June 02nd 2023

Shaping sustainable mobility: Škoda-CEO Klaus Zellmer at MCI

Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Škoda, in his “Distinguished guest lecture” on e-mobility, the future of the automotive industry, and why it is particularly important to be fast.

Škoda-CEO Klaus Zellmer at MCI



Current global challenges and the desire for sustainability are leading to changes in many industries – also at Škoda, one of the oldest auto manufacturers in the world. Even a company that has primarily focused on combustion engines for most of its existence cannot ignore the transition towards e-mobility.

A big lineup of electric models is being developed and is expected to enter the market in the near future. "We are well-prepared to master the transition towards e-mobility," explains CEO Klaus Zellmer. Whether the production of combustion engines will be completely stopped in the future is uncertain. Škoda aims to offer the best of both worlds, but ultimately, the consumer decides where the journey will go: "It depends on the taste and driving behavior of the customers. They decide what they want, which is why we need to adapt to their needs."

Especially because of these developments, the greatest challenge and most essential attribute for a company is speed. Currently, the focus lies strongly on e-mobility, which is why new innovations in this field are being developed at an increasingly rapid pace. "It takes 52 months for a car to reach the end consumer. There is a risk of missing out on three new innovations within that time and bringing a model to the market that is already outdated. That's why we need to become faster."

Zellmer recognizes the trend within the automotive industry of basically producing a self-driving “smartphone” on four wheels: "Artificial intelligence and data have enormous potential and offer numerous possibilities." Digitization has also significantly changed consumer behavior. The countless options in the market and the impulsive decisions of customers make it more difficult to keep them with a single brand: "Today's customers switch products depending on the best digital user experience, which is why we continuously need to develop this aspect," says Zellmer. Additionally, the brand must be associated with emotions: "People want to express their personality and identify with a brand. A company needs a strong, emotional brand in order to survive."