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Automotive CEOs Believe Technological Advancements Will Transform Business in the Next Five Years, According to PwC's Global CEO Survey

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DETROIT--May 20, 2014: Automotive CEOs (79 percent) believe that technological advances will transform business in the next five years, according the PwC's 17th Annual Global CEO Survey, titled 'Fit for growth: The automotive industry—Where it's going and how it plans to get there.' In addition, 57 percent of automotive CEOs currently have a programme underway or completed, or already have a strategy in place, to implement a change around technology investments.

"From the purchasing process and ownership experience to in-vehicle infotainment and fuel-efficiency expectations, technological advancements are radically changing the automotive industry," said Rick Hanna, PwC's global automotive leader. "Technology is playing a growing role within company operations and future growth. Beyond the customer, automotive CEOs are betting on advancements in technology when managing their supply chains, driving innovation, developing integrated infrastructure models and attracting talent."

A talented workforce and culture of innovation should be in place to bring these technological advancements to fruition. According to PwC's 17th Annual Global CEO Survey, this is one key area where automotive CEOs are notably more worried this year — 63 percent are concerned about the availability of key skills, up from last year's 49 percent. The demand for top science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent is becoming increasingly competitive. Nearly half of the automotive CEOs (45%) say they are planning to increase headcount, so there's a strong need to attract top talent. Plus, 91 percent of sector CEOs see a need to adapt their talent strategy in response to transformative global trends.

The majority of automotive CEOs also see a need to adapt their supply chains, and 20 percent have already started or completed change programmes. More than half (56 %) are somewhat or very concerned about supply chain disruption being a potential business threat to their organizations.

As a result, CEOs are focused on improving regional supply-chain and logistics strategies to create an efficient flow of resources and products, including building where their customers are. For example, China, the world's largest new vehicle market, ranks first on the list of countries automotive CEOs consider important for overall growth prospects, followed by the USA.

Changing market dynamics and advancements in technology influences the need to invest in building infrastructure in new cities and replacing or updating infrastructure in older cities. Automotive CEOs are aware of the challenge; 57 percent say they're concerned that inadequate basic infrastructure could threaten growth, compared to 47 percent of CEOs overall.

"Change is here and leading companies are closely evaluating every aspect of their business," continued Hanna. "Today's automotive CEOs should understand the issues at hand and address them on a much larger scale. In order to have transformational growth, CEOs are taking these challenges and turning them into opportunities."

To better understand automotive CEO's perspectives for 2014, please download the complete 17th Annual Global CEO Survey or automotive industry analysis publication, 'Fit for growth: The automotive industry—Where it's going and how it plans to get there at PWC Auto. Plus, you can view in-depth interviews with four automotive CEOs over the fourth quarter of 2013. Their interviews are quoted in this report and more extensive extracts can be found on PwC's website.

PwC's 17th Annual CEO Survey Methodology PwC conducted 1,344 quantitative interviews with CEOs in 68 countries worldwide, selecting our sample based on the percentage of total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countries included in the survey, to ensure CEOs' views are fairly represented across all major countries and regions of the world. The interviews were also spread across a range of industries. Further details, by region and industry, are available on request. Fifty-four percent of the interviews were conducted by telephone; 38 percent online; and eight percent by post. All quantitative interviews were conducted on a confidential basis. In this report, PwC focused on key findings emerging from interviews with 87 automotive CEOs in 34 countries with particular focus on additional in-depth conversations with four leading automotive suppliers.

About PwC's Automotive Practice PwC's global automotive practice leverages its extensive experience in the industry to help companies solve complex business challenges with efficiency and quality. One of PwC's global automotive practice's key competitive advantages is Autofacts®, a team of automotive industry specialists dedicated to ongoing analysis of sector trends. Autofacts provides our team of more than 4,800 automotive professionals and our clients with data and analysis to assess implications, make recommendations, and support decisions to compete in the global marketplace.