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Asia rises in automotive arena

Posted: 16 Mar 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:global automotive industry  electric and hybrid vehicles  vehicle connectivity  auto manufacturing hub 

A study conducted by consultancy firm Roland Berger on "Automotive Landscape 2025" forecasts many changes in the automotive industry—including changes in the related electronics business. The study, which involved almost all of Roland Berger's 39 offices around the globe, identifies a number of technological and business trends. It says that over the next 15 years, the global automotive industry will be nothing like it is today.

According to the study, the two most relevant trends for the automotive industry are the increasing market share of electric, and even more pronounced, hybrid cars. According to the study, electric vehicles will account for about 10 per cent of new vehicles, well above current European estimates. The German government, for example, targets a share of e-cars of only 1 per cent. Even though this target will be reached already in 2020, in a global scale, electric vehicles apparently will gain acceptance much faster than in Germany. Hybrid vehicles will gain share even faster; the study predicts that in 2025 their share will touch the 40 per cent mark.

Another key trend in automotive technology is vehicle connectivity. This is not a new insight, though. The study falls short of providing figures, but details the motivation for the shift to the always-on car. "What younger generations will be looking for in a car is a seamless integration with other means of mobility and a hassle-free connectivity with their mobile devices," explains Roland Berger automotive researcher Grosse Kleinmann. As a result of this trend, the automotive industry is expected to converge with other industries such as CE and telecommunications.

The preferences among the younger generation will also trigger another shift—from large, full-sized vehicles to small, cheap ones. The reason: cars will lose their importance as a status symbol. Thus, large vehicles with luxury (electronic) equipment will become less frequent while small cars will feature a more or less complete infotainment and connectivity section with features such as personalized HMI.

The study also predicts a "dramatic" shift to the Asian markets for both production and sales. This trend will endanger some 3,00,000 jobs in Europe. The reason is that in emerging countries the demand for cars will grow much faster than in Europe and North America. In this context, the study predicts a growth rate of less than 1 per cent in the old economies—in contrast to the 36 per cent annual growth in China—with the consequence of radically shifting design and production capacities to this geographical region.

- Christoph Hammerschmidt
  EE Times

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