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About this practice

We work with original-equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and parts and service suppliers across all sectors of the automotive industry, from passenger-car and light-truck manufacturers to heavy-truck makers and to agricultural and construction-equipment companies.

Our work involves strategic and corporate-finance topics ranging from products and branding to mergers-and-acquisitions strategies. We also focus on operational topics ranging from project management to product launch and from lean manufacturing and production to supplier management and value-chain cost reduction. Regardless of the specific challenge, our overriding goal is to provide clients with improved productivity, enhanced innovation, and better performance.

In addition, we engage in internal research projects. Recent examples include developing insights on the changing supplier/OEM relationship, developing a perspective on the evolution and impact of economic dynamics in emerging markets, and forecasting the impact of carbon fiber and other lightweight materials on automakers. These types of knowledge-building efforts have afforded members of the practice the opportunity to publish articles in Automotive Engineer and to contribute to reports from the Economist Intelligence Unit.

We supplement our knowledge with input from research partners, creating a network of capable resources available to clients. Our research partners include the Technical University of Darmstadt and the Technical University of Aachen in Europe, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and MIT's Sloan School in the United States, and Beijing's Tsinghua University in Asia. Depending on the nature of different engagements, these and other resources are brought to bear to help solve client problems efficiently and effectively.

What we do

Our expertise and global scale allow us to bring a fundamentally different approach to serving clients in the automotive-and-assembly business. We have an unparalleled track record of delivering client impact across a wide range of topics. We can address strategic challenges, such as developing growth strategies or go-to-market strategies, but we also have expertise in portfolio strategy, sales excellence and large-scale transformation programs. Our operations expertise extends from capital productivity to product-development processes and R&D efficiency. Change management, post-merger integration, and sales-channel management—all in the automotive and machinery context—are other core specialties.

Our people

Given our global scale, at any time, as many as 900 consultants are working on automotive- or assembly-related topics all along the value chain. Many have worked for automotive companies prior to joining McKinsey or have advanced degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering, physics, electronics, and finance. These consultants combine hands-on experience in the industry with rigorous training in business management.

With dedicated research capabilities in Düsseldorf, Mumbai, Shanghai, and Waltham, Massachusetts, as well as smaller teams in other locations, we have instant access to industry data, as well as contacts that can provide additional perspectives on the best tools, frameworks, and approaches to address client concerns.