The cost of future mobility: ZF CEO weighs in on key challenges

Megan Lampinen catches up with Wolf-Henning Scheider at IAA Mobility 2021

Today’s mobility companies are investing heavily in technology that will enable an ecosystem of connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) transport. Many of these visions are currently on display at IAA Mobility 2021, which promotes itself as the new face of European auto shows. ZF is just one of many incumbents exhibiting at the event and betting heavily on a CASE future.

Pay to play

But that doesn’t come cheap. Back at CES 2019, ZF said it would invest €12bn (US$14.2bn) over the coming five years in electromobility and autonomy. Speaking at a media event on the sidelines of IAA, Chief Executive Wolf-Henning Scheider confirms that “a big portion of that has been invested already.” Hefty financial outlays like this are simply the ticket to play in the quest for future mobility, and they may not pay off for some time. AlixPartners has described the coming period as a ‘profit desert’ as companies enter a lower return environment. ZF is also feeling the pinch.

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