Wilko Andreas Stark (Photo: Claus Dick)

HANNOVER - Tomorrow's cars will be part of a digital ecosystem that relies on full connectivity, Daimler's top strategist, Wilko Andreas Stark, said Thursday.

"Personal mobility will change forever as a result of digitalization," Stark told the automotiveIT Congress here.

The Daimler executive said tomorrow's mobility will be defined by key trends such as electrification, autonomous driving, connected-car technologies, and car-sharing, which together will develop a new digital ecosystem. Only carmakers that will manage to successfully incorporate these trends into their business models will be successful, Stark said.

As new players enter the auto industry, it's important that carmakers retain their core car-building competence. "Nobody wants to get into our core business," Stark said. "But we shouldn't lose our connection to the customer and that is a big challenge."

Daimler's strategy chief said autonomous driving will have a major impact on carmakers' business models. Referring to Daimler's car2go car-sharing business, he said: "We are no longer talking about car2go, but about car2come."

Stark also said he was convinced electric powertrains will prevail, despite generally slow sales to date. He predicted that, as emissions regulations are tightened in countries such as China, automakers will be selling more electric vehicles to meet fleet-wide emission targets. "I can assure you that electric mobility will be be there for the long haul," he said.

The automotiveIT Congress is held each year during the CeBIT high-tech fair here.

-By Arjen Bongard