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


Dear Readers,

According to Charles Darwin, writing long before the dawn of the automobile age, it is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.

We had to smile when we came across this argument again recently, because over the years or even decades, hasn’t the automobile industry always considered itself the strongest and most intelligent? Today we are witnessing how digitalization and the transformation of mobility are sweeping across the industry in an unprecedented deluge of change.

So how are the strongest and most intelligent dealing with this? And how are they managing to divest their former strengths and acquire new ones? The required innovative approach concerns not only products but also corporate leadership and culture. In many cases, it seems, the necessary underlying radical rethink has not yet happened.

Once the new mindset is in place, however, we are convinced that the automobile sector will rightly retain its place among the leading industries. The present study reveals in a fascinating way just how tough the current transformation is, even – or maybe precisely – for the “strongest”, the ones who have always considered themselves a permanent fixture at the leading edge of change.

We hope you find it makes enjoyable reading.

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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