As the automotive industry faces narrowing margins, the need to look to other revenue streams and keep the customer committed to the brand for their next purchase is paramount. Hence, automotive manufacturers are focusing on research and development (R&D) on autonomous, connected and electrification (ACE) technologies to build fully connected and completely autonomous vehicles. To thrive in this highly competitive, evolving market, manufacturers need to look beyond seeing themselves as product suppliers and focus on becoming providers of mobility services, according to Frost & Sullivan. This will open the door for lucrative, new digital revenue streams.
Frost & Sullivan’s research, “Global Key Automakers’ Autonomous, Connected and Electrification Strategies, Forecast to 2025,” finds that between 2015 and 2025, 10 key automotive OEMs are expected to spend about $345 billion on ACE R&D. The study provides a strategic overview of the R&D activities of key OEMs, including key technology development, investment plans, expenditure trends, current expertise and impact on business performance. Major players such as Volkswagen (VW), Toyota, BMW, General Motors, Ford, Mercedes (Daimler), Nissan-Renault and Tesla – and their ACE technology strategies – are provided.
“In order to match market expectations, OEMs’ present objective is to build cars that can change the form and function, compared with what is currently available,” said Frost & Sullivan Future of Mobility Industry Analyst Jagadeesh Chandran. “OEMs should focus on collaborating with diverse players such as utilities, charging infrastructure owners, mobility providers, service providers and leasing companies to establish a potential e-mobility market.”
Current OEM R&D activity in the market includes:
- Autonomous technologies are the largest investment segment, averaging $1.43 billion in estimated investment per OEM from 2015 to 2025
- Decentralized R&D activities play a vital role in achieving higher sustainability;
- Premium and volume automakers see connected car technologies as essential to compete in the market
- Japanese OEMs focus on in-house development of capabilities, while European and American OEMs focus on collaborative development through partnerships and acquisitions
- American OEMs spend less on basic research, while European and Asian OEMs allocate equal spend to basic and advanced research
- Connected technology plays a vital role for short-term gains, with autonomous and electrification technologies expected to yield returns by 2018 to 2019
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning account for more than 80 percent of all new future revenue and business opportunities
“On the flip side, challenges with employee retention and protection of development activities are expected to increase with the development of various autonomous and connected car technologies,” said Chandran. “To maintain a foothold in the market, OEMs should keep track of third-party connected car service providers that can bring the same or similar services as OEMs to market at a significantly lower cost through an entirely different monetization model.”