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An Automotive OEM Targets Future Profit Pools

BCG used scenario planning to help a global automotive OEM explore the future of European mobility and make key strategic decisions. The scenarios that BCG developed continue to play an important role in guiding and informing the client’s strategic decision-making processes.

The global automotive industry is in the midst of rapid, dramatic changes. The European regional arm of a global automotive OEM sought to develop a systematic framework for assessing the ways in which the mobility landscape would evolve as vehicle electrification, autonomous driving, connected cars, and other innovations go mainstream. 

Such scenario planning can be extremely difficult. It requires analysts to gauge the impact of many intersecting social trends and technological developments, and then use this analysis to construct plausible and equally likely representations of alternative futures. 

This OEM engaged BCG to build several such scenarios outlining the potential future of the European mobility world. The OEM asked BCG to identify potential future profit pools and recommend immediate steps the company could take to start adapting the organization and positioning itself to take advantage of new opportunities.

Figuring Out the Future

BCG used a scenario-creation process to build four equally likely scenarios for the ways in which mobility developments would play out in urban European settings. BCG deployed small cross-functional teams who worked closely with members of the client’s organization to start constructing scenarios and determining the most appropriate strategic moves. 

These joint BCG/client teams used a multifaceted approach including videos, booklets, and posters to elaborate on the scenarios and bring the ideas to life. As each team worked on developing its own functional topics, certain common themes emerged that applied across all the plausible future mobility landscapes that the teams could imagine. 

These commonalities gave the client insights into the most likely future profit pools and "no-regret" moves to reach those profit pools. Even in situations of great uncertainty, these no-regret moves provide clients with strategic actions that promise to be beneficial under all future scenarios. 

For example, an automotive OEM could enter the car-sharing business as a first step into the evolving mobility market. Collecting valuable data and building a reputation would be beneficial in the future mobility market—whether or not the car sharing business becomes a long-term success.

Prioritizing the Profit Pools

Based on the scenarios and guidance that the joint BCG/client teams provided, the client’s management board decided to prioritize three so-called lighthouse profit pools—high-profile initiatives designed to create momentum and drive visible change. The teams then developed specific action plans that the company could use to reach each profit pool. 

Today, the client continues to use the four future mobility scenarios that BCG developed to assess its strategic options and evaluate its positioning. Impressed by the speed and efficiency of the joint teams, the client has also infused elements of BCG’s collaborative, cross-functional, and agile approach throughout its own organization. 

On multiple occasions, the client has found that the scenarios have provided an excellent tool for helping senior management immerse themselves in the future of European mobility and consider its implications for their business.

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