Future mobility concepts – A critical analysis of the impact of digitization on the automotive industry 1/2

Future mobility concepts – A critical analysis of the impact of digitization on the automotive industry 1/2

Welcome to our series of articles about current theses of our students!

The alumna Elisabeth Bouikidou has written an outstanding master’s thesis on “Future Mobility Concepts – A critical analysis of the impact of digitization on the automotive industry” as part of her Digital Management studies at the Hochschule Fresenius in Cologne. The summary is presented below. Read the first part now and look forward to the continuation on October 30, 2020!


Automobiles were initially underestimated

„The worldwide demand for motorcars will never exceed a number of 5000“. This statement presented by Carl Benz within his lifetime clearly emphasizes his underestimation regarding the presence and existence of automobiles in the future. In fact, this assumption has been surpassed by 200 thousand times considering that nowadays approximately one billion passenger cars are on the roads. According to predictions for 2030, the previously mentioned number is subject to increase by double of the amount, i.e. two billion vehicles on the roads including passenger cars, trucks and buses.

Automobiles have a manifold meaning for us

Today and more than ever, the automobile can be regarded as the epitome for freedom and independence, as it moves goods and people, connects, transports, and travels kilometer long distances every day, this way enabling individual mobility. In addition to its cultural and ideological significance, the automobile is also of great economic relevance on a global scale, especially for Germany, where the automotive industry by far constitutes the sector with the highest sales.

The automotive sector is in constant change

The production of passenger cars has been a success story since their invention in 1886. Accordingly, the automotive sector has grown steadily over the past 134 years. To guarantee its success, the industry has constantly undergone fundamental changes and adaptations to consumer wishes, trends, environmental and technological requirements. This has been particularly true in the last two decades with the increased emergence of digital applications and services, which has also influenced the way cars are manufactured, used and perceived. It can be said that the automotive industry is being put to the test more than ever before due to the impact of digitalization.

Digitization – challenge and opportunity for the automotive industry

An automobile manufacturer has long been more than just a carmaker who only supplies hardware. Digitization and the associated digital change are present in the automotive industry more than ever before, bringing new, more innovative approaches, concepts and business models that can meet the demands of the digital world. Digitization induces future topics and requires car manufacturers to deal more intensively with issues such as connectivity, autonomous driving, shared mobility, alternative drives and digitally enabled services in order to transform the challenges they face into opportunities for the industry.

Away from old ways of thinking!

The German automotive manufacturers (OEMs) have to get away from their old structures and ways of thinking. After all, in order to maintain the success they have built up, the mere provision of hardware, i.e. the production of cars, is no longer sufficient today. In the view of the experts surveyed, the traditional business practices of the automotive industry are no longer sustainable for the future, simply because the business scenario is changing dramatically and the demand for transformed models and technological inventions is growing accordingly. OEMs will inevitably have to adapt their business models by focusing on data-driven concepts and customer orientation and moving towards becoming a mobility service provider that identifies and serves needs.


Summarized and edited by Louisa Roszinski