More than a decade ago, I wrote about what I perceived some of the “growth” areas would be for automotive OEM suppliers. I recall talking about interior/exterior systems, electronics, acoustics, suspension systems and specialty materials to include coatings and adhesives.
I based this in large part on the business activity in my search practice along with conversations I would have with technical and marketing people in the industry.
At that time, the idea of a major movement toward electric vehicles wasn’t a part of most conversations. Internal combustion engines (I.C.E.’s) had become and continue to be, highly efficient and very reliable. And, while I.C.E.’s continually improved and were refined in small increments, we have generally not witnessed giant leaps forward in engine technology. I didn’t view the growth in engine components to be negative, I just believed at the time that engines were a “given” and more focus would be placed on the product areas listed above. This has been true to some degree.
The business strategy employed by automotive parts suppliers will certainly change in the years ahead. It is still difficult to predict exactly when the scale will tip toward domination of electric vehicles —or better stated, non-combustion engine vehicles. It is fair to say that those companies heavily dependent on supplying parts for I.C.E.’s will have some challenges ahead as they re-direct their marketing. On the bright side, this may stimulate manufacturers whose specifications might have remained constant for years, to step outside the box (sorry about that catch phrase 😊) and innovate. It might just be fun as well as rewarding.