMW and Toyota are in good shape for the future, according to the executives, and they also expect both of them to be the biggest risers in market share, led by Toyota.

“Toyota’s innovative new models and increasing European sales seem to have convinced the executives of its future success,” KPMG says.

BMW and VW are in second and third place, respectively followed by Hyundai, last year’s winner, and Ford.

In general, executives are very optimistic and only a few expect a decrease in market dominance of the top 20 OEMs – for most of them, it might just remain as it currently is, the survey found.