The future of the automotive industry will be shaped by a range of disruptive themes, with the internet of things (IoT) being one of the themes which will significantly impact the potential growth of leading companies in the industry.  

The automotive sector faces four synchronous disruptive threats: electric vehicles (EVs), autonomous vehicles (AVs), connected car, and transport as a service (TaaS). IoT refers to the use of connected sensors and actuators to control and monitor the environment, the things that move within it, and the people that act within will play a key role in advancing these four disruptive themes.  

The global IoT market is forecast to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 11% during 2020-2024, according to GlobalData estimates. Enterprise IoT dominates the overall IoT market, generating 76% of total revenue in 2020. 


IoT is one of the primary enablers of digital transformation in the automotive sector. It brings together various technologies, like AI, 5G, edge computing, and cloud computing, which helps reduce latency levels to allow real-time decision-making and reduce the need for human intervention in IoT ecosystems. The connected car will increase data generation exponentially and establish itself as a key component of the IoT ecosystem, and eventually, an extension of consumers’ automated homes. Automakers must use this abundance of data to pivot their business models towards software and reduce their dependence on Big Tech to meet the needs of their customers. 

However, not all companies are equal when it comes to their capabilities and investments in the key themes that matter most to their industry. Understanding how companies are positioned and ranked in the most important themes can be a key leading indicator of their future earnings potential and relative competitive position.  

According to GlobalData’s thematic research report, IoT in Automotive, leading adopters of IoT include: BMW, BYD, GM, Honda, SAIC Motor, Toyota, and Tesla.   

Insights from top ranked companies  


Toyota is investing more than $3bn in its Toyota Research Institute and a spin-out new company TRI-AD (Toyota Research Institute – Advanced Development), focused on auto tech. It insists the world is “not close to achieving level 5 autonomy.” It is developing LiDAR with US start-up Luminar. In February 2020, Toyota spread its AV bets a little further with a $400m investment in Chinese company with the intention of co-developing mobility services. Toyota has created a separate mobility company to focus on future mobility, including AVs and smart cities, called Woven Planet. In April 2021, Woven Planet agreed to purchase the level 5 (full-self driving) business from ride-hailing company Lyft. 


BMW was one of the first carmakers to rebrand itself as a mobility service provider. It’s been the first to bring to market some of the most innovative connected vehicle technology features, such as Here maps that provide real-time traffic information. It works closely with Harman at the design stage to package Human-Machine Interface (HMI), connectivity, and telematics services as seamlessly as one might expect of a premium vehicle brand. The company also worked with Microsoft to launch the Open Manufacturing Platform, an open industrial IoT platform to accelerate production and logistics optimisation efforts. BMW has also worked with IBM to explore how Watson’s machine learning services can improve the driving experience. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the automotive industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on IoT in Automotive

  • Nissan
  • Changan Automobile
  • Honda
  • Volkswagen
  • Daimler
  • Ford
  • Hyundai Motor
  • BAIC
  • Dongfeng Autos
  • Tata Motor
  • Mazda Motor Corp
  • Mitsubishi Motors
  • Renault
  • Stellantis
  • Mahindra & Mahindra
  • Suzuki
  • Subaru Corp


GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Thematic Scorecard ranks companies within a sector based on their overall leadership in the 10 themes that matter most to their industry, generating a leading indicator of their future earnings and relative position within key strategic areas.