Tuesday, 28 July 2015 00:00

4 of the Biggest Automotive Manufacturing Trends for 2015 and Beyond

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Frequent change and innovation is the rule throughout the new economy, and the auto industry is no exception.  Auto manufacturers must constantly track consumer demands, adopt new technology, and streamline their production processes in order to provide safe, convenient, affordable vehicles. Buyers must pay attention to auto industry trends and adapt their shopping patterns accordingly.  The most important trends in 2015 include:

Quality Concerns

quality3-1024x682Source: Toyota demonstrates its commitment to quality: http://blog.toyota.co.uk/?p=38952014 was marked by growing concern over automakers' quality standards.  Citing power supply issues, engine problems, defective airbags and a plethora of other safety and performance concerns, automakers recalled over 65 million vehicles in the United States alone, losing billions of dollars and damaging their reputations.  Auto companies intend to spend this year adopting new technology, hiring new quality assurance specialists, and streamlining quality assurance processes to catch flaws early on. Original parts manufacturers are also stepping up their quality control efforts. Many fastener makers, for example, are adopting ISO guidelines to reduce confusion over quality standards. Other quality control innovations include:

Electric Elevation

heating aluminum 350pxAluminum Solution Heat Treating FurnacesLaws requiring the construction of electric car charging equipment in parking lots, along with the growth of commercial charging stations, will allow environmentally conscious consumers to replace their hybrid electric vehicles with all-electric ones.  This will cause demand for electric vehicles to grow precipitously.  Automakers and original equipment manufacturers will invest in larger and more efficient car batteries, better electric heating systems, and other technologies to give electric cars the same capabilities as traditional ones.

Along with the growing demand for electric vehicles comes increasing regulatory pressure to make fuel-efficient gas vehicles.  The 2016 Consumer Average Fuel Economy standards will require US automakers to make vehicles with an average fuel efficiency of 34 miles per gallon.  To achieve this, manufacturers will have to replace steel fasteners with aluminum ones, place motors in the cars' hubs, and take other measures to reduce vehicle weight. Automakers will benefit from new methods to make aluminum stronger and other developments that will make it easier to change materials; nonetheless, these changes will add more than $500 to the cost of production.  Because consumers are not willing to pay more for energy efficient vehicles, this will reduce profits for automakers and original equipment manufacturers.

Integrated IT

The demand for computerized car features has risen steadily over the past decade, and will likely continue to do so.  Automakers have already adopted digital equipment, but consumers have complained that this equipment is flawed.  The most successful manufacturers in the coming years will be those who incorporate computer hardware into their vehicles efficiently and seamlessly.  They will also have to work closely with programmers to design better software.

Changes in Demand

Market research shows that consumers are abandoning traditional brand loyalties and are more willing to compare cars from multiple automakers. Overall demand is growing, which is a boom for automakers, fastener manufacturers, and other equipment producers. The decline in brand loyalty, however, is generating increased competition, forcing manufacturers to lower prices.  Likewise, because many of the features traditionally associated with luxury vehicles have now become standard on ordinary cars, the amount of product differentiation is likely to decrease.  Automakers will replace customization software with methods to proactively gauge customer desires.

Akko Fastener, Inc. has extensive experience making fasteners for the automotive and aerospace industries. We regularly consult studies from leading universities to produce stronger, lighter fasteners that will improve fuel efficiency. For more information, give us a call today at 586-731-9058 or click here to send us a message.

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