GM, Daimler and Toyota Lead Automakers in Emerging Technology Partnerships

Encompassing initiatives including a push for sustainability, urbanization and materials revolution are being described as megatrends forcing OEMs to build a web of partnerships to drive innovation – or to risk being left in the dust.

Technologies such as alternative fuels, electric vehicles, and advanced composites are partial responses to these megatrends, according to a new Lux Research report, but understanding their impact on the industry requires looking at all of them in complete automotive ecosystems.

“Innovations driven by megatrends are breaking the traditional automotive ecosystem. OEMs need to evolve their partnership webs to succeed,” said Kevin See, Lux Research Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “Under the Hood: Mapping Automotive Innovations to Megatrends.” “However, we find different OEMs have dramatically different approaches – their strategies today will change the shape of the auto industry in decades to come.”

Lux Research analysts examined the growing web of cross-cutting industry relationships to separate the leading innovators from the lone wolves. Among their findings:

• General Motors leads the partnership race. GM boasts the highest activity in both materials and sustainability megatrends, while Toyota leads in urbanization. Each resides in an expansive ecosystem, forming a large number of partnerships across diverse technologies.

• Some automakers keep it local, some span the globe. Volkswagen, Toyota and Daimler look outside their continents for 77 percent of their partnerships, but BMW – like GM and Ford – keeps over half of its partnerships within Europe.

• Emerging markets pose challenges. Entrepreneurs from emerging-market countries are challenging established automakers for the mass market. Indian conglomerate Tata bought legendary British brands Range Rover and Jaguar, while Chinese carmaker Geely bought Sweden’s storied Volvo Cars.

To learn more about this subject, readers can register for the complimentary Lux Research webinar, “Technology Grand Prix: Racing towards Automotive’s Future” on July 17 at 11 a.m. EDT.

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  • Al Bunzel

    Many of the established car makers are likely to struggle forming partnerships. It is not easy. It was hard enough when West Germany and East Germany merged in 1990 even though both countries had more in common than two large established auto makers.
    Look how long the partnership between Daimler and Chrysler lasted?

    Historically, big established auto makers took over start ups, smaller corporations or broke corporations.

    The other option would be for big established auto makers to invest as share holders in a separate entity such as a research company or boutique manufacturer or one they start up so they can avoid the messy cultural fit of merging large established organizations.