The 2023 edition of Financial Times’ Future of the Car summit witnessed a fascinating gathering of leaders across the automotive and e-mobility sectors hosted online and in London, UK this week.

From the C-suite of international OEMs, to senior personnel from technology innovators and industry suppliers, the ninth event saw over 100 speakers take to the stage and share their visions for addressing the most pertinent challenges and opportunities in the industry.

Supporting multiples businesses and senior spokespeople at the event, our automotive and e-mobility experts on the ground observed some particularly prominent themes across the conference’s multiple sessions:

1.) In spite of encouraging signs, supply chain disruption is still very much at the top of the agenda. Recent new-vehicle registration data across multiple regions indicates that these challenges are abating to a certain extent; indeed, the UK has witnessed 16.9% year-on-year growth in new-car registrations during the first four months of 2023, while the European Union saw a 17.9% increase in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year.

However, while growth in the new-vehicle pipeline has seen a welcome upward trend, the Future of the Car conference has shone a spotlight on OEMs’ and tier-suppliers’ moves to mitigate the lingering challenges. From stabilising their sources of supply, to onshoring and gaining more control over the flow of materials and components, industry players are taking more steps to optimise their business model and achieve greater production efficiency to service customer demand.

2.) Moves to optimise the supply chain will increasingly come to the fore for the industry, as price rivalry between battery-electric vehicle manufacturers across different markets rises. Seeking to maintain momentum in the uptake of battery-electric vehicles, OEMs are prioritising their strategies for not only penetrating, but rooting themselves in, particularly strong growth markets.

With both the cost of business operation and of living for consumers still proving challenging obstacles for sustaining growth in the short- and medium-term, manufacturers are taking a dual-pronged approach to their strategy moving forward. While turning to increasingly competitive pricing tactics at a product level, manufacturers are also using their voice to encourage governments in key regions to legislate for further business-driven incentives – in turn driving further innovation, accelerating vehicle supply, and enabling them to deliver for customers.

This blend of seizing opportunity and novel response to rapid change looks set to define the automotive and e-mobility agendas for the foreseeable future, and is sure to catalyse a new wave of innovation as industry players seek a competitive advantage.

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