Plug-in vehicles set to lead the e-vehicle race

KPMG’s 2014 Automotive Executive Survey reveals trends impacting a fast-evolving market

Toronto, ON (Feb. 10, 2014) – Plug-in hybrids are forecasted to win the race among e-vehicles to produce cleaner, more efficient vehicles, according to the 15th annual Global Automotive Executive Survey. The Global Automotive Executive Survey is KPMG International’s annual assessment of the current state and future prospects of the worldwide automotive industry.

The automotive industry is undergoing significant changes, with several influences shaping the sector this year. The survey reveals the sector has entered the fast lane of alternative powertrain technologies; one of the major influences shaping the automotive landscape today. Automakers are undergoing changes on many other fronts as well, from a shift from partnerships and alliances to organic growth strategies, to the continued emphasis on mobility solutions and advancing technologies, to the optimization of internal combustion engines (ICE).

Key survey influences include:

  • Plug-in vehicles lead the pack: Plug-in vehicles are becoming the dominant e-technology and are expected to take an increasing market share. Fuel cell vehicles are also experiencing a rise in popularity, with 69 per cent of respondents considering fuel cell technology critical to future growth.
  • Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) make strategic shift: Organic growth has overtaken joint ventures and partnerships as the favoured business strategy. Eighty-four per cent of OEMs from the TRIAD countries (Japan, Western Europe and North America) list organic growth as their main business strategy.
  • ICE a top priority: Optimization of the traditional ICE remains the clear priority for automakers with almost half (46 per cent) saying their biggest powertrain investment over the next five years will be ICE optimization. Seventy-six per cent identified ICE downsizing as the major focus for the automotive industry, which may slow advances in e-vehicles.
  • Growth in urban centres changing ownership culture: Patterns of vehicle use and ownership are changing as the world’s population grows. Mobility solutions such as car sharing are becoming increasingly popular, with many major automakers moving into the space. Almost half of respondents feel mobility solutions can deliver a profit within the next five years.
  • Automotive dealerships – a future divide: Opinions on the future of the automotive dealership are divided among respondents, with almost half believing that conventional models are inappropriate, as online retailing and multi-brand providers are set to rise significantly. Sixty-three per cent also view multi-brand dealerships as a successful model.

Faced with relatively long development cycles, these industry changes are not taking place sequentially, which is why automakers are investing in downsizing the internal combustion engine in parallel with investment in alternative electro-propulsion. In this competitive sector, innovation is critical to survival, and it is necessary to achieve technological leadership and adopt forward-looking mobility solutions./p>

About the survey

Strategies for a Fast-Evolving Market surveyed 200 senior executives including automaker, suppliers, dealers, financial service providers, rental companies and mobility service providers from 28 countries in July and August 2013. Forty-one per cent of the respondents are based across Europe, Middle East and Africa, 35 per cent in the Asia Pacific region and 25 per cent in the Americas. All of the participants represent companies with annual revenues greater than US$100 million, and 39 per cent work for organizations with revenues of over US$10 billion.

About KPMG

KPMG LLP, an Audit, Tax and Advisory firm ( and a Canadian limited liability partnership established under the laws of Ontario, is the Canadian member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG member firms around the world have 155,000 professionals, in 155 countries.

The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International, a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity, and describes itself as such.