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Transforming vehicle production

How shared mobility and automation will revolutionize the auto industry by 2030

Executive summary

The auto industry stands on the brink of a revolution. By 2030, vehicle production will have split between mass-market, largely no-frills “cars on demand” that will be rented journey-by-journey and more customized vehicles for those who still want to drive, or be driven in, their own vehicle.

A high level of automation will be needed to produce both types of vehicles, and every process will be affected. The pressure on the workforce will be severe.

The industry workforce will be cut by at least 50 percent by 2030, and employees who remain will need very different skills. Automakers must become data managers and mobility service providers as well as vehicle assemblers.

Here are two out of five of our key predictions for 2030:

  1. The size of the workforce on assembly lines and in body and paint shops will be halved because of automation and the new types of vehicles being assembled.
  2. We expect the time required between R&D and the point of production to shrink from the current three to five years down to two years, to keep pace with technological changes.

Since Ford began mass-producing cars more than a century ago, the car itself has transformed time and again. However, the business model involved in selling one vehicle to one owner has not altered much in that time.

The shift to shared use, accompanied by ever-greater individualization, is about to overturn that model, and OEMs must change. If they don’t, they risk being overtaken by tech companies offering mobility-as-a-service directly to customers, and going to the cheapest supplier for bulk deliveries of standard vehicles.

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Dr. Sebastian Jursch

Dr. Sebastian Jursch

Director, Strategy& Germany