Coping with unfamiliar ground


Transformational work begins from within


There is no golden digitalization route: be open for different speeds, create visions and think in ecosystems


Build bridges between the traditional automotive world and new digital players to create new network families

About the survey

For the survey, we gathered the opinions of 527 executives from 17 countries around the world

In this survey, KPMG and Egon Zehnder join forces to assess the current state of digitalization and the perception of executives concerning digital development within their automotive companies: We invite you to explore our interactive platform, which allows you to filter by region, country, stakeholder and department for your personalized view.

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Executives – a closer look at our respondents

For this survey, we interviewed 527 high-level executives. To provide us with diverse insights into every executive level, we gathered an even spread of CEOs/presidents/chairmen, C-level executives, heads of business unit/business division and heads of department, with approximately 25% per group.

By assigning our respondents to five departments, we were able to evaluate interdisciplinary differences. Most of our respondents work in corporate & business development (25%), followed by strategy and human resources (HR) (24% each). 20% of the respondents stated that they work in the information & technology department (IT); the digital department is the smallest with 7%.

Our sample is split between the upstream (product-driven) and downstream (service-driven) automotive markets, with a primary focus on vehicle manufacturers and suppliers (upstream, 78%).

More than one-third of the respondents are based in Europe, while 15% come from North America. 71 executives, or 13%, work in the Mature Asia region of Japan and South Korea. 7-10% each originate from China, India & ASEAN, South America and Eastern Europe. The Rest of the World is represented by the remaining 3%.

27% of our respondents work in companies with revenues of between US$1 billion and US$10 billion, and 21% in companies with revenues higher than US$10 billion.

The survey was conducted in part online, and took place between December 2018 and January 2019. 30 experts were additionally interviewed separately to gather further and more personal input for our evaluation.

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Entering a new digital era
The automotive industry’s success is built on well-established processes and structures. But with digitalization coming from an external orbit, companies are required to re-think their business model along with their firmly established processes, structures and technologies. They must also sharpen their focus on the mind-shift around culture, leadership and the organization. In this context, automotive companies can learn from the approach that tech companies have taken – creating visions for customers and thinking in ecosystems, networks and collaborations. Read more about the secret behind creating diverse network families in the following chapter.
Shaping companies for Digital Gravity
The majority is currently in favor of adopting a uniform digitalization strategy in their company. However, the complexity of digitalization demands much broader orientation from companies. To achieve this, organizations must be open to taking a fresh approach to digitalization and tolerate different rates of implementation.
Digital roadmap for your organization
Digital transformation is heavily affecting organizational change, culture and leadership models within the automotive industry. While the industry is highly aware of these necessary changes and is undergoing self-reflection, it is not yet in the mode of the substantial mindset shift that is needed for closer exposure to Digital Gravity.
Executive summary & lessons learned
The automotive industry has enjoyed huge success. But their well-established processes and structures are beginning to change. The force behind this is digitalization.

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