May 28th 2020

The future of the automotive industry.

MCI Livetalk with Herbert Demel, former CEO of well-known automotive companies (AUDI AG, VW do Brasil, Magna Powertrain, Magna Steyr, FIAT, M+W Group)

Herbert Demel zu Gast am MCI.

© MCI/Koller

Herbert Demel, former CEO of a whole range of well-known automotive groups from Audi and VW to Magna and FIAT, answered questions from MCI students and readers of the Tiroler Tageszeitung in the MCI live talk.

He compared running a large corporation with steering an ocean liner, which can only slowly pick up speed or change direction. A decentralized company organization with small units with high decision-making authority helps to counteract this. Today, an automotive group defines itself primarily through its brand. Other strategically important issues are software and integration competence and the ability to enter into cooperation agreements.

A modern car contains more software than the most sophisticated military aircraft, but we are still a long way from real autonomous driving. His assessment of the electric car is similar: the technology is still far too expensive and therefore not suitable for volume production. A quick changeover will only be possible with government subsidies. New registrations of electric cars will probably not reach the 50 % mark until 2040.

Innovation and future topics
In the short term, the automotive industry, like everywhere else, is concerned with getting through the current crisis. In the medium term, however, the most essential point is to prevent the climate crisis. Concrete future issues that the automotive industry will have to deal with are autonomous driving or digitalization, as well as the ability to cooperate.

Although modern cars today contain more software than the most sophisticated military aircraft, we are still a long way from real autonomous driving; at best we can only speak of automated driving. Properly designing all the software and coordinating the numerous elements is the real challenge that the automotive industry faces today. The next point in this context is then to find cost advantages so that the vehicles are affordable.

The ability to cooperate will also play a decisive role in the future. However, this is often still opposed by a traditional corporate philosophy that does not want to let anyone come near it. "Many companies are too self-confident for cooperation, like gorillas, if someone gets close, they get bitten." But only those who educate their troops to be cooperative and bring the right partners on board will be successful in the future.

MCI Livetalk mit Herbert Demel playvideo

MCI Livetalk mit Herbert Demel