FRANKFURT - Germany's chief automotive industry lobbyist said on Wednesday that information technology has become "an essential precondition for a decision to buy" a particular car model.

In an address to the Mobility 3.0 conference here, Wissmann, who heads Germany's automobile industry association (VDA), cited two central themes for this year's Frankfurt auto show (IAA). The first is the availability of a growing range of electric vehicles, which are already for sale this year.

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Wissmann toured the IAA with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (Photo: VDA)

The second trend is is the integration of smartphone and automotive technologies. "Always on will change the way we experience cars," Wissmann said. He added that he expects that up to 80 pc of all new cars will be connected from now on.

The connectivity revolution is also changing the nature of the automotive value chain. Wissmann said the automotive and IT industries are becoming strategic partners, as in-car electronics components and systems grow.

That cooperation is essential, the VDA chief said. "We see a very close partnership between our industries," he said. He added that automakers are evolving into "service providers in the mobility space," but said he wasn't worried about new competition from other industry players.

Said Wissmann: "We have 100 years of experience in integrating systems and we don't intend to lose our leading role in coming years."

Wissmann spoke at the Mobility 3.0 conference, which took place during the IAA. The event, which is held annually, is organized by the automotiveIT Group.