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Hans-Werner Kaas

Senior PartnerDetroit

Advises automotive, electronics/technology, and aerospace/defense companies on growth strategy, operations transformation, and organizational effectiveness

Hans-Werner cofounded McKinsey’s Automotive & Assembly Practice in the Americas and the Detroit office and now helps lead the firm’s global work in advanced industries. He advises many of the world’s leading players in the end-to-end automotive value chain (OEMs, suppliers, retail, wholesale), industrial-machinery companies, aerospace/defense and technology players on growth strategy, technology-enabled business models and process redesign, performance transformations, and organizational redesign and effectiveness throughout the value chain.

Examples of Hans-Werner’s recent client work include the following:

  • building a digital direct-to-consumer business for a global technical consumer goods player
  • full-potential opportunity benchmarking and program for a global auto OEM
  • building a new business for a leading global tier 1 auto supplier/industrial supplier
  • new Digital Business building strategy for an auto retail player in US and Europe
  • multi-year performance/cash-flow improvement program for a global tier 1 auto supplier
  • assisting industrial and automotive players with navigating disruptive forces, portfolio and growth strategies, M&A, post-merger-management, and large-scale performance improvement
  • serving a global automotive OEM on its growth strategy in China
  • serving an Autonomous Vehicle player on its business strategy

As the coauthor of several publications on the automotive industry, Hans-Werner has written about product development, quality management, integrated cost reduction, profitable growth, and the future of the automotive sector. He also has helped lead research efforts on the future of the automotive and mobility industries, including technology transformation, electric vehicles, connectivity in automotive and mobility, autonomous vehicles, and new data- and analytics-enabled business models, through the McKinsey Center for Future Mobility.

Hans-Werner joined McKinsey in 1991 and worked in the Frankfurt, Vienna, and Cleveland offices before moving to Detroit, where he co-led the opening of the office in 1998 and has been based since. As a longtime member of Business Leaders for Michigan, he also works closely with local business leaders to help strengthen the state’s competitiveness and economic development.

Prior to joining McKinsey, Hans-Werner worked as strategy intern and production technology planning consultant at Daimler. He is fluent in English, French, and German.

Published work

Building a more competitive US manufacturing sector,” McKinsey Global Institute, April 2021

Winning the race for talent: A road map for the automotive industry,” McKinsey & Company, February 2020

Self-driving cars and the future of the auto sector,” McKinsey & Company, August 2016

Disruptive trends that will transform the auto industry,” McKinsey & Company, January 2016

The future of the North American automotive supplier industry: Evolution of component costs, penetration, and value creation potential through 2020, McKinsey & Company, March 2012

McKinsey conversations with global leaders: Jim Owens of Caterpillar,” McKinsey Quarterly, McKinsey & Company, November 2010

Sheila Bonini and Hans-Werner Kaas, “Building a sustainable Ford Motor Company: An interview with Bill Ford,” McKinsey Quarterly, January 2010

Past experience

production technology planning consultant

Imperial Chemical Industries
Investment trainee and analyst


Technical University of Kaiserslautern
MS, mechanical engineering and business administration