Study: More R&D To Fall On Auto Suppliers Shoulders

Suppliers to the automotive industry will be responsible for nearly 60% of that arena's research and development by the end of the decade, predicts Roland Berger Strategy Consultants in its report "Automotive Engineering 2010." Today their R&D contribution approaches 40%, the firm says. That's happening at a time when the industry is dealing the "unprecedented growth in vehicle models and product features" notes Wim van Acker, managing director of Roland Berger's Detroit automotive practice. The industry's top five manufacturers are expected to introduce 160 new models and facelifts in the United States from 2003 to 2007, the consultants say. "Despite the tremendous price pressures on automakers and their suppliers that we've seen in recent years, cost-reduction efforts will most likely continue," says Acker. "In order to remain competitive, companies must seek innovation and efficiency in the way they currently conduct business." Data for the survey was collected from interviews with more than 60 auto OEMs and their suppliers in the first half of 2004.

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