Porsche Digital GmbH will steer Porsche towards creating a digital ecosystem

As the automotive industry continues to put a bigger importance on digitalisation, Porsche is taking it a step further by actually creating a subsidiary called Porsche Digital GmbH. The new company, which will be based in Ludwigsburg, Germany, is being created with the purpose of making Porsche the preeminent provider of digital mobility solutions in the “premium automotive segment.”

Thilo Kozlowski will assume the role of managing director for Porsche Digital and he will be tasked with overseeing the growth of Porsche Digital. It’s still unclear on what specific projects the new company will work on, but having Kozlowski, who is known to be a savant in the automotive, Internet, and technology industries, should put Porsche Digital in a good position to, as Porsche says, “promote long-term partnerships” with other companies that can help foster relationships and build an ecosystem grounded on digital mobility solutions. Another part of the Porsche Digital initiative is to provide funds to start-up companies that Porsche believes has the potential to grow into long-term collaborations.

In other words, Porsche Digital is looking to create a network of of tech-oriented programs through Porsche Digital, one that can help lay the groundwork towards strengthening the German automaker’s own digital mobility solutions. It’s the kind of approach that wouldn’t have made sense a few years ago, but with the way technology has evolved in the auto industry, it’s a little surprising that other companies aren’t taking a similar approach as Porsche is by creating Porsche Digital GmbH.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

There’s a lot to digest here but in the simplest terms, Porsche Digital is going to be a subsidiary under Porsche North America that will focus all of its attention in turning Porsche into the go-to-company for digital mobility solutions in its segment. It’s a smart move for Porsche because it can set itself up as a market leader in this particular segment. We all know how important mobility and digitalization are in the auto industry these days, and if the German automaker can corner this market and establish itself as a leader in digital technologies, it’s going to have a huge advantage over its rivals.

It’s also a good idea that Porsche Digital is emphasizing early on that it’s a company that will not only work on technical and technological innovations, but it also won’t hesitate to seek out partners in areas where it’s not proficient. This kind of strategy should bode well for Porsche as it can establish relationships with technological experts in other fields, and if the opportunity presents itself for future collaborations, Porsche Digital can tap into these relationships to help with its own projects.

Give Porsche credit for setting it up properly too. It tapped a leader in Koslowoski who cut his teeth in the auto and tech segments. It also set up a network of offices that include its headquarters in Germany and affiliate offices in Berlin, Silicon Valley, and China. That tells you that Porsche wants to tap into the global market in its quest to be a leader in digital mobility.

It’s an ambitious goal, but it also has the potential to be one of those decisions that could shape the German automaker’s future, both in the short and long term.

Press Release

Porsche is moving into the fast lane on the topic of digitization. The Supervisory Board of the company has now approved the founding of Porsche Digital GmbH. The objective of the new enterprise is to further develop Porsche as the leading provider of digital mobility solutions in the premium automotive segment. Thilo Koslowski will be the managing director of Porsche Digital GmbH. He recently joined Porsche from the United States IT consulting company Gartner Inc. Koslowski is considered an expert in the automotive, internet and technology sectors. The newly founded company will be headquartered in Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart. Further affiliated offices will be in Berlin, Silicon Valley, and China. The Silicon Valley operation will be a subsidiary of Porsche Cars North America, Inc.

“Our business environment is changing ever more dynamically,” said Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, Supervisory Board chairman of Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG. “Porsche Digital GmbH will strengthen the brand, develop innovative customer experiences, and attract new partners. We are combining the traditional Porsche spirit with the power of new technologies.”

For Porsche CEO Oliver Blume the new subsidiary “is a logical step in order for Porsche to successfully position itself for the digital future.” Blume adds that for Porsche digitization has three dimensions: product, customer, and companies.

Access to innovative and high-growth partners

“Porsche Digital GmbH is our Competence Center where visions are turned into reality,” says Blume. There, digital customer experiences, products, business areas, and business processes will be identified and further developed. The Porsche subsidiary will cooperate closely with all departments in testing and implementing new value creation models and innovative product offerings. Among the tasks of Porsche Digital GmbH will be the identification and evaluation of trends which ensure access to relevant technologies.

Porsche not only believes in its own potential for innovation, but also its partnerships. Porsche Digital GmbH considers itself to be an interface between Porsche and innovators around the world. This applies in particular to the areas of connectivity, smart mobility, and autonomous vehicles. As part of Porsche’s digital transformation, the new subsidiary will promote long-term partnerships with suitable partners and in this way create a digital ecosystem. There are also plans for equity holdings in venture capital funds and start-ups which offer opportunities for close collaboration with innovative, high-growth companies, talents, and new technologies.

“Digitization is leading to the renaissance of the automobile and is making it the central element of our digital lifestyle,” says the subsidiary’s new managing director Thilo Koslowski. “We will create digital customer experiences typical of Porsche which are fascinating and intelligent – both inside and outside the vehicle.”

Innovation offensive at Porsche

The foundation of the subsidiary is part of a major innovation offensive at Porsche. A concerted effort is being made at the company to establish innovation management across departments as well as systematically cataloging and promoting ideas. “Innovation does not emerge by itself. It is all about developing ideas systematically,” says Porsche CEO Blume. “Porsche has many ideas. The challenge is to think across functional divisions, use external resources, and take concrete action very rapidly – especially in the digital environment,” added Blume.

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