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The way that cars are purchased will change dramatically in the future. Executives of international automotive groups are convinced of this, as our latest 22nd edition of the Global Automotive Executive Survey shows. The CEOs in our survey expect that the traditional distribution channels – namely dealers and networks – will increasingly be replaced by online channels. More than three quarters (78 percent) of respondents expect that most cars will be purchased online by 2030. 

Almost half of the survey participants expect that at least 60 percent of all new cars will be sold directly by automakers to customers by 2030. Direct sales means that automakers should build up the necessary capabilities in digital sales, marketing, pricing and sales execution. A seamless purchase experience along with pre and after-sale support will be at least as important in future as product features, such as vehicle performance and equipment.

Without a doubt, we are at the threshold of a ground-breaking decade. What we need are sustainable business models, also for online sales and subscription models. Automakers should therefore focus more on creating an outstanding customer experience as overall package in future.

Goran Mazar
Partner, EMA & German Head of ESG and Automotive

Data privacy protection as key issue for customer loyalty

The study clearly shows that the global car market is facing dramatic changes. The transition to CO2-neutral powertrains alongside the desire for a unique, digital customer experience when buying a car are key issues. 

Owing to increasing digitalisation in the vehicle and at the interface between buyer and automaker, the issue of data privacy is taking on greater importance. Our global survey of more than 1,100 executives confirms this. Vast amounts of data will be generated by automakers whenever the vehicle moves, including sensitive information, such as travel routes and usage behaviour. Suppliers will need to ensure that their customers' data is secure and protected from abuse.

Faster and comprehensive charging options are key

Our survey participants expect electric vehicles will make up more the 50 percent in most markets by 2030. This requires two key conditions to be satisfied: the availability of charging infrastructure and battery power need to be improved. According to the global survey, 77 percent of consumers are not willing to wait more than 30 minutes for an 80 percent battery recharge. The electric vehicle breakthrough will therefore depend on considerable investments in fast-charging infrastructure. One third of the respondents are considering partnerships with technology companies or making investments in new developments. 

Balancing optimism for growth and the challenges of transformation

New sales models, the advance of electric cars, technology and automotive industries converging and a change in consumer behaviour present enormous growth opportunities. The executives in our survey confirm this: 53 percent are confident that the auto industry will see more profitable growth in the next five years. But executives are worried by a range of issues. These include vulnerable supply chains, sourcing of raw materials and labour shortages. 

At the same time, CEOs also say that they are prepared for the challenges ahead. Take a look at the latest edition of our Global Automotive Executive Survey to find out how the industry is preparing for the changes ahead, where it sees investment priorities, and which business models could determine the future of the automotive industry.