KPMG’s Global Automotive Executive Survey 2012
First publishedon www.WorldHighways.com
With China slated to be the world’s biggest market for auto sales and exports by 2025, and demand for electric vehicles expected to be the highest in emerging markets, global auto players should have a clearer vision of the way forward on issues critical to the industry. But it appears they don’t just yet, according to KPMG International’s 13th annual Global Automotive Executive Survey - managing growth while navigating uncharted routes.
“Compared to previous years’ results, the findings this year tell us that auto experts have no clear idea of the direction the industry is heading,” said Mathieu Meyer, KPMG’s head of automotive for Europe and a partner in the German firm. “One thing is certain, electromobility is the most critical trend for the industry — how and when fully-electric cars will be a reality is dependent on a variety of complex and interrelated factors.”
While the industry continues to weigh the relative advantages of various electrified fuel technologies, it is clear that ownership of the e-components space (battery management and chemistry, power electronics, e-motors, battery cells and packs, etc.) will draw intense competition among original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers. Fifty-four per cent of respondents said that electric component suppliers will gain a bigger role by 2025 and 40 percent of respondents predict that OEMs will lead in that area in addition to traditional power train technologies.
“In light of the fact that respondents believe that OEMs will dominate this segment, the study also showed that the underlying technologies of e-components, offered no major differentiation,” Meyer said. “Currently OEMs are predicted to be the owner of almost all parts of the value chain, but sooner or later OEMs have to focus on their core competencies, which probably lie in brand management, especially with regard to the premium segment.”
Despite the fact that 76 per cent globally said that fuel efficiency is still the most important factor affecting consumer-buying decisions, followed this year by environmental friendliness (65 per cent), two-thirds don’t expect electric vehicles to exceed 15 per cent of annual global sales within the next 15 years. But that does not seem to be the case in China, Japan as well as other high-growth markets where electromobility is expected to take hold sooner, according to the survey findings.
Respondents in Asia, China and Japan in particular, predict a higher penetration of fully electric vehicles than the global average by 2025; well over 50 per cent of respondents from China expect that upwards of 11 to 25 per cent (or 4 to 9 million vehicles) will be new car registrations for e-cars, while 46 per cent of respondents from Japan predict that e-car registrations will exceed 25 per cent. That is in contrast to the US, where nearly 50 per cent believe new e-car registrations will account for only 6 to 10 per cent by 2025. Chief among the issues manufacturers and suppliers seem uncertain about is which fuel technology will emerge as the optimal and predominant method to power the electric car by 2025.
Globally, hybrid vehicles are expected to lead the market and attract the most investment in the interim with full hybrids and plug-in versions expected to be the favoured technologies, and fuel-cell vehicles coming in third. This year’s survey found that respondents see an improvement in battery and fuel cell technologies, and there are signs that fuel cells may be viewed as the preferred option; nevertheless, uncertainty still lingers.
This scenario is expected to play out differently in China and Japan where 33 per cent and 46 per cent of respondents, respectively, said that battery-electrified vehicles will be the most popular followed by fuel-cell vehicles.
“The industry faces a tough decision on whether to place more trust and resources in fuel-cell or battery vehicle concepts in the long-term,” commented Meyer. “Hybrids may be more popular in the interim than pure, battery-powered cars, but the hidden champion that could emerge will be fuel-cell vehicles.”
Interestingly, nearly two-thirds of respondents globally said that optimisation of the internal combustion engine (ICE) currently offers greater efficiency and the most potential for carbon emission reduction than the current electromobility technologies over the next five years.