Stellantis’ ranking underlines a key problem that faces most long established brands. They are not achieving their promised evolution into technology companies from automakers fast enough.
“If they don’t address this it will just deteriorate. Then, one day, it might be game over,” Gartner analyst Pedro Pacheco, who is one of the creators of the index, said in an interview.
U.S., Chinese brands lead
Tesla finished No. 1 followed by China’s Nio and Xpeng, with U.S. EV startups Rivian and Lucid rounding out the top five.
Pacheco said that companies with a software-first corporate culture scored higher than those that are still talking about becoming technology companies.
For instance, Tesla and Nio got top scores in the culture and leadership category because they have “a high number of leadership members with strong experience in the digital world,” according to the index. Tesla and Nio also got the maximum score of five points for having a management structure where the chief information and chief digital officers report directly to the CEO.
If the CEO is directly involved with the CIO and CDO it put the companies in a better position to “take strategic decisions that lead to better software monetization,” according to the index.
Nio Executive Vice President and Chairman of Product Committee Mark Zhou said at this year’s Shanghai auto show that he and company founder and CEO William Li meet every week to discuss technology matters,
Another key category is online sales because Pacheco said dealers are interested in selling cars, not the brand’s different software offerings. Therefore automakers need to excel here if they want to monetize their software offerings.
“If an automaker is not very good in terms of selling online, then they will have great difficulties selling software,” Pacheco said.
Making up the bottom of the list in descending order were Honda, Toyota, SAIC Motor, Mazda and JLR.
Pacheco said Gartner plans to update the ranking annually, using it as a barometer to measure how brands are doing, adding that even the brands that are on top in 2023 have room for improvement.