Starting in September 2018, CO2 emissions and consumption should be determined in accordance to WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) for all passenger cars sold and registered in Europe.
Besides the investments in new technologies to reduce CO2, WLTP forces automakers to change several widespread processes such as vehicle configuration, homologation, pricing, sales & marketing, IT, customer communication as well as CO2 fleet compliance.

When it comes to new car sales, the improved transparency should support customers in better comparing alternatives to make purchasing decisions easier due to more accurate data, as CO2 and consumption will have an impact on vehicle taxation in many markets.

Interested in how the implementation of WLTP at the major automakers across Europe is progressing, BearingPoint performed a European-wide analysis (timeframe March – May 2018) on how WLTP is being reflected in online car configurators from a customer’s perspective.

In this context, we asked the following key questions:

  • How are existing and future customers generally being informed about the topic and its impacts? Is there a WLTP information page?
  • Are single values or ranges shown while starting the configuration?
  • Are combined or cycle specific values displayed when starting the configuration?
  • Are variable CO2 emissions shown during configuration? What happens if customers change their vehicle configuration?
  • Is the environmental impact summarized through the efficiency energy class?
  • What is shown and displayed in the exportable configuration summary?

Here are the key facts:

  • All of the brands – at least in one of the analyzed markets – provide a dedicated section of the website to information aimed at explaining to their customers the changes introduced by WLTP.
  • 58 percent of the brands (11/19) have adapted the online configurator to change CO2 and consumption values when different wheels and tires are selected. This means that they are ready to support WLTP computation. Currently some brands limit the configuration choices of the customer to features not affecting CO2. We expect to see all brands to have car configurators that calculate CO2 and consumption values based on all feature choices.
  • 63 percent of the brands (12/19) display ranges at the start of configuration; at finalization the trend is to display a single value for the specific configuration. Most of the brands display cycle specific consumption values, while for CO2 the clear trend is to display the combined value only.
  • Almost all brands – at least in one of the analyzed markets – display the efficiency energy class as a summary of the environmental impact of the selected vehicle. Due to different regulations and labeling metrics across Europe the display rate is very heterogeneous depending on the market.
  • The great majority of the brands display energy/fuel consumption and CO2 emissions within the exportable summary of the configuration. Consumption is cycle specific while CO2 is displayed for the combined cycle only.

Although all brands have started to create transparency regarding WLTP, the study results still reveal significant differences in communication.

Matthias Loebich

The study results still reveal significant differences in WLTP communication. However, they also show that all brands have already begun to create transparency regarding WLTP and basically support the WLTP calculation. At the time of our study, of the brands analyzed, Audi and BMW were the most advanced in customer communication, as they had already adapted their online configurators to the introduction of WLTP in almost all surveyed markets. In the course of WLTP, manufacturers are currently confronted with many different topics, such as product configuration, pricing and IT, with the consequence that customer communication does not always have the highest priority. However, information to customers on WLTP is key, and automakers cannot escape implementing it.

Matthias Loebich, Global Head of Automotive, BearingPoint


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