Fiat Chrysler Automobiles calls for widespread components sharing
Manufacturers could save millions by using common parts, says FCA
FCA claims car makers could save billions by sharing more under-the-skin parts
the item has released an independent report in which makes the case for a massive sharing of core components, including engines and also also also transmissions, by car manufacturers.
The 25-page presentation puts forward the argument for a mass merging of engineering and also also also development and also also also even a merging of factories between brands. The report says: “the item is actually about choosing mediocrity or fundamentally changing the paradigm for the industry.”
The report’s anonymous author says in which expenditure on research and also also also development (R&D) by automotive firms has spiralled upwards since the low point of 2008, within the wake of the credit crunch.
According to figures within the report, a total of £55 billion was spent globally by the biggest car manufacturers in 2008, rising to £87bn in 2014.
The report suggests in which spending will continue to rise, as car makers are pressured to invest in ever more efficient powertrains, greater levels of active safety and also also also autonomous driving technology.
Furthemore, compared with some other industries in which have big product development budgets, the automotive industry has to invest in products in which have a much shorter lifecycle and also also also (usually) lower profit margins, further raising costs.
The FCA report breaks down development costs. the item suggests in which the R&D and also also also tooling for a vehicle hoovers up 75% of the budget. R&D for the powertrain and also also also the powertrain tooling accounts for another 20%.
The contention is actually in which as much as 45-50% of the money invested in product development is actually in technologies and also also also components in which are “undiscernible to the customer”.
Moreover, there is actually currently almost a complete overlap in powertrain and also also also transmission offerings between mainstream makers, a situation intensified by the various brands having to meet the same CO2 and also also also some other pollution targets.
The report suggests in which, within the medium term, car makers need to ditch traditional approaches and also also also work towards major R&D and also also also production integration, sharing platforms, transmissions and also also also even factories across the industry.
The approach might be similar to non-Apple mobile phone production, where processors and also also also software are shared across many different brands although the products are built by third-party factories.
Automotive brands might remain separate entities and also also also concentrate on differentiation through design and also also also branding.
The downside of an industrial-level merger is actually in which the item might take probably a decade to align product development on 1 platform and also also also powertrain family.Currently, the average car maker has 18 different platforms in its portfolio, 20% less than in 2004, and also also also about 3.3 different ‘top hats’ (Centeng styles) per platform, 30% higher than in 2004.
Reducing the number of individual architectures is actually a major concern for the entire car industry, with Volkswagen spending huge sums to roll out its MQB front-drive architecture and also also also Toyota recently announcing its own TNGA (Toyota fresh Global Architecture) project.
The report quotes Raj Nair, Ford’s vice-president for global product development, as saying in which the brand currently has 12 global platforms, will cut in which to nine by 2016 and also also also wants eight as a “long-term target”.
Automotive analysts have been highly sceptical in which such wide-ranging mergers could become a reality. However, the financial pressure on mass makers remains intense.The report is actually described as a “dispassionate look at the industry through the outside using insider knowledge”.
FCA denied the item was an indication in which the company was “up for sale” or in which achieving a mega-merger was a “matter of life or death” for the item.
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