- German manufacturers occupy the podium places
- Tesla and Hyundai dominate the midfield
- Geely, GM and Toyota are losing innovative strength
- Xpeng leads the newcomer innovation ranking ahead of US start-up Lucid
Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler and Tesla have remained the most innovative global automotive groups since 2016, ahead of Hyundai, Ford and Stellantis. With BYD, Great Wall and Geely, three Chinese manufacturers made it into the top ten for the first time. Overall, the Chinese automobile manufacturers are among the big winners of recent years and can significantly increase their innovative performance.
The Japanese manufacturers in particular are losing innovative strength, with the world’s top-selling car manufacturer Toyota only coming in 13th. At the same time, automotive start-ups such as Xpeng, Nio, Rivian and Lucid are pushing their way into the world market with high innovation dynamics.
These are the core results of the current AutomotiveINNOVATIONS study by the Center of Automotive Management (CAM) in Bergisch Gladbach, which takes stock of the technical vehicle innovations of 30 automotive groups with more than 80 automotive brands. The long-term comparison is based on around 2900 innovations that were introduced between 2016 and 2021 (January 1st). Six months) were produced in series models. All innovations were evaluated according to quantitative and qualitative criteria.
German manufacturers occupy the podium places
The German automobile manufacturers have so far been able to maintain their strong innovative performance even in the transformation phase of the industry since 2015. the Volkswagen Group with the core brands VW, Audi and Porsche is above both comparison periods (2016 to 2018 and. 2019 to 2021) in the innovation ranking with 366 (or. 410) index points ahead despite a slight decline. The innovation performance in the years 2019-21 will be supported in particular by innovations in the technology fields of electric drives as well as operating and display concepts.
Rank 2 of the most innovative manufacturers bmw with 282 index points ahead (+37 percent) and in a neck-and-neck race pushed Daimler into third place. During this period, BMW created 125 world and group innovations that were ready for series production, such as the active traffic light assistant of the Urban Cruise Control system, which independently recognizes red traffic lights and comes to a standstill in front of them. Daimler, now Mercedes Benz Cars, presented numerous innovations with the new presentation of its S-Class (2020), such as the MBUX interior assistant or the digital light, which u.a. can warn of roadworks by symbols projected onto the road. Overall, the Stuttgart-based company is just behind its core competitor with 118 identified and individually evaluated world and group innovations.
Tesla and Hyundai dominate the midfield
The US electric car manufacturer Tesla achieves a strong fourth place in both observation periods despite fewer model series. With series-ready world innovations from the fields of electric drive technology (e.g.B. Range optimization Model S) and driver assistance systems (e.g.B. Navigate on Autopilot Model 3), Tesla can even increase its innovative strength by around 37 percent. Hyundai can assert itself in fifth place in the minivan segment with innovations such as the Kia e-Soul (2019) being the best in terms of power consumption. However, the gap between the South Koreans and Tesla and the top 3 has increased somewhat.
Surprisingly, the US group is one of the biggest winners in a period comparison ford, who moves up to rank 6 and improves by five places. Overall, Ford has been able to produce around twice as many series innovations since 2019 as in the first period under review, with more than 65 group and world innovations. The main reasons for this positive development are innovative models such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E (2020), which sets new standards in terms of electric range in the medium-size SUV segment, or the Ford F-150 (2020), which is the world’s first Pick-up truck can receive new or improved assistance systems via over-the-air updates (OTA). the Stellantis-Group with its 14 brands, resulting from the merger of PSA and Fiat-Chrysler, ranks 7th.
In addition to Ford, the Chinese companies in particular are gaining in importance in the innovation ranking. So learns BYD with an increase in innovative power of more than 300 percent, the largest growth of all automobile manufacturers considered in a period comparison and takes eighth place. A broad electric offensive is primarily responsible for this, since BYD produced a large number of purely electric vehicles in various segments at an early stage. In addition, BYD benefits from the Didi D1, developed in cooperation with Didi Chuxing (Chinese mobility provider), a lower mid-range electric car specially designed for ride-hailing purposes, which has special features such as a rainbow-colored “pick-up light”.
Also Great Wall in the second period under consideration (2019-21) with an increase of more than 160 percent in innovative power and brings world firsts ready for series production such as a gesture-based autonomous parking function in the Wey Mocha (2021) on the market. SAIC increases its innovative strength primarily due to an expanded range of electric vehicles (e.g.B. Roewe Ei5, Roewe ER6 or Maxus T90) and thanks to the introduction of the Baojun E300, a fully electric microcar that can already drive semi-autonomously as standard according to SAE Level 2.
“Electric mobility, networking and autonomous driving are leading to a dramatic change that will lead to a reorganization of the industry over the next ten years. Despite all the prophecies of doom, the German automotive groups currently have a very high innovative strength and cover a wide range of technologies with their innovations. However, due to the high level of innovation dynamics, this positive snapshot is not a long-term guarantee of survival. Tesla and other newcomers, especially from China, are already scoring with a high level of innovative strength and are putting the established manufacturers under enormous competitive pressure. In the transformation phase of the industry, comprehensive competencies in the areas of electromobility, connected services and autonomous driving are becoming the decisive prerequisites for success and survival for automobile manufacturers.“ – Stefan Bratzel, Head of CAM
Geely, GM and Toyota are losing innovative strength
The biggest losers in a period comparison include Geely, which is the only Chinese company to show a decline in innovative strength in the second period under review, as well as General Motors (GM) and the Japanese conglomerate Toyota. Geely, its innovative power largely from the Swedish subsidiary brands Volvo and polestar influenced, cannot maintain its very high level of innovation in the previous period and falls back from sixth to tenth place.
The US company too General Motors cannot build on the innovative strength of the first period and slips from ninth to twelfth place. Despite the introduction of new, innovative models such as the GMC Hummer EV, which sets new standards with a maximum achievable charging capacity of up to 350 kW, GM missed out on a place in the top ten with a drop in innovation performance of around ten percent.
The example Toyota shows that stagnation in a dynamic competitive environment makes it difficult to catch up with the competition. While other companies were often able to increase their innovative strength in the high double-digit percentage range, Toyota remained at about the same level of innovation as in the first period and thus slipped from tenth to thirteenth place. With Nissan and Honda other Japanese manufacturers are deteriorating. While Nissan dropped from 14th to 16th place, Honda lost 7 places and only came in 19th. Tata Motors can also demonstrate the innovative strength of its premium brands jaguar and land rover did not hold up in the previous period and slipped from rank 8 to rank 17.
Xpeng leads the newcomer innovation ranking ahead of US start-up Lucid
The entry of Chinese and American newcomers and start-ups is fundamentally changing the global automotive market. Against this background, CAM has created a separate newcomer ranking that compares the innovative strength of the four electrical start-ups Xpeng, Lucid, Nio and Rivian in the 2019-21 period. The Chinese car manufacturer secures itself Xpeng with world firsts in the key innovation field of connectivity (e.g.B. OTA-enabled operating system Xmart OS in the Xpeng G3) took first place.
The US start-up Lucid With its only model to date, the Lucid Air, Motors is setting new standards in terms of electric range (up to 830 km according to the EPA cycle), impresses with its high charging capacity (up to 300 kW) and is in second place overall.
noo, Another Chinese player brought a completely new approach to electromobility to the streets with its battery replacement concept launched in 2018, taking third place.
The EV start-up supported by the large corporation Amazon Rivian Despite the market valuation of over 80 billion US dollars and a marginal delivery volume to date, automotive is in fourth place.
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