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Analysis of North American Vehicle Manufacturers Research and Innovation Practices
Frost & Sullivan, January 2010, Pages: 52
This strategic mapping study analyzes the research and innovation practices and strategies in the product development processes used by Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. The study examines each company's structure, global footprint, goals, and product development process; and analyzes research spending, product developments, and strategies used to meet the company's goals, in both internal and external research.
This Frost & Sullivan research service titled Analysis of North American Vehicle Manufacturers Research and Innovation Practices provides information on the structure of each of the companies, their global footprints, goals, and product development processes. In this research, Frost & Sullivan's expert analysts thoroughly examine the following technologies: infotainment and telematics; automotive electrics and electronics; chassis technologies and driving dynamics; comfort and convenience; business strategy and Innovation; powertrain and alternative propulsion; safety; and driving assistance and warning systems.
Understanding North American Manufacturers’ Research and Innovation Strategies Holds Key to Growth for All Market Participants
Grasping the nuances of the research and innovation strategies of the major North American OEMs is vital for continued competitiveness for OEMs as well as Tier 1 manufacturers operating in this space. These strategies shape the direction of the future market and illuminate the path for market participants that intend to partner with these manufacturers. The largest growth sector of comfort and convenience features is user connectivity and infotainment. There is a strong growth potential for technologies that allow a vehicle to be used as a mobile office. Due to the bevy of smart devices available, the emphasis of this technology will be on compatible integration and device feature bundling, instead of device replacement. "External factors affecting vehicle safety, vehicle powertrain, and vehicle connectivity shape the development of technology," notes the analyst of this research service. "The major influences on powertrain research and innovation are the updated CAFÉ standards and the significant consumer preference for smaller, more economical vehicles that perform well."
Safety standards are highly regulated in North America. Research in this domain will allow automakers to develop these technologies ahead of future regulations, in order to bring them to market profitably and with a minimal price premium. Market factors also come into play in this area. The consumer preference for downsizing vehicles is driving the market for safety technology. Consumers are paying more attention to safety features, as they feel more vulnerable in a smaller vehicle. The most pressing issue regarding research and innovation is the implementation of advanced technologies across a product line in a cost- and time-efficient manner. This challenge has unleashed a new wave of research and product development strategies.
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the payback period required to recoup the price premium for alternative powertrains. The onus is on manufacturers to develop fuel-efficient powertrains focused on wide-scale application capability and minimal cost premiums. This pressure, juxtaposed with economic challenges caused by a struggling automotive market, creates a changing landscape that other market participants must focus on to grow in the future. "Manufacturers must focus on developing as streamlined a process as possible while developing new technologies, especially given the current vehicle market in North America," explains the analyst. "Approaches must be developed that create the most universally-applicable technology with the least expenditure of time and capital." Platform- and architecture-engineering provides vehicle manufacturers with the leverage they need to develop new technologies at a lower cost per vehicle. Virtual engineering and design reduces product development time in order to ensure that new technologies are speedily brought to market. Research may be tailored to be dominant in a niche segment of the market, capitalizing on an automaker’s core competency, or it can be a broad-spectrum salvo aimed at bringing in a diverse customer base through a wide range of differentiated products. Widespread development and distribution across a vehicle platform or architecture will reduce the total cost and time-to-market. Participants must have contingency plans in place and balance research developments across the entire product line, to ensure against severe market share loss in case of rapid consumer behavior change.
- The following technologies are covered in this research:
- Infotainment and telematics
- Automotive electrics and electronics
- Chassis technologies and driving dynamics
- Comfort and convenience
- Business strategy and innovation
- Powertrain and alternative propulsion
- Driving assistance and warning systems
1 | ANALYSIS OF NORTH AMERICAN VEHICLE MANUFACTURERS RESEARCH AND INNOVATION PRACTICES
-- 1. Table of Contents
-- 2. Analysis of North American Vehicle Manufacturers Research and Innovation Practices
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