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For a successful automotive supplier industry of tomorrow

What automotive suppliers must do to avoid jeopardizing their global position in the market

Lockdowns, short-time work and delivery problems: The tense situation of automotive suppliers worldwide continued in 2020. Following the declining sales of the previous year, the top suppliers to the automotive industry lost a significant 12% of their sales in 2020. Yet, the decline was less severe than initially feared.

The regional comparison shows major differences. Asian suppliers have come through the crisis better, with an 8% drop in sales, and have not only regained but even expanded their global market shares that they lost after 2010. For the supplier industry in other geographies, on the other hand, the situation is critical: in the midst of the transformation, the Covid-19 induced decline in sales has eaten up important equity reserves.

It is striking that suppliers in all regions have not lost sight of the long-term challenge of transformation despite the exceptional economic situation. In particular, they have hardly cut back on their R&D spending as a driver of innovation. In addition to continued innovation, cost discipline is now the order of the day to continue success on the world markets.

„To ensure that suppliers can continue to actively shape the transformation of their industry, CFOs are required to make their balance sheet structure fit for the challenges ahead. German suppliers in particular should increase their own resilience through efficient capital allocation to not jeopardize their global position in the market.“

Henning Rennert, Strategy& Germany

Farsightedness and discipline are required to still be successful tomorrow


Asian suppliers emerge from the crisis with momentum and advantage ...

... clever strategies are required to continue to play a leading role in the world market


Important financial reserves have been depleted by the coronavirus ...

... now costs are to be optimized in order to drive the transformation of the industry forward in a targeted manner

Scope of analysis of the study

For this study, 80 top international supplier companies with a share of more than 50% sales in the automotive sector were examined. The analysis included the financial key figures of the suppliers (balance sheet ratios, P&L ratios and other key figures such as the R&D ratio). The period under review for the study covers the years 2010 to 2020 with a focus on 2019 and 2020.

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Henning Rennert

Henning Rennert

Partner, Strategy& Germany

Dr. Raimund Wolf

Dr. Raimund Wolf

Director, Strategy& Germany