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.
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.
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
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.
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