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


We wish to personally thank our respondents and contributors for their involvement in this year’s survey

In our joint global automotive study “Digital Gravity”, over 500 senior executives from the world’s leading automotive companies were interviewed. Since we placed a special focus on how digitalization affects the traditional automotive business, participants included automakers, suppliers and dealers.

In addition, our appreciation goes to a select group of 30 leading CEOs for giving us their precious time and explaining their company’s approach to digitalization in a personal interview.

The responses were highly insightful and we would like to personally thank all those who participated for sharing their opinions with us and sacrificing their valuable time.

Special thanks go to both the global automotive sector groups at KPMG and Egon Zehnder. We are especially grateful to the automotive sector teams in Germany under the lead of Aline Dodd, KPMG - Global & EMA Executive for Automotive, along with Martin Klusmann, Egon Zehnder – Head of Corporate Communications, and Terence Peikert, Egon Zehnder – Global Automotive Knowledge Manager, for their creativity, inspiration and dedication throughout the realization of this thought leadership project.

Dieter Becker
Global and EMA Head Automotive Practice
KPMG International

Dr. Christian Rosen
Head of Global Automotive Practice
Egon Zehnder

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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