Automotive E-ssentials

Your regular update for technical and industry information

Your regular update for technical and industry information

AN INTERVIEW WITH Roland Gagel - TÜV SÜD’s new Senior Vice President Automotive

An interview with Roland Gagel Roland Gagel is our new Senior Vice President Automotive of the Mobility Division since 1st July. He succeeds Alexander Kraus, who after six years will be now responsible for Mobility Industry and, in addition to Automotive and Highly Automated Driving, will now also be in charge of Remarketing, Mobility Consulting and Human Diagnostics.

After studying engineering and business administration at the Technical University Darmstadt, Roland Gagel started his career in 1995 at GM/Opel in Rüsselsheim and moved to SGS Transportation in 2011, where he led a global management team with P&L responsibility. There, he was responsible for field inspection and audit services worldwide in the Transportation division. With Roland Gagel onboard, TÜV SÜD is sending a strong signal for the consistent implementation of its internationalisation strategy and further expansion as a leading global TIC service provider for the automotive industry.

"Car manager with TIC experience - this combination is rarely found in the industry. Roland Gagel brings both of these qualities with him and is not only therefore an ideal appointment to succeed Alexander Kraus. With his many years of experience in all international car markets, he also sends a clear signal of our commitment to markets worldwide", says Patrick Fruth, CEO of TÜV SÜD's Mobility Division. Alexander Kraus, future Head of the Mobility Industry Division, adds: "By strengthening our management team with Mr. Gagel, we are building on the further expansion of our service portfolio along the entire vehicle lifecycle. In this way, we are definitely continuing the successful course of the past decade".

Currently, the automotive industry is changing quickly with lots of technical innovations being developed. What new challenges arise from that for the global automotive industry’?

Gagel: The automotive industry is both an asset and cost-intensive. It has been severely hit by losses in volumes due to the COVID-19 crisis and the subsequent loss of sales revenues and cash flow. But COVID-19 mainly catalyses changes that were started before.

The biggest industry challenge worldwide are overcapacity and over diversified portfolios, due to the shift in demand from current conventional and combustion propelled vehicles to new vehicles with electric and autonomous technology. Many players were already challenged with large investments and need for portfolio restructuring, but the pandemic worsens the situation by reducing revenues and cash flow.

Auto companies like OEMs, suppliers, and service providers will need to focus their energy and budget on the right areas that will provide future success. Innovation will remain key to stay on top of the market and gain shares in future growth segments like highly automated driving and connected vehicles.

Affordability of the technology to the buyers will be more important in the future and the demand for shared-use models like private leasing will increase. Affordable lease rates will be the key to a successful recovery, as we have already observed in the US between 2010 and 2019.

Finally, let us not forget that the auto industry is working towards reducing its carbon footprint to support the climate goals, therefore more stringent emission regulation is imminent. 

How do you think this will also affect TIC companies like TÜV SÜD and their service portfolio?

Gagel: Although the TIC industry is a very resilient and scalable industry with comparable low capex exposure, it is equally hit by the crisis and brings about structural changes of our clients. We have learned that people-based services like ours must be much more digitalised, and we made good progress during the crisis by also offering various digital services for car dealers and digital remote witnessing services for type approval. In the last weeks, I spoke with many colleagues at TÜV SÜD and I found a tremendous competence and brand recognition along the automotive value chain that we should further utilize.

Regarding the international Automotive R&D market and the services we provide, we will investigate our portfolio during the coming weeks and define the strategic investment areas to use the crisis to strengthen our offerings to traditional OEMs and new players. OEMs recognise that without new models, propulsion, or key product features, the market will not revive fast enough. We are here to serve them to master the key trends of electrification and autonomous driving with our services. TÜV SÜD will help to make highly automated driving a reality and certifiable by the authorities. The fast proliferation of hybrid electric vehicles will even boost our emission compliance business where we are about to open our new Mobility and Drive Center in Heimsheim later this year. Cars and related regulations won’t become less complex and will still require the support of experts like at TÜV SÜD and as part of the team I will support to establish us further as one of the leading global TIC service providers.

You have recently left one of our competitors to join our team at TÜV SÜD. What has attracted you about the new position?

Gagel: In the TIC industry, many specialised people perform very advanced services for customers. Eventually, every TIC company lives from a strategic focus on specific industries, to create added value for clients and not just control compliance. TÜV SÜD attracted me due to the clear focus on the mobility industry and the strategic investments made to become the leading provider in this sector. The brand can capitalise on its extremely high reputation among the automotive business from global OEMs to the smallest workshops. I am excited to be part of this energetic, traditional brand with such a clear future focus and investment strategy in line with this focus.

Which goals do you want to achieve in your new role?

Gagel: My short-term focus is to stabilise our business over the COVID impact. But mid and long term wise, we are set to grow and expand internationally. Our homologation services will increase its leading position as a designated technical service, enabling customers to enter the global vehicle market. We will expand into international markets and capitalise on our worldwide expert teams when to provide product certification for Europe, but also other regulations like US, China or Korea. The upcoming regulations to make highly automated vehicles certifiable by the authorities will add a completely new business sector that TÜV SÜD is already today in the lead.

With our new Mobility and Drive Center as part of our international network of emission labs, we will reinforce our top position as emission compliance testing provider to help our clients to master the challenges of electrification and upcoming emission regulations. We can ensure engines comply with regulations on test benches and in real live. The coexistence of battery electric, hybrid, and internal combustion propelled vehicles for the foreseeable future is a driver for our growth.

We are certain: Innovation pressure and internationalisation will continue - especially in these difficult times – TÜV SÜD Mobility Division will be the partner of choice for clients in the industry.

Roland Gagel's new office is the Automotive, Technology and Environment Centre of TÜV SÜD subsidiary TÜV Hessen in Pfungstadt.


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