Zebra Technologies Corporation released the findings of its Automotive Ecosystem Vision Study, which confirmed automotive manufacturers are under pressure to accommodate growing consumers’ preference for electric vehicles (EVs) in the near future. Automotive manufacturers must plan for a smooth transition to EVs, which have very different requirements from raw materials to final assembly. Technology-led priorities will therefore be focused on increasing automation, building in-house technologies, and expanding visibility across their respective production and supply chains.
Despite a fluctuating economy, autoPHEVmotive manufacturers are ready to invest in technology innovation as seven-in-10 (74% globally, 69% in APAC) expect to increase their tech spend and six-in-10 (67% globally, 63% APAC) plan to increase their manufacturing infrastructure spend in 2023.
The survey was conducted from August to September 2022, with participation from 1,336 respondents globally, including industry decision-makers, fleet managers and consumers. In APAC, the 350 respondents were surveyed across India, Greater China, Japan, and South Korea.
APAC consumers including India respondents will prefer purchasing EVs in the future
The survey reflects that in the near future there will be a shift in preference, with more than half of consumers (53% globally, 60% in APAC including India) indicating going for a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV). However, navigating this increasing demand for EVs comes with challenges as 68% of global automotive industry decision-makers (60% in APAC including India) say they are under high pressure to produce next generation (i.e., electric) vehicles, while 75% of them (71% in APAC including India) are under high pressure to deliver products that are more eco-friendly, sustainable, and safer for the environment.
The study also highlights consumers across generations pushing automotive manufacturers’ acceleration to technology innovation as eight-in-10 say sustainability and eco-friendliness are key priorities in their vehicle purchase and lease decisions. Eighty-seven percent (87%) of Millennials prioritize sustainability in their vehicles followed closely by 78% of Gen Xers and 76% of Baby Boomers. Within APAC, 85% of consumers were aligned with these key priorities, consisting of 92% of millennials, 83% of Gen Xers and 72% of Baby Boomers prioritize sustainability the highest.
Consumers are driving the growing emphasis on personalization – the ability to customize a vehicle to their liking. Nearly four-in-five consumers say personalization options factor into their decision to purchase a vehicle, and eight-in-10 fleet managers share these same requirements for sustainability and personalization. APAC consumers resonate with this most strongly when compared with their global counterparts, with 86% prioritizing personalization options in their purchasing decisions, and 92% of fleet managers sharing the same requirements.
While nearly 80% of automotive industry decision-makers globally (77% in APAC including India) recognize consumers expect more sustainable and personalized vehicle options today, around seven-in-10 concede it’s difficult to keep up with increasing customization demands. As a result, three in four automotive manufacturers globally say a top priority is to build strategic partnerships with tech companies for their next generation of production. This number is lower across APAC, at 72% and 64% respectively.
“While it’s heartening that consumers are leaning towards a greener automotive future with greater preference towards electric vehicles, this is a signal to automotive decision-makers to actively invest more in safer technologies and robust infrastructure, to better serve their customers,” said Tan Aik Jin, Vertical Solutions Marketing Lead APAC, Zebra Technologies.
Trust and Transparency in Automotive Manufacturing
Data and information transparency is highly important to consumers and fleet managers alike, and they are seeking more visibility into the automotive ecosystem. When considering a vehicle for purchase or lease, 81% of consumers globally (85% in APAC including India) and 86% of fleet managers (92% in APAC including India) indicate they want to understand the origin of materials and parts on their vehicle. Millennials lead the way in demanding more transparency in automotive manufacturing, as more than eight-in-10 (both globally and in APAC including India) say it is important to have access to manufacturer information along with knowing if source materials and parts are sustainable and understanding how the vehicle is manufactured from end-to-end.
Beyond gaining greater visibility into the automotive manufacturing process, once they have their vehicles, 88% of consumers (82% in APAC including India) and 86% of fleet managers (88% in APAC including India) want to understand how the data from their vehicles will be used by the automotive ecosystem.
After a vehicle purchase, 83% of consumers and 84% of fleet managers expect ownership and control of the data their vehicle generates. This sentiment is similarly shared within APAC, by 86% of consumers and 88% of fleet managers.
Automotive Supply Chain Visibility
A majority of consumers (79% globally, 83% in APAC including India) and fleet managers (81% globally, 84% in APAC including India) want end-to-end visibility during the manufacturing process. However, only around three-in-10 automotive industry decision-makers say they will prioritize connecting real-time data systems (30% in APAC including India) to enable a holistic view of operations and increase visibility across production and throughout the supply chain over the next five years (32% in APAC including India).
“To provide real-time visibility throughout the supply chain, digitizing operations via RFID and rugged handheld mobile computers can ensure that both regulations and sustainability expectations are met effectively and efficiently,” added Tan.
Slightly more than one-third of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) globally and in APAC said autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), RFID, rugged handheld mobile computers and scanners as well as industrial machine vision will improve supply chain management. Similarly, for suppliers, one-third of those surveyed cite mobile barcode label/thermal printers, wearable computers and location technology as the technologies to do so.
“Manufacturers are innovating to meet changing customer demands, and they are increasing their investment in technologies to deliver more personalized and sustainable vehicles. Along with this, they also need to ramp up their end-to-end supply-chain visibility to build the next level of trust with their customers,” said Rajnish Gupta, Vice President and Head, India and sub-continent business, Zebra Technologies. “We are ready to help automotive manufacturers enhance their operational capabilities through digitalization through varying solutions like the L10ax rugged tablet, RFD90 ultra-rugged UHF RFID sleds, MC9300 DPM mobile computer, and Workforce Connect, just to name a few.”
Overall, around seven-in-10 automotive industry decision-makers (76% globally, 67% in APAC including India) agree digital transformation is a strategic priority for their organization. In the next five years, they anticipate expanding their use of technology, with 47% (both globally and in APAC including India) focused on additive manufacturing/3D printing and 45% globally (46% in APAC including India) on supply chain planning solutions.