AMS & ABB Automotive Manufacturing Outlook Survey 2023 results: A positive outlook despite evolving challenges

ABB_Survey Results_600_400 (1)

Download the latest global survey results to gain expert insight into automotive manufacturing trends, gauge the current sentiment across the automotive sector and learn about the broader industry outlook for 2024 and beyond.

Automotive Manufacturing Outlook Survey 2023 Results AMS + ABB

Despite post-Covid disruption to supply chains gradually easing, automotive manufacturing is continuing to face an evolving set of external challenges. Economic clouds are forming on the horizon, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars add another level of complexity, and the Red Sea and Suez Canal tensions further raise the level of supply chain, manufacturing and production disruption.

In parallel, the consumer transition to electrification appears to have slowed with EV sales stagnating in some regions. China is beginning in earnest to export cheaper good quality EVs into western markets, and to compete, legacy OEMs are being forced to implement cost-cutting measures to make their EVs more affordable, all with profound implications for manufacturing.

Furthermore, vehicle manufacturing itself is being compelled to reduce its carbon footprint and become sustainable whilst the wider supply chains must aim for net zero emissions all the way upstream to the raw materials.

The array of industry challenges have been captured in this comprehensive global survey with AMS  teaming up with robotics and automation experts ABB Robotics to provide insight into the current state of play in automotive manufacturing.

Beyond automotive manufacturing and related challenges, the survey also measures the overall market sentiment around vehicle production and sales volumes, and also looks to the future, exploring where the likely opportunities are likely to be.

Key survey highlights include: 

Manufacturing challenges

Figure 1 Manufacturing challenges

Figure 1: Manufacturing challenges

The 2020-2022 Covid pandemic inevitably pushed supply chain disruption to the top of the agenda, with the previous 2022 survey clearly illustrating this, as 67% of respondents voted this as their number one challenge. However for the 2023 survey, supply chain disruption was still a major challenge (with 35% of respondents reporting this), but not quite the dominant issue it previously was, and has been notably overtaken – just – by growing labour & skills shortages according to 36% of respondents.

Future technologies

Figure 2- Future technologies

Figure 2: Future technologies

Notwithstanding the dominance of electrification and immense industry investment into EVs, battery supply chains and charging infrastructure, it was revealing that survey respondents saw the industry’s future powertrain solutions to be more varied, with no clear technological winner.

For passenger vehicles, 25% of respondents highlighted battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell hybrids as the technology which has the potential to make a major contribution, followed closely by hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (23%) and advanced batteries: solid state, lithium-sulphur, lithium air (22%). Notably, hydrogen combustion also received a significant response rate (11%), with a perceptible uptick in interest for this emerging technology.

State of the automotive industry

Despite some concerning economic indicators, the overall automotive industry outlook according to survey respondents was broadly positive. 

Figure 3- State of the automotive industry

Figure 3: State of the automotive industry

In this 2023 survey, both the vehicle production and sales outlook is notably more positive than the previous year’s outlook, with 76% believing vehicle production would stay the same or increase, compared to just 56% in 2022. Likewise, in the 2023 survey, 69% believed vehicle sales would stay the same or increase, compared to only 54% in 2022, which is a notably more upbeat outlook.

Of significance was that in terms of vehicle volumes, the main constraint has shifted to demand (55%) in 2023, but in last year’s 2022 survey the main constraint was production (57%). This confirms the earlier findings around supply chain disruption in 2023 easing compared to 2022.

For further details, download the full survey report and gain exclusive insights into: 

  • Manufacturing challenges
  • Costs
  • Manufacturing complexity
  • Future of the industry
  • Supply chain challenges
  • Skills, training and education and skill shortages
  • Electrification and alterative fuels
  • Manufacturing barriers to electrification
  • Consumer constraints to EV growth
  • Future technologies for passenger and commercial vehicles
  • Sustainability and barriers to sustainable manufacturing 
  • State of the indsutry
  • CASE technologies
  • Robotics and automation

Download the full survey report here

This survey was compiled in partnership with ABB

ABB logo

ABB is a leading global technology company that energizes the transformation of society and industry to achieve a more productive, sustainable future. By connecting software to its electrification, robotics, automation and motion portfolio, ABB pushes the boundaries of technology to drive performance to new levels. With a history of excellence stretching back more than 130 years, ABB’s success is driven by about 105,000 talented employees in over 100 countries.


Download the survey report today