Study predicts dramatic changes in automotive landscape

March 08, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Over the next 15 years, almost nothing will remain as it is in the global automotive industry, predicts a study from consultant company Roland Berger. Electrical and hybrid vehicles will gain market share, connectivity will become a key factor. The bad news is that the center of gravity for the entire automotive industry will move to Asia.

The study “Automotive Landscape 2025” from Roland Berger consultancy forecasts many changes in the automotive industry – including changes in the related electronics business. The study, which involved almost all of Roland Berger's 39 offices around the globe, identifies a number of technological and business trends. Perhaps the two most relevant for automotive industry are the increasing market share of electric, and even more pronounced, hybrid cars: According to the study, electric vehicles will account for about 10 percent of new vehicles, well above current some European estimates. The German government, for example, targets a share of e-cars of only 1 percent. Even though this target will be reached already it 2020, in a global scale electric vehicles apparently will gain acceptance much faster than in Germany. Hybrid vehicles will gain share even faster; the study predicts that in 2025 their share will touch the 40 percent mark.

Another key factor in automotive technology is that the vehicles will increasingly be connected. Not a new insight, though. The study falls short of providing figures, but details the motivation for the shift to the always-on car: “What younger generations will be looking for in a car is a seamless integration with other means of mobility and a hassle-free connectivity with their mobile devices”, explains Roland Berger automotive researcher Grosse Kleinmann. As a result of this trend, the automotive industry is expected to converge with other industries such as consumer electronics and telecommunications.

The preferences among the younger generation will also trigger another shift: From large, full-sized vehicles to small and cheap ones. The reason: Cars will lose their importance as a status symbol. Thus, large vehicles with luxury (electronic) equipment will become less frequent; small cars however will also feature a more or less complete infotainment and connectivity section - with features such as personalized HMI.

The study also predicts a “dramatic” shift to the Asian markets for both production and