The Center for Automotive Management (CAM) and management consultant PwC have also identified the best innovation performance among manufacturers and suppliers for 2022 as part of the AutomotiveINNOVATIONS study. Mercedes-Benz is currently the most innovative car group in the world, ahead of Volkswagen and Tesla. VW is at the top of the audio brands, Tesla in the area of ”autonomous driving” and “connected services”. BYD is the most innovative brand in electric drives.
With an index value of 134, Mercedes-Benz ranks first, as it did in 2019, ahead of Volkswagen AG (125) and Tesla (87). SAIC (71), fifth last year, has risen one place to fourth as the best Chinese company, ahead of Geely (70). After fourth place last year, BMW got sixth place this time.
An important reason for the success of Mercedes-Benz, by almost 50 percent, is the highest level of global innovation among car manufacturers in the world, the authors of the study explain. Among other things, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer scored points in the “electric car” area with the luxury sedan EQS, which has the lowest consumption of battery vehicles in the luxury class segment. In the field of “Connectivity” technology, Mercedes-Benz impresses with innovative works in the area of lighting and steering systems, which can be updated “over the air”.
VW in volume brands, Mercedes in premium brands
“Along with Mercedes-Benz and VW, two German manufacturers lead the group and also lead many technology categories with their main brands. But for the first time, two Chinese companies are among the top 5 car manufacturers. of volume brands, the field of electric drives is also dominated by Chinese brands such as BYD or Maxus, which occupy the first three positions. This is the latest result of the process of acquiring Chinese players that has been going on for many years in terms of of innovative power,” says Felix Kuhnert from PwC Germany. “Even in innovative areas, newcomers like Xpeng or NIO are now trying to compete with German brands and have Tesla as a role model.”
Stefan Bratzel, Director of CAM: “In addition to electronics, the constantly updated ecosystem of Internet services is becoming a key success factor for car manufacturers. To do this, all authorized manufacturers must expand their basic skills in these fields of the future and enter into strategic partnerships with relevant digital players for faster time-to-market.
As in the previous year, among volume manufacturers, VW leads the ranking as the most innovative brand in 2022, followed by Ford and BYD. According to CAM and PwC, VW scores particularly high in the area of ”autonomous driving/ADAS” and democratizes innovations such as adaptive cruise control with topological functions or the Level 2 “Travel Assist” system in the class of small cars (Polo) and small SUV (Taigo). In the car area, VW is expanding its range with an electric minibus ID. Buzz and improve existing models at the same time, for example with the highest charging capacity in a compact car that uses the ID.3 battery as a world first in the segment.
In the “Interface & Connectivity” category, VW also won the race for audio brands. From 2022, the area of ”connected services” will be added as a new category in the assessment, with internet services from the areas of infotainment, autonomous driving, e-commerce and internet financial services, which are increasingly important. Here too, the VW brand takes first place ahead of the new Chinese Xpeng, followed by Ford. VW’s range of connected services ranges from its own charging network (Electrifiy America) to enabling autonomous driving functionality and payments subsidiary PayByPhone.
Among the premium brands, Mercedes-Benz is far ahead. As was the case last year, Tesla and BMW also enter the top 3 in this segment. According to analysts, Mercedes-Benz’s strength lies mainly in the area of the electric car, but also in the connection with driving concepts and innovative displays. The Mercedes-Benz EQS in particular gets many world firsts, such as the “hyperscreen” with the “power feedback” feature.
EQS receives the award for the most innovative model of 2022 from CAM and PwC. Second place is followed by the Mercedes model, the new mid-size C-Class with combustion and hybrid drives, followed by the battery SUV BMW iX in third place. “EQS is attractive as a carrier of lighting technology in several areas, with the car, for example, in addition to its low consumption, it also has the second longest range in the world in the segment of the luxury class,” it says.
Mercedes-Benz is also the premium brand winner when it comes to drives. A new phenomenon in the study of AutomotiveINNOVATIONS is three Chinese companies in the first three positions in the list of power brands of the volume. BYD ranks first ahead of Maxus (SAIC Group) and GAC, followed by VW and Ford in fourth and fifth place.
Tesla at the forefront of autonomous driving and connected services
In the field of autonomous driving/ADAS, the American electric car manufacturer Tesla is the first and most innovative brand. According to CAM and PwC, Californians are pioneers in Level 2+ autonomous driving, in which the car can drive independently in a wide range of applications such as freeway and city traffic, but the driver must monitor the system at all times. As part of the beta version, Tesla is already offering this functionality in its models to a limited number of users.
Tesla is also an award winner in the new Connected Services category, which measures connected, vehicle-related services in an analysis from 2012 to 2021. platform for surfing games and data-based car insurance and real-time taxation. In addition, the autonomous driving and parking functions in Tesla can already be updated by OTA and are therefore available as a service,” according to analysts.
Innovations in the field of “cell chemistry” from BASF were able to gain acceptance among suppliers in the area of drives. “The high-energy HEDTM-NCM cathode devices ensure a high energy density and, as a result, enable the electric vehicle to have a long life and low costs,” the authors of the study explain. Hyundai Mobis is the winner in the “Chassis, Body & Exterior” category with the “ECorner” module, which combines steering, braking, suspension and drive systems. With a flexible wheelbase, it allows easy use of platforms and 90 degree wheel rotation for side-by-side driving and instant on-off.
Kautex-Textron marks the use of a software-controlled cleaning system called “Allegro Premium” for environmental sensors, whose cleanliness is of functional and safety importance for assisted or autonomous operations. According to the study, the system increases the utility of support systems customers because it increases the availability of systems under severe weather conditions.
The “Interior and Interface” category is dominated this year by Bosch with its “Ridecare” car sharing service. The first feature of the Ridecare series is smoke and damage detection. Using cloud-based data analytics and artificial intelligence, participating service providers receive transparent, real-time information about whether a vehicle has broken down or is engulfed in smoke. The innovation is therefore a catalyst for the spread of car sharing, as it covers the aspect of cleaning the interior, which is often criticized in practice, according to analysts.