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It’s no secret why consumers have been drawn to premium cars for decades. These globally recognized brands project sophistication and style. With precision engineering, sleek design, and well-appointed interiors, their vehicles offer a sublime experience.
Such features have made premium automobiles not only coveted by drivers but also immensely profitable for OEMs: in 2017, this segment made up 13 percent of vehicle sales but 40 percent of profits. Year after year, premium OEMs have waged a battle for dominance in the familiar realms of performance and styling in an effort to delight buyers.
The backdrop is a tightening market environment. Prospects for the premium segment are reassuring in the near term: global growth is forecast to be around 2 percent a year through 2021 before increasing significantly until 2030. However, changing market dynamics are beginning to be felt.
Our latest report, The new realities of premium mobility, sheds light on the seismic shifts afoot. It breaks down the trends that will upend the premium-automotive market and recommends pragmatic actions, relying on our experience, analyses, and industry expertise. This knowledge was augmented with insights derived from a survey of more than 2,000 consumers and interviews with more than 200 experts and executives in the premium-automotive segment across China, Europe, and the United States.
The rest of this article lays out highlights from our research.
After years of strong sales and steady growth, the premium-car segment is cruising into a bumpy stretch of road. Our research identified five overarching trends that will upend the auto industry in the coming years and force OEMs to respond with decisive action:
Collectively, these trends are forcing premium OEMs to reevaluate every facet of their approaches to auto design and manufacturing. Incumbent OEMs are well placed to unlock new opportunities and bring innovation to their strategies. In this shifting environment, we believe several areas hold the key:
Premium OEMs need to rethink their approach to develop the right products and services for the right customers in the right places. The most successful automakers will commit to the belief that the sale of these products and services is just the beginning of a long and valuable relationship with their customers, supported and sustained by software-enabled customization and a superior end-to-end customer experience.