Driving forces
: examining the German automotive industry’s growth within the context of megatrends

  • Lilly Paula Lanio (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The globally standing German automotive industry, known for engineering excellence, faces a shift due to megatrends, reshaping the competitive landscape. This research paper assesses the German automotive industry’s status quo and future outlook against sustainability, open innovation, and digital transformation. It involves a two-stage approach, starting with a literature review and continuing with exploratory interviews. The findings identify digital transformation and open innovation as key enablers for other megatrends. Sustainability is rather seen as a source of ideation. Often undervalued due to its indirect impact; it proves vital for societal benefits despite potential technological or financial constraints. Open innovation is distinguished as advantageous, but operational challenges may arise. Digital transformation is seen as strategically paramount and should be implemented across the entire organization for optimal efficiency. Here, it is vital to pay attention to change management practices. The German automotive industry is threatened by competition from China, the U.S., and Japan, which all present their unique advantages and threads. Especially China is a threat, driven by lower environmental regulations, fewer data protection laws, and a strategic decision-making approach that follows a just-do-it mentality. The study proposes for the German automotive industry to embrace a riskier decision-making approach. Additionally, to not rely on their engineering reputations and recognize opportunities that may arise through megatrends.
Date of Award23 Jan 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorPedro Parada (Supervisor)


  • Digital transformation
  • Digitization
  • Sustainability
  • Open innovation
  • German automotive industry
  • Performance
  • Strategic decision-making
  • Business model


  • Mestrado em Gestão e Administração de Empresas

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