Automotive industry experts from around the world gathered in Munich last week to attend the IAA Mobility exhibition. With themes ranging from supply chains and AI to autonomous driving, the event was underscored by Chinese OEM’s focus on EVs and competitive pricing. 

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the event: 

Major presence from Chinese automakers 

The was a notable increase in Chinese companies at the event, with organisers estimating that the number of participants from China doubled compared to 2022. This highlights Chinese OEM’s interest in Europe as a ‘strategic market’ due to great demand for EVs. 

As Chinese automakers continue to expand globally, their competitive advantage when it comes to electric vehicles is highlighted. Chinese EV makers are offering cheaper models with leading technology, with a handful of companies – such as BYD and Xpeng – emerging as leaders in this new powertrain. 

Some European OEMs are also showing interest in entering the Chinese market, with VW expanding its development expertise ‘in China for China’.   

Electrification and alternative fuels 

Electrification has already taken place and EVs are now a well-established part of the auto industry, further evidenced by a strong focus on electric powertrains in the new models presented at the exhibition. 

However, other alternative fuels should not be overlooked. For example, BMW spoke about the role of H2 hydrogen as a solution, and Porsche said that e-fuels could still play an important support role in the move away from petrol and diesel post-2035. 

Ecosystem transformation 

The next big transformation is around the ‘ecosystem’ of car ownership and mobility. While the established chain is currently ‘Suppliers-OEMs-Dealers-Owners’, many believe this could eventually be disrupted by AI providers and ride-hailing providers.  

In the future, there is expected to be a pivot away from vehicle ownership to vehicle ‘users’, with increased flexibility around how we use cars. 

The future of autonomous vehicles 

Autonomous vehicles are now predicted to have serious impact on the automotive world within the next 10 years.  

At the IAA Mobility, there was renewed interest around autonomous driving, but the industry is also now recognising its limitations. There were interesting discussions around specific use cases, how vehicles will work across territories, and the functionality of these vehicles. 

The impact of AI on the auto industry 

Artificial intelligence is in the spotlight at the moment, with AI providers having a critical role in the future of vehicle development. OEMs are focusing on connectivity, as well as automotive vehicles (AVs) and the way this new technology will be able to support these aspects of automotive transformation.