Automotive industry

Automotive filing buzz: Robotics mentions down 44% in Q4 2021

Mentions of robotics in automotive company filings fell 44% between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of robotics-related convictions in 2021 was 78% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from which our data comes from for this article, began tracking top issues mentioned in company filings.

When companies in the automotive industry publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other documents, GlobalData analyzes the text and identifies individual phrases related to the disruptive forces companies will face in the years to come. Robotics is one such topic – companies that excel and invest in these areas are seen as better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to overcome unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether robotics is more present in the summaries and strategies of companies in the automotive industry, two measures were calculated. First, we looked at the percentage of companies that mentioned robotics at least once in their filings over the last twelve months – it was 51% compared to 31% in 2016. Second, we calculated the percentage of total sentences analyzed that referred to robotics.

Among the 10 largest employers in the automotive industry, Denso is the company that referred to robotics the most in 2021. GlobalData has identified 10 robotics-related phrases in filings by the Japan-based company, or 0.2% of all sentences. Mercedes-Benz mentioned robotics in second place – the issue was mentioned in 0.11% of sentences in company filings. Other top employers with high robotics endorsements include BYD, Lear, and Continental.

Of all companies in the automotive industry, the fourth quarter 2021 release that placed the most emphasis on robotics came from Denso. Of the 1,679 sentences in the document, 10 (0.6%) referred to robotics.

This analysis provides a rough indication of which companies are focusing on robotics and how big the problem is in the automotive industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted with caution. For example, a company mentioning robotics more regularly is not necessarily evidence that it is using new techniques or prioritizing the problem, nor does it indicate whether the company’s businesses in the field of robotics have been successes or failures.

Last quarter, Asia-based auto companies were the most likely to mention robotics with 0.12% of phrases in company filings referencing the issue. In contrast, companies headquartered in the United States mentioned robotics in just 0.04% of sentences.