Clearly, the auto industry is changing, and as a result, so are the parts companies that make all of its pieces. But they are not all changing in the same strategic way.
Automaker investment in electric drivetrains, connected vehicles and self-driving technology is pushing the world's largest suppliers to reshape themselves for a future that might only barely resemble their past.
Evolving industry trends — particularly the long-term waning of internal combustion engines — are prompting parts makers to examine their legacy product portfolios, reconsider past revenue assumptions and tilt their R&D spending toward new priorities.
Three global leaders illustrate those changing outlooks and that there are differences of opinion about which way to pivot and what strategy to pursue.
German megasupplier Bosch — the world's largest parts and technology company, with $46.56 billion in sales to automakers in 2019 — is confident that a primary key to continued growth will be vehicle software. Bosch is launching a business unit that groups its expansive software talent from product areas around the world under one umbrella.
At the same time, Japan's largest supplier, Denso Corp., is placing its bets on reinventing its strategic core. Traditionally a maker of air conditioners, instrument clusters and gasoline and diesel engine parts, Denso has begun reorganizing itself to pursue new fields, including electrification, automated driving and even urban air mobility.
Hyundai Mobis, South Korea's largest parts maker and a bedrock supplier of Hyundai Motor, is bolstering its position in electrification as well as connected vehicles and autonomous driving.
But no one is etching into stone plans for the future. Regardless of their individual strategies, parts makers are exploring myriad opportunities to stay relevant amid shifting industry demands.
Here's a glimpse into the changes underway at these three suppliers.