Yanfeng Automotive Interiors CEO Johannes Roters is energized by the megatrends that are changing the industry because he remembers a time when things were a bit stagnant.
“For a long time, this industry was very consistent. A model came, then a new model came. Perhaps there were more safety features or other new extras,” Roters told me. "Now, we need e-cars, we need even more connectivity and autonomous driving is on the way. This industry is reinventing itself.”
The 61-year-old German executive is witnessing the transformation at the office and at home, where his children are developing a completely different relationship with the car.
“When I was 18 I said, ‘I need a car.’ For me, a car meant freedom. My daughters don't see the car as freedom. For example, my youngest daughter, who lives in Berlin, tells me, ‘Dad, I have an app that tells me there is a vehicle 500 meters from my apartment. I get the car. I use the car for an hour. Then I park the car wherever I want to leave it.’ It still gets her from point A to point B, but she places a different level of importance on the car. This is happening everywhere. To them, the car is a very different device. It still moves them from place to place but it is becoming a living space in your life.”
As the leader of one of the world’s largest interiors suppliers, Roters knows the evolution of the car into a living space on wheels will be beneficial to YFAI because he’s open to selling solutions to Google, Uber, Daimler or Company X.
“Interiors are our core competence and so is mobility,” he said. “Experience and motion are blending together. We want to be part of this.”