Mercedes' Hartung says automakers need scaleable cutomser-focused platforms (Photo: Claus Dick)

FRANKFURT - The auto industry needs to work faster to improve its digital delivery and can learn from other industries, a senior Mercedes-Benz executive said Wednesday.

"It's all about the customers; digitalization isn't a standalone goal," said Christoph Hartung, head of Connected Car Mercedes-Benz Cars.

In an address to the carIT Congress here, Hartung said carmakers need to build a digital ecosystem for their customers that will focus on the user experience both before, during and after they use the car.

"We think the customer deserves to be at the center of our business, especially in this digital era," Hartung said.

The Mercedes executive said the auto industry doesn't yet offer customers a real-time experience and hasn't yet adjusted to the era of mobile connectivity.

He also said carmakers have to approach the user experience from the perspective of the consumer rather than from the starting point of the car.

"What's needed is a radical rethink that puts the customer at the center," Hartung said. Mercedes has developed the mercedes me platform especially to meet the expectations of today's and tomorrow's customers.

"We have to think in terms of scaleable platforms that are secure, global and agile," Hartung said