If automotive companies are to succeed in putting the customer at the center of their businesses, they need the right data management approach. Developing this approach requires effort in terms of both strategy and technology, but it will improve customer experience and bring companies competitive advantage. Key requirements include a customer-centric business and IT strategy to align stakeholders, a customer data model with a unique identifier for each customer, a central customer database and data integration layer, and a lightweight governance model that focuses on the most valuable customer data.