The latest issue of the Automotive News Europe monthly magazine is ready to view. The new edition looks at why IT specialists are in high demand as automakers battle to lure programmers, coders and developers for smartphone-enabled mobility services.
Companies such as Volkswagen Group and Daimler are re-inventing themselves to attract a new generation of tech-savvy employees. VW Group premium brand Audi, for example, now describes itself as a “premium digital car company.” BMW went further by purging any direct reference to its traditional product in the group’s mission statement. Instead, the company with the word “motor” as its middle name aims to be seen as a “tech company for premium mobility.” Mercedes, meanwhile, opted to unveil its new CLA at CES in Las Vegas last month, skipping the Detroit auto show that opened just days after the tech show finished.
Despite these big moves, many experts believe the industry isn’t moving fast enough to keep pace with tech rivals. They might have a point because more than half of the car executives who took part in a recent survey still believe they can win the “battle for the dashboard” against tech giants without the need for partners that can share investments, contribute IT assets and provide digital skills. Our cover story looks at what automakers are doing to transform themselves into tech companies.
When Volvo Cars named Atif Rafiq as its first chief digital officer two years ago, luring the longtime Silicon Valley executive from McDonald’s, the automaker said it expected him to lead the company’s digital transformation. To reach this goal, Rafiq told us how Volvo is attracting top talent from the world’s best-known tech companies.
European registrations crept downward by less than 1 percent in 2018 following four straight years of sales increases. Demand tailed off in the second half largely due to disruptions from the new Worldwide harmonized Light vehicle Testing Procedure. Other factors that led to the slowdown included the stumbling Italian economy, widespread protests over the cost of living in France -- and, for the third year in a row, uncertainty over Brexit.
Continental showed a delivery robot that can climb stairs, ring the door bell and even dance. The ANYmal, from Swiss firm ANYbotics, was one of the highlights of CES, where ZF, Veoneer and Russia’s answer to Google also showcased cool new technology.