You work as a middle manager for one of the top U.S. producers of luxury and mass-market automobiles and trucks. The chief technology officer (CTO) of the company from the course scenario has been researching new technology developments that the company could integrate into its vehicles to enhance their usefulness and access to sensor data. Such data is acquired by the many digital sensors that have been integrated into vehicle subsystems over the past 20–30 years. The technology trend of particular interest to the CTO is the internet of things (IoT), the interconnection of embedded devices such as sensors and computers over the internet to share data. For automobiles, the trend points to creating connected cars.
Senior management has decided to explore IoT for the company’s trucks and cars. Your task is to create an internal memo explaining that the company should integrate IoT into its product line using the RWW (real, win, worth it) screening tool from the Module One resources and the information from the CTO Brief, Comparative Growth Data, Comparative Operating Statistics, and Comparative Product Plans documents. Consider the following:
- Discuss the feasibility of the product line (refer to RWW screening tool question number one: Is it real?).
- Is there a need or desire for the product?
- Is the size of the potential market adequate?
- Can the product actually be made?
- Will the final product satisfy the market?
- Discuss the ability of the company to win market share (refer to RWW screening tool question number two: Can we win?).
- Will your company’s products have a competitive advantage?
- How will your competitors respond?
- Can your company understand the market properly?
- Discuss the potential benefits to the company of producing this product (refer to RWW screening tool question number three: Is it worth doing?).
- Will the product be profitable at an acceptable risk?
- Does launching the product make strategic sense?
- Does the product fit your company’s overall growth strategy?
- Will your company’s senior management support this project?
- Based on the answers to the questions above, explain the reasons why IoT and connected cars are strategically important to the company.
- Consider the evolving customer needs and desires; how would they impact the company’s product plan?
- What do you think competitors will do (if anything) in response to changes in your company’s development plan?
- Do you think that accelerating development of connected cars will help grow the company?
Guidelines for Submission
This memo should be a Word document of 1–2 pages in length using double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins. Any references should be cited in APA format. Consult the Shapiro Library APA Style Guide for more information on citations.
Please see attached additional resources:
|in billions USD|
|1 Euro = 1.21 USD|
|1 Yen = 0.0094 USD||0.0092|
|Full Speed Ahead To The Future. 2019 Annual Report”. Volkswagen Group. 17 March 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.|
|converstion rages via Morningstar|
|Annual Report 2019″ (PDF). BMW Group. Retrieved 19 March 2020.|
|Toyota Annual Report 2020″ (PDF). Toyota Motor Corporation. May 12, 2020.|
|Ford Motor Company 2019 Annual Report (Form 10-K)”(PDF). sec.gov. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
January 2020. Note: numbers disguised by multiplying by 1.12 except for operating income multiplied
by 10 and net income multiplied by20
Comparative Product Plans
|Company||Number of Sensors and
Computers by 2025
|Functionality Emphasis||Current Connected Services||5–10 Year Product Plans||Existing Partnerships|
|Your Company||65 sensors/30 computers||vehicle control, systems maintenance, entertainment, navigation, 5G||navigation, emergency services, service status||fully integrated information system, assisted driving, expanded service information, semi-autonomous vehicle within 10 years||Toyota, Waymo|
|BMW||125 sensors/50 computers||vehicle control/safety, IFTTT-customized applications and IoT connectivity, LTE||navigation, emergency services, smart house connectivity||fully integrated information system, semi-autonomous driving, connection to traffic information systems, introduction of fully autonomous driving early 2030s||Daimler|
|Toyota||100 sensors/40 computers||vehicle control, social media, safety, entertainment, navigation, 5G||navigation, emergency services, social media||fully integrated information system; semi-autonomous driving; connection to traffic information systems, expanded social media, and communications; consumer services; maintenance; fully autonomous vehicle early 2030s||Microsoft, Ford|
|VW||90 sensors/35 computers||vehicle control, maintenance, in-car consumer experience||navigation, emergency services, consumer orders, maintenance status||fully integrated information system; semi-autonomous driving; connection to traffic information systems; connectivity with smart home; fully autonomous vehicle early 2030s||Microsoft|
|Markets and Competitors||Annual Cars & Light Trucks Revenue in 2020 (billions) TAM||Market share percentage for cars and trucks now||Projected CAGR over the next 10 years||Projected revenues in 2030 (billions)||Market share percentage for cars and trucks in 2030||Global Market for Connected Cars & Light Trucks (billions) TAM||Market share percentage for connected cars and trucks now||CAGR over next 10 years||Projected Conencted Car Revenues (billions) in 2030||Market share percentage for connected cars and trucks in 2030|
|Global||$ 3,227.70||100%||4.10%||$ 4,810.0||100%||53.9||100%||25.20%||$ 510.07||100%|
|Your Company||$ 187.10||5.80%||3.10%||$ 254.2||5.28%||3.83||7.10%||10.20%||$ 10.11||1.98%|
|BMW||$ 126.10||3.91%||3.70%||$ 181.5||3.77%||1.62||3.00%||25.50%||$ 15.67||3.07%|
|Toyota||$ 275.40||8.53%||3.90%||$ 404.5||8.41%||4.80||8.90%||24.80%||$ 43.97||8.62%|
|VW||$ 282.90||8.76%||4.30%||$ 433.1||9.00%||8.36||15.50%||23.20%||$ 67.30||13.19%|
|Note for student: Projected Global revenue for in-car connected services by 2030: $81.1 Billion|
MBA 580 Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Brief
Over the past three decades, sensors have been increasingly integrated into automobiles. Currently, a
typical car has 50–100 sensors (Tyler, 2016), and this is expected to grow to as many as 200 over the
next few years. These sensors measure everything from oil levels to the distance from the car in front.
These sensors currently connect (Computers in Your Car, 2018). These computer systems can warn of a
collision or an engine problem and communicate the condition to the driver (e.g., turn on the check
Increasingly, these computers are connected wirelessly via the internet to other computers, like the
user’s phone for things like remote starting, and to the manufacturer to help generate predictive
maintenance recommendations. The commercial term currently used for this is connected cars.
Technically, this is part of the internet of things (IoT) concept—where devices from refrigerators to door
locks are connected via the internet for convenient access by the user from phones, computers, and
Currently, and in the immediate future, connected cars will help the driver navigate, find the cheapest
gas station, locate the nearest Starbucks or parking lot with open spaces, and allow friends on social
media to know when their friend will arrive. As more semi-autonomous driving features are added over
the next few years, these wireless computers will also talk to other cars to help predict their next move
and communicate to road sensors to monitor conditions (Gossett, 2019). Eventually, enough
information will be provided to and from the connected car that autonomous driving will become
It is estimated that the market for IoT-connected cars will grow from $54 billion in 2019 to over $510
billion by 2030 at a 25% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) (Meola, 2020). This compares with an
overall industry growth of 4.1% (The Global Automotive Motors Market Size Is Projected to Grow from
USD 20,321 Million in 2020 to USD 25,719 Million by 2025, at a CAGR of 4.8%, 2020).
Our company is marketing some connected car capability—but we are not the leader. We need to
innovate so that our products can be competitive in the rapidly growing market. Our cars have sensors
and computers, and our technology expertise is competitive. We have some connectivity—driver apps
for keyless start and OnStar (The Benefits of OnStar | Keeping You Safe and Secure, n.d.) connectivity to
detect accidents and alert first responders. Our growth and ultimate health as an enterprise depends on
us taking the leadership or, at least, keeping up with the leaders. Furthermore, there is significant
opportunity to improve our customer satisfaction and increase our repair and parts revenue streams by
alerting customers to needed maintenance before an expensive breakdown occurs on the road.
With our current technology implementation plan, however, we expect to grow at 3.1%, about 1% less
than the industry. Our growth projection for connected cars is 10.2%—less than the industry at large.
We must speed up our innovation or risk losing market share.
Here is what we estimate our competitors are doing and how fast they are adding technology. The
leader among existing auto manufacturers is BMW. BMW cars have significant connectivity to
information services now. Some driver-assist functions, such as auto-parking and lane-keeping, have
been in BMW models for several years. Market research suggests that BMW will have a full suite of
information connectivity in their cars within several years and that the company will begin producing
fully autonomous driving machines within 12 years. Toyota has fully integrated social media in Japan
and expects to implement it in European and U.S. markets, subject to 5G wireless availability.
Volkswagen is about where we are—but has partnered with Microsoft to jump ahead.
Competitors from outside the traditional automobile manufacturers are also indicating that they intend
to enter the connected car market with disruptive technologies. Apple, for example, is aiming for a fully
autonomous delivery vehicle by the mid-2020s and an autonomous passenger car within a decade.
Our goal is to launch an autonomous vehicle following quickly after BMW, our main luxury competitor.
However, we have a long way to go. We are considering two ways to get there: A) Introducing a radical
innovative design in several years or B) Introducing incremental improvements faster than we have in
the past and improving our current models each year. Option A does not prevent us from continuing to
introduce incremental improvements in the interim.
Our approach will depend on your analysis of our capabilities to innovate. How can we get the
technology being researched in our lab ready—how can we develop it, produce it, and take it to market?
What technology do we already have, and what will we need to acquire? What are our competitors
doing, and are there weaknesses we can exploit?
The two paths we can take are discontinuous or radical innovation, or incremental innovation.
What do I mean by this?
Discontinuous or radical innovation. This would be more expensive—a completely new model is
expensive—as much as $6 billion (Viswanathan, 2013). A major redesign and recent technology
integration are also riskier to develop—we might fail—and it would take longer to get to market.
We might require enough of our existing resources that we could fall behind with our current
models, but it also might provide insight in incremental changes to current models while we
developed a major new product line. It is a lot to think about. That said, we could take the
leadership position ourselves in the growing market and better protect ourselves from
competitors. If we took this path, we would first introduce a new high-end model and, as we
brought costs down, rapidly deploy it across our whole product line, using this innovation
process to accelerate our ability to innovate.
Incremental innovation. The automobile is a mature technology—the modern automobile is
over a century old and it has been changing and adapting over that time. Our company does
incremental innovation as well as our major competitors and the costs are built into our way of
doing business. Given how we build automobiles today, we can continue to add sensors,
computers, and IoT capabilities each model year just by upgrading modules. There are risks,
though: 1) Could changes in the market impact what customers demand? A faster competitor or
a new entrant could produce a breakthrough in automobiles that makes everything else
obsolete. It has happened in other mature industries—could it happen here? 2) Are we missing
significant new opportunities (e.g., market growth overall or opportunities in integrated
maintenance, service revenues and parts, or a high-margin business) that we do not control
Tyler, N. (2016, December 14). Demand for automotive sensors is booming. Newelectronics.Co.Uk.
Computers in your car. (2018, January 24). AAMCO Colorado.
Gossett, S. (2019, August 13). IoT in vehicles: A brief overview. Built In. https://builtin.com/internet-
Meola, A. (2020, March 10). How 5G & IoT technologies are driving the connected smart vehicle industry.
Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/iot-connected-smart-
The global automotive motors market size is projected to grow from USD 20,321 million in 2020 to USD
25,719 million by 2025, at a CAGR of 4.8%. (2020, August 17). PR Newswire.
The benefits of OnStar | Keeping you safe and secure. (n.d.). OnStar.
Viswanathan, B. (2013, May 7). Why are cars not getting cheap even with better economies of scale?