Past meets future: At the Schüttgut in Zell am See, Austria, the headquarters of the
“The next decade will bring more change to the automotive world than the past century.”
"The future has many names: For the weak, it means the unattainable. For the fearful, it means the unknown. For the courageous, it means opportunity.” These words by the French writer Victor Hugo are often cited. But they have seldom been more relevant than they are today, as we present a new generation of the
For decades now, mobility has revolved around the car—as a means of transport, status symbol, and fascinating source of pleasure in motion. But the traditional ways to get from place to place that we see and use every day have reached a turning point. We live in an age of multiple means of mobility. Rapid developments in modern information and communications technology have not only enabled us to be available throughout the world and around the clock; they also allow us to be in multiple places at once. If video conferences are stepping in for business trips, chats are taking the place of a night out with friends, home offices are replacing work stations at companies, and laptops are standing in for weekend shopping trips, then we’re more than justified in asking whether virtual mobility will one day largely replace cars. We live at a time in which industry is being transformed. New events and developments are arising with breathtaking power and dynamism. Our societies, policies, economies, and even our very world are changing at the speed of light. The next decade will bring more change to the automotive world than the past century.
But where is all of this leading us? What exactly is our destination? Given the speed and unpredictability of current developments, it seems nearly impossible to know what the future has in store. And yet we need to keep trying to part the clouds and look ahead. Because as leaders of a business, we have to make the right strategic decisions today in order to prepare ourselves as much as possible for what tomorrow and the day after will bring.
“There’s an essential core that remains intact, even if everything around it is radically new.”
This brings to mind the “Meisterkreis”—an association of individuals, companies, and institutions working together to promote a culture of excellence in Germany. Some time ago, it published a book with an interesting piece about
Philosophers have long pondered the interesting question that arises: which ship is now the real one? The “old” one, all of whose parts are new? Or the “new” one, all of whose parts are old? There’s no clear answer—otherwise, this thought experiment wouldn’t be a paradox. The parable of the ship of Theseus affords two insights. First, renewal is possible without a loss of identity. And second, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. There’s an essential core that remains intact, even if everything around it is radically new. If we apply this to
For it’s not the technical details that constitute the identity of the 911—just like it’s not the individual planks that determine the identity of the ship. The key is to retain an authentic essence. And I know of no other car that, despite all the changes in technology and design, has remained as constant as the 911.
The same is true for our brand and our company. Change is occurring rapidly all around us. Our customers are shifting their expectations of our sports cars and of mobility in general. We obviously need to anticipate these developments and incorporate them into new, future-oriented products and services. But does that mean we stop being ourselves as
This article was first published in the Christophorus magazine, edition 05/2018.