Few industries are undergoing more disruption than the auto category.

That disruption is driven by the following four factors, each of which is forcing automobile manufacturers to reevaluate their business strategies, and, by extension, their marketing and sponsorship tactics.

  • The growing popularity of ride share and ride-hailing services
  • The mainstream adoption of electric vehicles
  • The emergence of fully autonomous vehicles
  • The growing trend of connected cars

Those trends are having a major impact on the products and services auto companies are bringing to market, both today and in the future.

One major shift: More focus on shared mobility.

More people are using car share and ride share services, and that is putting pressure on new car sales. McKinsey & Co. expects global annual car sales to grow 2 percent by 2030, down from 3.6 percent seen over the last five years.

The importance of private car ownership is already showing signs of decline. The share of 16-to-24-year-olds in the U.S. who own a driver’s license dropped from 76 percent in 2000 to 71 percent in 2013, while the number of car share members in North America and Germany has grown more than 30 percent in each of the last five years, per McKinsey.

The management consulting firm expects shared vehicles to represent up to one out of ten cars sold in 2030 and one out of three cars sold by 2050.

And automakers are responding. General Motors and BMW both launched car share services in 2016 (Maven and ReachNow, respectively), while Ford purchased Chariot, a San Francisco-based crowdsourced shuttle service.

Another major focus: electric vehicles. Government regulations on diesel and gasoline vehicles, lower battery costs and an expanding infrastructure are driving increased demand for electric vehicles, particularly in urban markets.

McKinsey expects the share of electrified vehicles to range from ten percent to 50 percent of all new vehicle sales by 2030.

Connected vehicles and autonomous cars also are playing a key role in reshaping the automobile industry, including the source of profits. Ford expects to generate 20 percent margins on products in the shared mobility industry.

Those trends are forcing automobile companies to reevaluate how they use sponsorship, with a focus on promoting shared services, new electric vehicles, and demonstrating leadership in the new world of mobility.

The Biggest Spenders In The Auto Category
Companies spending more than $15 million

Company Amount
Ford Motor Co. $175M-$180M
Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc. $165M-$170M
General Motors Co. $145M-$150M
Hyundai Motor Co. $85M-$90M
Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC $55M-$60M
Honda Motor Co. $40M-$45M
Kia Motors America, Inc. $35M-$40M
Nissan Motor Co. $35M-$40M
BMW of North America, LLC $25M-$30M
Volkswagen AG  $20M-$25M
Fiat Chrysler  $20M-$25M 
Estimated 2016 spending

The Most Active Companies In The Auto Category (Deals)
The Most Active Companies In The Auto Category (Deals)
Twenty percent of properties with a sponsor in the auto category report a sponsorship with Toyota.

Where Auto Companies Spend Money (Deals)
Where Auto Companies Spend Money (Deals)