Audi follows a trend set by other OEMs, notably GM, and opens an R&D Center in China. Located in Beijing’s fashionable 751 D-Park , the center will be busy doing product customization for the Asian market, especially when it comes to electronics and connectivity, along with components for new-energy vehicles and efficient powertrains. (Read More…)
One of the reasons for Volkswagen’s current strength dates back four years. During the carmageddon of 2008 ff, multinational carmakers such as GM and Toyota drastically cut back investments into new cars and technologies. Volkswagen did not change R&D spending. Four years later, this translates into a host of new models, and revolutionary platform architectures (MQB, MLB, MSB) that promise even more new models at lower cost. (Read More…)
The closing of the Oshawa Consolidated Line supposedly had GM in the bailout doghouse – the company was supposed to maintain a certain level of production in Canada according to the terms of their bailout package. As far as we know, GM hasn’t replenished that yet, but they are throwing the Canadian federal and Ontario governments a bone by investing an undisclosed nine-figure sum into R&D at Oshawa.
If you want to pretty-up the P&L of a car company, there are two quick fixes: You cut marketing expenses, or you cut R&D. A cut of R&D expenses won’t show up negatively for three to five years, when you suddenly lack new cars to sell. In the meantime, you look like a hero. General Motors plans to cut about a quarter of the workers at its R&D facility at the Warren Technical Center in suburban Detroit, Automotive News [sub] says. (Read More…)
One of the reasons why Volkswagen is hitting on all cylinders (don’t be U.S. myopic – always measure a car company by global success) is that they did not stop investing in the wake of the 2008 crash. They did not have to: Sales in the U.S. were low, and where you don’t have a lot, you can’t lose a lot. At the same time, VW had the big luck of being a major player in China. While U.S. and Japanese car companies stopped or severely dialed back their investments into R&D and capacities, Volkswagen kept on spending. This has a delayed effect of 3 to 5 years, and what we are seeing now is just the beginning of this effect. It is also the beginning of an even greater spending spree. (Read More…)
The chief reason for the recent decline of the fortunes of Japanese automakers was not, as posited by pop pundits, the recalls or the tsunami. It was something more insidious, something regularly overlooked by most outsiders and many insiders. It was a reduction in development spending – an eventually deadly bottom line therapy also popular by cash-starved American peers. Japanese automakers have realized the error of their ways and have returned to funding the finding of that insanely great next generation car. (Read More…)
Establishing R&D centers in China by foreign automakers is a huge trend. Of course, the trend was led by GM, which already has an alphabet soup of tech centers (PATAC, CAERC, and CATC) in the Shanghai area. Now, Toyota follows with their own. Following prevailing fashion, it will be called TMEC. (Read More…)
The car business has endured a lot of bad news over the last several years, as finance-fueled sales crashed with the credit market, and automakers around the world scrambled for government aid. The so-called “Carmageddon” has touched everyone even remotely involved with the automotive industry, not to mention everyone who pays taxes, but from a strictly consumer perspective, it hasn’t been all bad. Certainly the deals have been good, as programs like Cash For Clunkers and the wind-down of several brands have helped savvy shoppers find some of the best deals in a long time. So here’s the reality check: according to Booz & Co.’s Global Innovation 1000 study, spending on research and development by the auto sector was down $12b last year. That’s $12b that should have been spent making your car faster, smarter, safer, cleaner, better that’s no longer being spent. Still feeling untouched?
Today, GM broke ground for another R&D Center in China, called the GM China Advanced Technical Center. The new facility is in addition to existing R&D centers in China, including the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) in Shanghai and the China Automotive Energy Research Center (CAERC) in Beijing. (Read More…)
On Wednesday, German German tire and car parts maker Continental AG joined the long line of multinationals who opened a R&D facility in China. The multinationals are way ahead of popular wisdom that technology is developed in the West and ripped off in the East. In reality, development has long left the building and has taken up shop in China.
Continental’s R&D center in northeast Shanghai will have 900 engineers working away by early next year. They will focus on the design and development of vehicle electronics. Shanghai Daily reports that Continental plans another technical center in the Jiading District if Shanghai which will do vehicle development and system testing. Not the stuff you do with a sledgehammer.
Intellectual property warriors, get your guns: Following GM, its arch nemesis Toyota will plant a brand new R & D center smack into the alleged intellectual property jungle called China. Toyota plans to spend between $330 and $440 million for the center. Building will commence next year. Compared to Toyota, the one GM built in 2008 was the lite version at a price of only $250 million.