Jefferson North, ChryslerBig changes are underway – highlighted by the formation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. I discussed collaborations and partnerships in my last note, and commented that there were still many questions surrounding this tie-up. Glenn Brooks’ article highlights the current level of platform/production line sharing but it’s safe to assume that this partnership will see more dramatic changes being implemented in the future; both OEMs have serious issues to deal with in terms of production plant investment and utilisation.
Automation in production is another area experiencing change, in particular robotics and control systems. The idea of collaborative robots is starting to become a reality, although as Mike Farish’s article points out there is a long way to go before man and machine are working in perfect harmony side by side on the line. Still, OEMs are looking seriously at this development because they see the potential benefits. The growing sophistication of control systems provides another area of huge potential not just for improving efficiencies but also for how the production process is carried out.

Meanwhile, South East Asia is not a new region to the automotive industry (OEMs are well established there) but as Nick Gibbs' report highlights, the region has the potential to become the next automotive manufacturing powerhouse, changing the global map of the industry.