GM, Daimler and Toyota lead in technology partnerships, study finds image

In recent years, an increasing number of carmakers began forging partnerships in order to innovate.

Megatrends like sustainability, urbanization and materials revolution are forcing automakers to build a web of partnerships and the results are very real: alternative fuels, electric vehicles and advanced composites are partial responses to these megatrends.

“Innovations driven by megatrends are breaking the traditional automotive ecosystem. OEMs need to evolve their partnership webs to succeed,” said Kevin See, an analyst for Lux Research. According to See, different OEMs have different approaches.

A Lux Research report found that GM is the automaker that leads the partnership race. The company has the most intense activity in both materials and sustainability megatrends, while Toyota leads in urbanization. Another finding was that automakers including Volkswagen, Toyota and Daimler look outside their continents for 77% of their partnerships, while BMW, GM and Ford keep over half of their partnerships within Europe.

Companies from emerging markets are catching up strong though and are challenging established automakers for the mass market. Indian industrial giant Tata bought legendary British brands Range Rover and Jaguar, while Chinese carmaker Geely bought Sweden’s Volvo Cars.