Automotive 2025—How consumers, mobility, and blurred boundaries disrupt the industry

Automotive enterprises must adapt to how consumers can access vehicles in new ways—and how cars fit into complex transportation options.

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For decades, the auto industry was a tight ecosystem with defined boundaries. The auto manufacturers ruled—even consumers didn’t have much of a voice. That all began to change with the growth of digital technologies. Based on their digital experiences with other industries, today’s consumers now expect seamless, omni-channel and customized auto-related experiences.

As personal mobility expectations grow, non-traditional enterprises are offering technologies to help consumers with driving, including getting directions and more. New business models such as car sharing even threaten the need to own a vehicle. Industry ecosystems continue to intersect and overlap. In the future, this will affect major industry processes as traditional roles change and industry borders fade.

Six years ago, we published our last major industry perspective, “Automotive 2020: Clarity beyond the chaos.”¹ To update our understanding of the future, we shifted the lens out for this “Auto 2025” report. We asked 175 executives how they expect the industry to change over the next decade and how they plan to deal with those changes.

In both reports, executives ranked technology progress as the most important external force they face. Our new study also reveals three primary disruptors that set the stage for innovation and value rather than being a negative influence. These primary disruptors—consumers, mobility, and the ecosystem—are causing traditional industry borders to be redrawn or even disappear.

Interconnectedness is the essence of the creative disruption ahead: between consumers and automakers; between consumers and vehicles; and among traditional and non-traditional participants in the industry ecosystem. Looking toward 2025, the enterprises that welcome openness are setting the stage for success.

As automakers move forward, this report provides specific recommendations for engaging with consumers, disrupting products and services, and embracing mobility and exploiting the ecosystem.

¹ Rishi, Sanjay, Benjamin Stanley, and Kalman Gyimesi. “Automotive 2020: Clarity beyond the chaos.” IBM Institute for Business Value. August 2008. http://gerpisa.org/system/files/gbe03079-usen-auto2020.pdf

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Meet the authors

Ben Stanley, Automotive Research Leader, IBM Institute for Business Value

Kal Gyimesi

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, Automotive industry Marketing Leader