Are you prepared to compete in an evolving auto industry?

Measuring productivity is historically a divisive issue for employers and employees. In the age of the new normal, in some organizations there is a semblance of a ‘Big Brother’ attitude toward productivity monitoring owing to reduced communication, decreased visibility and even developing distrust with delegated responsibilities. For those who have read George Orwell’s 1984 we all know how constant surveillance can make us feel, so evidently haphazard introductions of monitoring solutions will only intensify negative attitudes toward productivity monitoring. Therefore, this topic must, especially now, be approached with care, sensitivity and understanding.

The automotive industry was birthed in 1886, and since then the world has witnessed a societal transportation revolution around cars, motorcycles, trucks and buses. Vehicle ownership evolved from a status symbol to a perceived right. Society embraced the convenience and opportunity to travel that automobiles made readily available.

In the last fifty years, people’s mobility needs changed and their requirements for automobiles have risen. During the latter decades of the twentieth century across the developed world, urbanization restructured how people work, shop and play. In fact, as of 2007, people living in urban areas outnumber those in rural areas (and major increases in urbanization are expected to continue over the next thirty years). These developments created an undeniable need for the flexible and convenient mobility that cars offer.

That’s all good news for car manufacturers. Then came telecommuting and COVID-19…

The work-from-home approach to labor is a steady trend that has accelerated over the last ten years to more flexible working patterns that are beginning to erode the traditional concept of commuting. This erosion was exacerbated along with a dip in worldwide auto sales by the Spring 2020 arrival of the global COVID-19 pandemic. The need to socially distance, work from home and protect loved ones and others has affected both the desire and the ability to travel. As carmakers try to navigate these treacherous waters, what are the new competitors that must be considered?

Demand-driven mobility

Fleet services: Many businesses depend on a fleet of reliable vehicles that are often purchased from dealers. Well-equipped car/truck fleet providers, either with their own fleet or a multi-branded inventory, can lease the required vehicles without the purchase requirement and offer the ability to shrink or expand services to meet fluctuating demands.Demand-driven mobility requires segments of the automotive industry to meet the immediate transportation needs of consumers. Some of these competitive models to the traditional car market include the following areas of projected growth.

Mobility services: Today’s market is fostering the onset of community-based shared mobility platforms providing on-demand electric vehicles as an exclusive amenity for apartments, hotels, workplaces, and downtown areas. Vehicles can be conveniently located within dedicated parking spaces, where they are constantly recharging and ready to be reserved instantly or in advance through a mobile application.

Infrastructure services: As more drivers make use of mobility-on-demand vehicles, urban areas need to evaluate parking availability and supplemental charging stations to accommodate them.

New competitors: Companies not traditionally associated with transportation are jumping into the fray with shuttle buses and Waymo (Google), electric personal transport vehicles (Alibaba), and a focus on autonomous software designed for existing car models (Apple).

Atos is equipped to assist manufacturers in meeting these competitive surges with car-specific industrialized platforms, connected services, and optimization of processes through seamless product data availability.

Mobility service ecosystem

Evolving mobility opportunities will require massive digital ecosystems to provide dependable service and trackable data.

End-to-end mobility service orchestration and service enabling by platforms: The innovative use of high-performance computing allows for the design and delivery of seamless end-to-end services across multiple domains and vendors, all while reusing resources efficiently.

Substitute technologies: Manufacturers will compete to develop the next generation of powertrains, battery technologies and other mobility enhancers.

Accelerated technological fulfillment of individual demands: Regardless of the mode of transportation customers select, tech-savvy users are now accustomed to getting their needs met nearly instantaneously through the Internet and various apps. That expectation will remain for the auto industry.

Developing/expanding new markets

Any successful business needs a growing customer base. Despite the challenges presented by the COVID pandemic, the need for private (socially distanced) mobility is serving as an accelerator of individual car purchases, as well as the use of the aforementioned competitive options like on-demand rentals, electric vehicles from a variety of sources, and others. Opportunity areas for auto sales expansion in certain regions of the world include developing markets in Africa, Asia and some parts of South America. In these regions, access to vehicles remains essential — particularly where mass transportation is not practical for both geographical and health reasons. Additionally, large rural economies continue to be the norm in these areas, requiring more personal mobility options. By 2030, the most significant auto sales growth is predicted for the Chinese market and other countries in the Far East.

The automotive industry will continue to fight against competitive rivals for customers in the foreseeable future. For a more detailed discussion of the challenges and solutions relevant to the automotive industry, download the Atos white paper “Who needs to own a car? Changing mobility needs and their impact on the automotive industry.”

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About Matthias Böhmer
Co-Head of Global Manufacturing Consulting and Head of Manufacturing Consulting Central Europe

Matthias has held several positions for Atos Consulting and gained his practical experience in many different projects in the automotive industry, in discrete manufacturing and in the energy and utilities sector. Among others he has been a driving force behind projects with Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), Bosch, ZF Friedrichshafen, and the Daimler European Data Center.
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About Steve Cockerill
Vice President and Consulting Partner, Global Manufacturing

Steve is an experienced business technologist with over twenty-five years of technology and digital consulting experience gained in the Manufacturing, CPG, Automotive and Telecoms sectors. He has held several international consulting and blue-chip roles, leading multi-country consulting and programme delivery teams to support clients across the UK, Europe and the US. Steve is an Atos patent holder for his work upon real-time analytics in the Rail industry.
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