Cost still tops the list of challenges facing the automotive industry, according to the ninth annual DuPont Automotive/SAE Survey of automotive engineers attending the SAE World Congress in Detroit last week. Technologies for alternative fuels, emissions regulations come in a close second and third, according to the results.
The importance of recycling doubled in the eyes of respondents, and enhanced safety systems and electronic systems are the most valued consumer technologies.
Technical challenges surrounding alternative fuels increased 80% to being top of mind on 16% of attendees, and emissions regulations concern remained constant as a paramount issue among 15% of attendees.
Recycling also gained priority. Almost half of the attendees say recycling will be a higher priority over the next five years, up from only 28% in 2002.
Survey respondents believe the majority of consumers rate safety as the top priority in choosing a vehicle. In ranking specific safety technology, smart air bags are expected to the get the most attention and resources from automotive OEMs and suppliers. Next highest priority will be vehicle dynamics/stability control technologies, followed by active seatbelts, advanced occupant sensors and drive-by-wire systems that improve vehicle handling.
In addition to improved safety, the survey results show the industry believes consumers are expected to demand greater convenience features, such as telematics and navigation systems. The survey also shows respondents believe consumers are still hungry for more automotive entertainment technologies. As the demand for vehicle electronics increases, respondents see a steady growth in the need for more electrical power, such as 42V systems.
The Automotive Consulting Group of Ann Arbor, MI conducted the DuPont Automotive/SAE survey of automakers and suppliers planning to attend the 2003 SAE World Congress.