Auto focus

Driving demand in the disruptive era

Connectivity, autonomous driving, the shared economy and electrification—or CASE. These megatrends are disrupting the automotive industry as we know it, creating new types of demand. When you factor in the rising costs of raw materials and labor as well, it’s clear automakers are under enormous pressure. Though most are responding to the challenge, a small group of innovative companies are distinguishing themselves in this new era. We call them the Automotive Champions.

This report shines a light on what sets them apart.

Tech takes the wheel

Automotive companies are facing new challenges they’ve never seen before. Driving is no longer just about the thrill of the open road but also about experiences while driving—listening to music, holding a meeting or catching up on current events.

Taken together, these trends—connectivity, autonomous driving, the sharing economy and electrification—have the potential to fuel a growing market for mobility services in the future. Accenture research shows that by 2030, traditional automotive sales will grow marginally to $2.2 trillion. In contrast, revenues from mobility services will soar to over half of that at $1.3 trillion during the same period.


Accenture research shows that by 2030, traditional automotive sales will grow marginally to $2.2 trillion.


In contrast, revenues from mobility services will soar to over half of that at $1.3 trillion during the same period.

The auto industry’s new value propositions

While auto companies may potentially be battered by broad economic and social forces, they can strike back and exploit new value propositions to capture 21st century-driven opportunities.

The design advantage

Carmakers are merely scratching the surface of these new value propositions. And all of these efforts to please the consumer are not cheap. It is therefore no surprise to see that the automotive companies interviewed for our survey are making the most innovation investments in design and engineering.

Step innovation up a gear

To take advantage of these new technologies, automotive companies must reinvent the products and services they offer. They must also digitally innovate how they create value across key business functions, at scale, to achieve a commercially viable ROI.

But out of the 199 automotive companies (both OEM and OES) with annual revenues in excess of $1 billion we studied, only a quarter are succeeding at scaling digital innovation. We call them the Automotive Champions. They have not only successfully scaled more than half of their digital proof of concepts (POCs), but also earned higher than average returns on their digital investment (RODI).

And almost three quarters of the companies in our research earn an RODI lower than the industry average, irrespective of how much they scale. This implies that simply scaling more doesn’t guarantee success.

Axel Schmidt​

Senior Managing Director and Industry Managing Director, Mobility

Aidan Quilligan

Managing Director and Global Industry X.0 Lead

Raghav Narsalay

Managing Director, Global Research lead, Industry X.0

Aarohi Sen

Thought Leadership Research Manager, Industry X.0


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Automotive Champions employ three distinct mindsets

A closer look at the Automotive Champions underscores the importance of how you scale POCs over how many POCs you scale. These leaders view innovation and the associated costs differently, spending more time and money than their peers to design and build differentiated products.

They have the courage to scale new digital innovation at the right pace so they neither miss the moment nor overreach themselves. It is their progressive mindsets that allow them to pivot their organization to new value propositions and earn higher returns on digital investments. We distilled three distinct mindsets.


Automotive Champions consider innovation spending as an investment and show strong commitment to it.


Automotive Champions achieve tangible and timely returns on their investments.


Most companies continue to work and collaborate in conventional ways to avoid racking up costs. Champions make unique, differentiated investments in growth levers to enhance productivity and agility.

The critical question today is how can businesses simultaneously prepare for unprecedented social, political, environmental and technological challenges—both imminent and distant?

Innovation highway

We’ve learned from our research that only a handful of companies are taking on disruptive forces, making dynamic decisions and successfully remaking industries. We call them the Champions.

The Champions understand that digital technology is creating more discerning customers who want connected products that don’t pollute, save time, and are easy to use. But Champions also know how to create these products.

Our research shows three mindsets work best together to help any company that wants to become a Champion. First, view digital innovation as an investment that needs thoughtful allocation, not a cost that ought to be cut. Second, set timely and robust expectations on return on digital investments. Third, invest in five in-house levers to scale digital innovation—skills, platforms, technology, partnerships and leadership.

The payoff from adopting these mindsets can be substantial, and help any company answer this simple question: Will you move beyond the usual guardrails and remake your business to successfully thrive in today’s competitive marketplace?

Get the Essentials

For more detailed insights on how Automotive Champions are remaking their industry, read the full research report.

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