According to industry observers, it will take a few more years for the car industry and suppliers to invest in new technologies and business models before they can generate stable profits.

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) believes that models with combustion engines will in all likelihood have an increasingly difficult time. In a recent analysis, she assumes that almost all of the growth in the industry in 2035 will come from the areas of e-mobility, autonomous driving, software and transport services. Although the profit margin will still decrease in the short term, in the long term the BCG experts place it at more than 6 percent on average.

Remodeling requires huge expenses

The conversion of the core industry to less climate-damaging drives and increasing networking requires enormous expenditure. Many players in the industry are convinced that in the end this is also worthwhile from an economic point of view. The merging of individual, increasingly machine-controlled cars with the rest of the transport system could therefore create a new super industry – BCG calculates by the middle of the next decade with a total turnover of up to 8.3 trillion US dollars and a total profit of 524 billion US dollars (490 billion euros). The experts analyzed the prospects for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

In many cases, environmentalists are calling for a much faster and more decisive change, and the upheaval in the world of work is not without major breaks in the areas of skilled workers and further qualification. According to BCG’s expectations, conventional diesel and petrol engines, in whose components and production technology smaller suppliers in particular are often still specialized, de facto no longer have a future. By 2035, the consultants believe that previous profits in the traditional area could drop by 60 percent – including plug-in hybrids.

Connection to China and the USA

The companies in the European automotive industry would also have to hurry in order not to lose touch with China and the USA in promising fields. Most of the additional business is expected in both countries, while more moderate increases in earnings are probably conceivable in Europe.

With a view to the recently sharply reduced sales, also due to the delivery problems with microchips, the analysts emphasized: “The decline in classic profits will be particularly pronounced in developed car markets, where we see no further growth in overall sales, such as the USA and Europe.” In general, what is needed in the next few years are “bold, proactive steps to rethink how vehicles are designed, built, sold, maintained and operated”.