Roland Berger Strategy Consultants – Automotive Competence Center
Winning the automotive
The frontline role of marketing & sales
March 6, 2009
Dr. Antje Lutz
> car manufacturers worldwide are in the midst of dramatic change. as they watch sales and profits eroding, they
have to prepare themselves for the next generation of individual mobility by introducing fundamental innovations
in powertrain technology
> most automakers have already put considerable effort into developing technologies such as hybrid and electric
vehicles. However, many focus exclusively on technology, overlooking the frontline role played by marketing and sales.
these players are missing an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage
> the current situation calls for action. customer demand is shifting in favor of environmental issues, but many compa-
nies' communication and marketing activities fail to differentiate between brands. as a result, established players risk
losing their status as technological innovators and many consumers lack orientation in the market
> toyota, plus a few new niche players like tesla and Better Place, stands out from the crowd. they show that it is possi-
ble to raise public awareness, establish an attractive image and forge effective partnerships. this is putting additional
pressure on incumbents
> automakers must react now to today's market conditions. they must fully integrate the new powertrain technologies
into their strategic planning and cycle plans. sound marketing and business strategies for cars with alternative
powertrain technology are key to unleashing the full potential of automakers and their brands
mOrE tHaN Just a tEcHNOLOGy racE Most automotive players have already taken decisive steps
in response. They have prepared themselves for the future
Car manufacturers around the globe are in the midst of by allocating substantial resources to developing new
dramatic change. As they watch sales and profits eroding, powertrain technology. However, many OEms are in danger
they have to prepare for alternative powertrain technology, of viewing this as a technology race only. In fact, it's
the next generation of individual mobility. Observers agree much more than that. It's also a race for the best business
that the expected innovations leading to more fuel-efficient model, the best customer insights, the best timing, the
and environmentally friendly technologies represent one best understanding of global customer segments, the best
way out of the crisis. But making the technological leap managed expectations and the best network of suppliers
will not be simple. In the words of a well-known automotive and partners. In brief, it's a race for the best business
chief executive, it means little short of re-inventing the and marketing strategy.
The industry needs to go beyond its usual response
Automakers cannot afford to delay. Growing awareness of of functional development programs. OEMs must take
climate change plus sustained increases in the price of broader action. To safeguard current and future competitive
raw materials have led to the introduction of CO2 emission advantages, automotive manufacturers must gear their
charges and other legislative actions around the globe. whole organization toward customer demands and the
In an attempt to accelerate the development, support new factors driving market success.
for new powertrain technologies even found its way into
national stimulus packages in Europe and the US. China, Well-considered, bold business and marketing decisions
too, has announced special subsidies for research and are the order of the day. Strong action will make a decisive
development in the area of powertrain technology, a field difference for automakers. It will open up windows of
where Chinese OEMs stand a good chance of catching opportunity, shore up sales figures and prepare their
up with established automakers in the West. And there's organization for future success. strategic action is
pressure from customers and shareholders also, who want needed now.
to see OEMs enter the market quickly with new technology.
marKEt OutLOOK FOr ELEctriFiED POWErtraiNs > Hybrid electric vehicles without plug-in functionality will
account for approximately 9% to 12% of global market
Industry experts and automakers agree that future vehicles share in 2020
will drive electric, at least in part. Many companies have
already announced plans to launch vehicles with innovative > PHEVs will be more successful, with a global market
powertrain technology in the near and mid-term future (see share of 15% to 17%
Figure 1). The number of such plans has increased signifi-
cantly over the last two years. > EVs will make up around 5% of the market
the road so far Factors in market diffusion
> Hybrid electric vehicles (HEV) represent the first techno- A number of issues are as yet unresolved for PHEVs and
logical milestone on the road to fully electrified pow- EVs. They include battery technology, the supply and cost
ertrains. They incorporate both an electric and of electric motors and the availability of appropriate infra-
a conventional combustion engine structure. How the oil price develops will also have a major
impact on the spread of electric drive technology.
> New generation vehicles include plug-in hybrid electric
vehicles (PHEV), whose batteries can be recharged by A number of solutions are in sight. By 2020, we expect
plugging the car into the normal power grid. Hybrid to see the following developments:
vehicles with range extenders go one step further, their
combustion engine serving only as a generator rechar- > Lithium-ion batteries will improve performance and
ging the batteries provide acceptable driving ranges at much lower costs
> Fully electric vehicles (EV) represent the last step in the
evolutionary chain. They do without the internal combus- > OEMs and suppliers will have secured battery technology
tion engine entirely and production capacity by means of joint ventures or by
developing their own assembly capabilities
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
A and B
Think City Subaru Mitsubishi Nissan Smart EV Mercedes Toyota VW
R1e iMiEV Cube A/B-class
IQ, EV? UP, EV? > Similar approaches will be used for e-motors, allowing
Qingyuan Nice Cars Tata 'Tata Renault economies of scale for all major components
Happy Zero Indica Nano City EV
C and D XS 500 Wanxiang BYD BYD Renault Renault Tesla Ford
WXEV7050 F6DM F3e; F3DM Megane EV Kangoo EV Whitestar? Mondeo
> A charging infrastructure will be in place in key regions of
y GM Volt BYD Ford (2) 1)
the US, Europe and Asia, focusing initially on urban areas
Prius Opel e6 Connect EV
G and SUV Tesla Wanxiang Fisker
segments Roadster ZN5490EV Auto-
> Local governments will introduce significant subsidies for
low or zero-emission vehicles, making them even more
1) Ford has announced the introduction of an EV in the C segment and the Transit Connect EV for 2011
? = Not officially announced yet attractive
Source: Company announcements, press clippings, Roland Berger research
Figure 1: Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) and electric vehicles (EV) The much heralded electrification of the powertrain is not
planned up to 2012
just hype. But it won't be a big bang either. A gentle transi-
tion to the new technology will take place over a period of
market outlook decades, ultimately reshaping the industry as we know it.
> Despite high public expectations of alternative drive
technology, the conventional combustion engine will still For a more detailed discussion of the technological and
dominate the automotive market over the next decade. strategic implications for OEMs and suppliers, please refer
Even in 2020, conventional engines are expected to to our study "Powertrain 2020".
account for up to 70% of the market
marKEtiNG is KEy – a caLL FOr actiON 2. "and the first round goes to … toyota!"
When it comes to clean drive technologies, consumers
the evidence could not be clearer: consumer prefe- think they know who's ahead: Toyota (see Figure 2).
rences and the factors driving market success have Toyota's strength in customer perceptions is no doubt as
changed. Customer demand is shifting away from SUVs to pleasing for Toyota as it is alarming for its competitors.
smaller, more efficient vehicles. Consumers increasingly The first runner-up in terms of consumer perceptions
base their brand perception on environmental issues. Pre- is Honda. Both Toyota and Honda stand to benefit from
mium OEMs are in danger of losing their status as the key early launches of hybrid vehicles. BMW and VW have
technological innovators in the eyes of many auto buyers. been catching up since they started their EfficientDyna-
With the industry on the verge of a new technology lifecycle, mics and BlueMotion programs. Clearly, communication
new players may well enter the market and weaken the pole is golden.
position of incumbent OEMs. the key battlefields in the
coming years – alongside research and development – In your opinion, which automobile companies are really striving to develop
clean drive technologies? Name up to three brands1)
are business strategy and sales & marketing.
[Top 5 in %]
action is required now. the window of opportunity is Toyota 55
closing. Companies must develop effective marketing and
business strategies early: broad-based programs must be-
gin 18 to 24 months before the first innovations – whether BMW 19
developed by the companies themselves or their competi- Renault 19
tors – hit the market. Many OEMs have already announced Peugeot 17
plans for the period 2010 to 2012. action is therefore
1) Total number of brands named: 240
needed now, long before the new technologies become Source: Roland Berger customer survey, carried out by TNS Infratest 02/2009
Figure 2: Customer perceptions of companies striving toward clean
marketing executives must carve out a competitive edge drive technology
for their companies. They need to find the answers to
some pressing questions in the area of product differenti- 3. Western premium brands risk losing one of their key
ation, brand positioning, price premiums and (after) sales differentiators – their technological edge
networks. They must provide customers with orientation in a Asked which brands would be least suited to hybrid or
changing industry. Simply re-painting corporate brands blue electric drive technologies, most respondents named,
or green to demonstrate environmental friendliness is not among others, well-known Western premium brands
enough. What is needed are well thought-out strategic first. This is very worrying indeed. After all, hybrid and
marketing actions. electric drive technologies are synonyms for cutting-edge
innovation. Daimler and BMW, for example, are enga-
ged in major field tests of electric vehicles in London,
BraNDiNG aND PrOmOtiON: PrOviDE custOmErs Berlin, New York and other major cities around the world.
(aND yOur EmPLOyEEs) WitH OriENtatiON Do the public actually realize that the smart and MINI
brands belong to these automakers? Are they suppo-
The situation: Customer perceptions have changed and sed to? What could have been done to generate more
OEM responses are currently inadequate public awareness for these product innovations? Where
is the potential spillover effect on sister brands? Could
1. customers are really interested in alternative drive earlier projects such as the BMW Hydrogen 7 and the
technologies Mercedes-Benz F-Cell A-Class have created a stronger
Alternative drive technologies are not just exciting for impact? The customers' response seems clear: For
engineers. Our research shows that 68% of auto buyers innovations to boost the corporate image, OEMs require
are also interested. The figures were even higher in real, buyable products that are available on the market
France (77%) and Germany (76%). now – supported, as ever, with the right level of targeted
4. Eco-labels fail to create differentiation The guidelines: Be honest, distinctive and focused
In response to growing environmental awareness among
consumers, most car manufacturers have introduced Three guidelines can help OEMs regain their edge over
labels signaling fuel and emission efficiency in their competitors in terms of branding and promotion:
existing models. The prefixes "blue" and "eco" are
popular in such labels at the moment (see Figure 3). (a) Draw up a technological roadmap and communi-
However, a recent study in Germany1) revealed that many cate it to your customers, partners and employees.
of these pro-environment programs are interchangeable Use your communication to align expectations, create
in the customer's mind. More often than not, customers guidance and focus the creative power of your organi-
fail to link them to brands correctly. Thus many OEMs zation.
appear to be failing to create differentiation, and are in
danger of wasting their respective marketing investment. (b) re-establish distinctiveness in your communication.
Identify areas where you are unique and which give
"Bl " labels
"Blue" l b l "E " l b l
"Eco" labels Others
Oth you true differentiation potential. Make these areas
Blue Motion – Volkswagen
Group's trade name for fuel-
ECOnetic – Ford's brand for
their cleanest models was
BMW EfficientDynamics –
BMW's brand name across all
the core of your communication activities. Respond
efficient models since 2006 created in 2007/2008 models (since 2007)
to increased customer interest in fuel and emission
BlueEFFICIENCY – Mercedes-
Benz launched its low emission
ecoFLEX – Opel/Vauxhall
unveiled their ecoFLEX models
Toyota Optimal Drive –
Comparable to BMW's efficiency.
range in 2008 in 2007 EfficientDynamics (launch 2009)
Blue Drive – Hyundai's eco- eco² – Renault reasserted its DRIVe – Volvo Cars'
friendly vehicles are branded
"Blue Drive" (launched 2008)
commitment to ecological
vehicles in 2007
environmental program was
launched in 2009
(c) re-adjust your brand architecture to new customer
Blue Lion – Peugeot has used ecomotive – Seat's brand for
Seat s PUR O2 – Fiat is one of the few
needs and target groups. Assess how well target
this label for its most ecol.
models since 2007
its most ecol. models was
launched in 2007
that does not use "eco" or "blue"
(from 2008) groups and technological features fit your current
Source: Company information; press clippings; Roland Berger research brand portfolio. Decide how to adjust your current
brand, or introduce a new trademark if the spread is
Figure 3: Examples of eco-labels too large. Develop a long-term development plan for
your complete brand portfolio.
5. customers have false expectations, leading to
dissatisfaction with manufacturers and lower sales
The auto industry leads customers to believe that PrODuct POrtFOLiO: DarE tO BE DiFFErENt
radical new technologies will be available at affordable
prices any day now. Auto fairs increasingly style themsel- The situation: Too much me-too, too little differentiation,
ves as green. OEMs announce a new hybrid or electric and new players
vehicle almost every month. At the recent World Mobility
Forum in Stuttgart, a former senior auto executive called 1. current recipes are monotonous – me-too rather than
on the industry to "communicate honestly when techno- passionate differentiation
logies will be available, and at what price."
Customers' expectations that inexpensive new techno- Current product designs and launch patterns for hybrid
logy is just around the corner is stopping them from models are very similar across OEMs. Around 30 models
buying new cars now, he argued. As customers realize in total are available in the EU, US and Asia. With few
that OEMs can't live up to their expectations, they lose exceptions – the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight being
faith in them. Auto companies must therefore take good examples – OEMs introduce their hybrid techno-
action quickly to manage customer expectations. logy as a variant on the conventional model. Often the
new technology appears in the upper part of the port-
folio (e.g. the Mercedes S400) and SUVs (e.g. the Ford
Escape Hybrid). Apart from the hybrid powertrain, these
models do not differ from their regular counterparts in
the customer's mind.
1) DAT GmbH in collaboration with AUTOStraßenverkehr (01/2009)
Following this (beaten) path creates a gap between custo- entering the market, especially in the area of electric
mers' enthusiasm for new technology and OEMs' imple- vehicles. These new players often enjoy significant com-
mentation of it. Automakers seem to fail to fully use the petitive advantages, such as low-cost structures (e.g.
opportunity of creating differentiation, not only within their BYD, Tata). They are able to apply a greenfield approach
portfolio but also from their competitors. The industry's in their business model and focus on alternative drive
key triggers for market success in other areas – passion, technologies. Incumbent OEMs need bold product stra-
emotion and identification – are left to gather dust on tegies that underline their competitive advantages
a back shelf. When it comes to hybrids, OEMs seem to to take on these new competitors.
mistakenly focus on rationality.
4. Electric vehicles are changing the rules of the game
2. Good behavior must be visible – specific design New players such as Th!nk and Better Place are giving
features needed for eco-models their products a completely different edge. Jan-Olaf
The majority of respondents in our survey – including a Willums, former CEO of Th!nk, puts it in a nutshell: "We
massive 72% in France – said that if they drove a clean sell mobility, not a car!" The vision of these newcomers
vehicle with low emissions and fuel consumption, they is to sell mobility as a service, bypassing the purchase
would like other people to be able to see it. OEMs can of the vehicle and necessary supplies.
make this possible by providing new vehicles with a
distinctive design, for example. Many vehicles currently Many incumbent OEMs have understood this. They have
produced by OEMs do not meet this criterion, and so launched field tests of infrastructure solutions in large
fail to address a large swathe of their customers. OEMs urban areas around the globe. The parallels with the
could gain a distinct competitive advantage by meeting mobile communication industry are clear. What is as
customer demands in this regard. yet unknown is the role that OEMs will play in future.
Equipment manufacturer or service provider? Nokia or
"If I drove a clean vehicle with low emissions and low fuel consumption, I would like other people
to be able to see it (e.g. through the logo or design)" Vodafone? Or both (such as Apple in music)?
The guidelines: Customer focus, product differentiation
> The majority of European1) customers and long-term strategy
23 (59%) would like other people to be able
18 18 to see that they had chosen to drive a
> The highest figure was in France (70%).
(70%) The key elements in defining a product strategy are a
But even in Germany, around half of
customers wanted their choice to be
obvious to others
product mix oriented to the target segment, good product
differentiation and a consistent long-term portfolio strategy.
1) Germany, UK and France
Source: Roland Berger customer survey carried out by TNS Infratest 02/2009
(a) Focus on target segments and customer require-
Figure 4: Customer demand for distinctive designs in low-emission ments. Analyze your target segments thoroughly for
vehicles different powertrain technologies, identify differences
and address them clearly in product design and portfo-
The first really attractive new customer segment for elec- lio composition.
tric vehicles is also likely to have specific characteristics
and requirements. They may well be "lifestyle greens". (b) Be eye-catching. Make the powertrain visible through
For this segment, a distinctive design will be a make-or- the design, e.g. with retractable exhaust pipes or other
break criterion in the purchase decision. This segment gadgets. Activate purchase triggers and increase public
will also no doubt function as an opinion leader when awareness of your technological edge.
it comes to the public image of the vehicles. So OEMs
need a clear customer focus and accurate market (c) include powertrain technologies in the long-term
insights (e.g. from product clinics). product strategy. Give due attention to new techno-
logies, shifting customer demands and the potential
3. New players are entering the market, weakening need for partners (e.g. utilities). Define your compe-
the position of incumbent Western OEms titive advantage and distinctiveness clearly in your
The emergence of electric vehicles marks a radical product portfolio now.
change in the automotive industry. New players are
PriciNG: PrEmiums, PLaNNiNG issuEs aND In the longer term, they will need to identify the "sweet
GOvErNmENtaL suPPOrt spot" on the price-volume curve. Here, the willingness
of customers to pay for vehicles that actively contribute
The situation: Profits are at risk – Governments play a key to reducing emissions – a willingness that has grown
role in major European markets over the last two years (see
Figure 6) – will no doubt make a welcome contribution.
1. Economic issues remain the main driver in purchase
decisions How much extra would you be willing to spend on a new car in order to make an active contribution
to cutting carbon emissions?
Protecting the environment is an important factor in Germany [%] France [%] UK [%]
deciding to buy a vehicle with an alternative powertrain. 33 2007: x>2000= 14% 27 2007: x>2000= 10% 27 2007: x>1500= 15%
2009: x>2000= 20% 2009: x>2000= 16% 2009: x>1500= 17%
However, consumers still require a positive business 28
case for the new technology (see Figure 5). There is no 22 19 19 23
21 21 22
17 17 17
such thing as environmental friendliness "whatever it 13 14
4 3 3
Why would you consider buying Why would you not consider Less EUR EUR EUR EUR More than Less EUR EUR EUR EUR More than Less
than 100- 500- 1,000- 2,000- EUR than 100- 500- 1,000- 2,000- EUR
a hybrid vehicle? [%] buying a hybrid vehicle? [%] EUR 100 500 1,000 2,000 3,000 3,000 EUR 100 500 1,000 2,000 3,000 3,000 GBP 100 350 750 1,500 2,000 2,000
Source: Roland Berger customer survey, carried out by TNS Infratest 02/2009
Less fuel consumption in
80 Higher purchase price 55
city driving, so lower costs
Actively cuts emissions and 79 Few models on the market
helps the environment 49
Expected vehicle tax relief 55 Limited battery life before
Figure 6: Willingness to pay for vehicles with reduced emission values
Less noise pollution 34
Lack of trust in new technologies 23
Latest technology 33
Too much technology –
likely to break down
23 Planning for long-term profit is complex. Complicating
Starts quietly 29
Accelerates faster than vehicles
Other 19 matters still further is the fact that a number of other fi-
with gasoline or diesel engines1)
Trendy image 4
Handling d i l l h
H dli g and noise levels when
driving on the highway 11 nancial effects also have to be taken into account – the
1) With the same performance
Source: Roland Berger customer survey, carried out by TNS Infratest 12/2007
erosion of residual value for financed or leased vehicles,
for example. Another real risk to the corporate bottom
Figure 5: Purchase drivers for vehicles with reduced emission values line is how service and retail profits on electric vehicles
will develop over time. After all, the electric vehicles are
2. New technologies put profits at risk in theory largely maintenance-free, so there will be little
One of the key challenges in introducing hybrid techno- room for making money from servicing them.
logy is minimizing the amount of "trunk money" automa-
kers have to pay for the first generation of each vehicle. 3. subsidies by national or local governments can coun-
In the US, which currently has the highest number of ter profit hurdles
hybrid models on the market, the average price premium Many governments have understood that they need to
for hybrids lies between USD 5,000 and USD 7,500. subsidize new technologies in order for them to be wi-
This is thought to be slightly less than the additional dely adopted. Under discussion are tax reliefs and other
costs incurred by OEMs. incentives worth several thousand euros. Governments
around the world play a crucial role in the diffusion of
The profit issue will be even more pressing when the new technology. Significant long-term government com-
first plug-in enabled hybrid models are introduced. Their mitments to subsidies will be a key determinant of how
more powerful drive train modules will likely involve the market develops.
additional costs of EUR 10,000 to EUR 15,000 per
vehicle. Experts think this figure will fall only slowly over The guidelines: Address premiums, solve planning issues
time, to around EUR 8,000 per vehicle in five years' time and clarify the situation with regard to governmental
and EUR 4,000 ten years down the road. support
OEMs find themselves in a trade-off situation. They must Marketing executives should focus on the triggers for price
balance high volumes and progress along the learning premiums. They must also balance monetary and non-
curve with their losses from vehicles sold below cost. monetary effects in their portfolio planning and achieve
The challenge for automakers will be to find ways to clarity regarding government actions in different countries
increase their premiums better than their competitors. around the globe.
(a) address price premiums. OEMs need to learn how ries that are capital heavy. OEMs must consider these
to raise the price premiums for their new powertrain implications properly when planning their global rollout
vehicles. They should assess all possible levers – from strategy. Often, a gradual approach that focuses first on
branding to product design – and take the necessary urban areas will be appropriate.
action to secure market success.
3. For electric vehicles, infrastructure is key –
(b) achieve a price/volume optimum in planning. First partnerships are evolving
Automakers must optimize their vehicle and powertrain EVs call for completely new infrastructure solutions.
planning in a way that minimizes losses from early Many automakers have already formed partnerships and
market introduction and maximizes the learning curve alliances with energy providers: Daimler with RWE and
effect and public awareness of technological leader- VW with e.on, for example (see Figure 7). Some OEMs
ship. The key will be an integrated approach incorpora- have yet to find partners. Such alliances, whether verti-
ting all powertrain technologies. cally with utility providers and suppliers or horizontally
with other OEMs (with the aim of establishing standards
(c) clarify governmental subsidies. Planning requires and decreasing costs), will be vital for any automaker
long-term clarity regarding governmental subsidies for planning to be active on the market for EVs.
new technologies. The automotive industry needs to
bundle its interests to achieve transparency and com- Subaru Daimler VW Mitsubishi
Toyota Nissan GM, Ford,
mitment as early as possible. RWE
saLEs aND sErvicE: traiN yOur saLEs aND sErvicE e on
OrGaNizatiON aND FiND PartNErs EDISON
The situation: Infrastructure and the sales and service TEPCO
network are key Source: Press clippings, Roland Berger
1. Expert dealers can help OEms differentiate Figure 7: Examples of partnerships between OEMs and elctricity
In our survey, respondents said that dealers' understan-
ding of issues such as fuel efficiency, emission values The guidelines: Train your dealers, find adequate partners
and making the right choices when it comes to clean
drive technology were only satisfactory. Just 32% think (a) improve your sales and service network. Seize
that their dealers are able to offer good professional the opportunity to build a competitive advantage by
advice on clean drive technology. With the introduction making your sales force experts in alternative drive
of new technology, customers' buying decisions will grow technologies. Include them in your communication
even more complex. OEMs can make themselves stand activities.
out from the competition by having expert, well-trained
dealers. (b) Prepare a local rollout strategy. Work out what the
implications of new technologies are for your global
2. the service requirements for new technologies are rollout.
challenging the industry
New technologies have a number of implications for (c) Find partners. Identify potential partners – suppliers,
OEMs' service networks. High-voltage electricians are utilities and other OEMs – who can provide access to
needed to work on electric powertrain modules. New specific knowledge and resources, help define stan-
logistics concepts are needed for parts such as batte- dards and reduce costs.
act NOW: GEttiNG startED 9. Does your product portfolio roadmap consistently reflect
the different powertrain technologies and their implica-
Automakers need to act now to gain a competitive edge. tions? Is it flexible enough to react to breakthroughs in
New technology, customer demands and the factors driving technology or unexpected moves by your competitors?
market success have all changed. Marketing and sales are
often neglected – yet they form the key to success. Pricing
10. Have you identified key triggers for higher price premi-
Here are 16 questions to help you assess whether your ums for your new technologies and taken appropriate
organization is properly prepared for the changes ahead. action?
You should be able to answer "yes" to each of the ques- 11. Is your product portfolio roadmap geared toward
tions. If you answer "no" to any of them, you'll know where achieving a long-term price/volume optimum? In other
to take action. words, does it find a balance between pre-empting
markets and minimizing relevant investments?
corporate strategy 12. Have you prepared a clear plan for screening (and
1. Is developing sustainable solutions for individual mobi- supporting) governmental decisions about subsidies
lity an integral part of your corporate strategy? Is it truly for new technologies?
understood and shared by your organization?
2. Are all current and future powertrain technologies syste- sales and service
matically integrated into your portfolio strategy and cycle 13. Is your sales and service network already an integral
plan? By segment and by region? part of your market launch strategy? Does it exploit the
3. Do your corporate efforts strive unwaveringly toward buil- full potential to market cars with alternative powertrain
ding market-oriented competitive advantages through technology to end customers, small businesses and
alternative powertrain technology? large fleets?
14. Are you actively working toward partnerships with sup-
Branding and promotion pliers, utilities and potentially even competitors?
4. Have you assessed your brand's fit with your current and
future customers' environmental requirements and taken Organization and implementation
any necessary action? 15. Are the implications of new powertrain technologies
5. Have your engineers, product managers and commu- and customer requirements reflected in the scorecards
nication specialists defined your key differentiators in of all executives – not just those working in R&D?
terms of environmental issues? Are their actions geared 16. Have you allocated responsibility for everything to do
toward these differentiators? with new powertrain technologies, so that cross-func-
6. Does your internal and external communication ensure tional activities can be properly coordinated?
that your organization, suppliers and partners are pro-
perly aligned with your technological roadmap? Do they Obviously, there are more questions. However, one remains:
have shared expectations and motivation? Did you plan Does your organization put as much emphasis on marketing
your marketing spend accordingly? your technological competence as it does on developing it?
In many cases today we doubt this.
7. Do you continuously analyze your global target segments As the result of public pressure, political action and deve-
to determine their powertrain technology preferences? lopments in technology, the automotive industry is under-
Are these insights systematically reflected in your pro- going radical change. Singling out just one of these areas –
duct design and portfolio decisions? technology – for response is not enough. The industry needs
8. Has your design team identified differentiators that to come up with answers on all fronts. Marketing managers
make your technological advances visible to customers play a frontline role. But they need to act now, before the
and the public in general? Are their findings reflected window of opportunity closes.
fully in the design of your future models?
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
This discussion paper was produced by the Automotive Competence Center of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants.
ROLAND BERGER STRATEGY CONSULTANTS
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, founded in 1967, is one of the world's leading strategy consultancies. With 36 offices
in 25 countries, the company has successful operations in all major international markets. In 2008, it generated approxi-
mately EUR 600 million in revenues with 2,000 employees. The strategy consultancy is an independent partnership
exclusively owned by about 180 Partners.
THE AUTOMOTIVE COMPETENCE CENTER (ACC)
As one of Roland Berger's largest Industry Competence Centers, the ACC Team supports the leading manufacturers and
suppliers of the automotive industry around the world. In close cooperation with our clients, we solve a wide range of strategic
issues and operational problems at every stage of the automotive industry value chain. Our 200
consultants worldwide draw on extensive experience in the automotive and consulting industry to generate tangible value for
The authors welcome your questions and feedback.
ralf Landmann Jan-Philipp Hasenberg
Partner Senior Consultant
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
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60311 Frankfurt am Main 60311 Frankfurt am Main
Tel.: +49 (69) 29924-6300 Tel.: +49 (69) 29924-6506
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Nicole steffen Dr. antje Lutz
Senior Consultant Consultant
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
Mies-van-der-Rohe-Strasse 6 Loeffelstrasse 46
80807 Munich 70597 Stuttgart
Tel.: +49 (89) 9230-8028 Tel.: +49 (711) 3275-7293
E-mail: Nicole_Steffen@de.rolandberger.com E-mail: Antje_Lutz@de.rolandberger.com
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants
Tel.: +49 (89) 9230-8106