Page 22 - MetalForming September 2016
P. 22

 Automotive Outlook: Challenges
Abound for Tool and Die
The news is good now, but trends toward model complexity and OEMs shifting costs down the supply chain, coupled with an expected plateau in vehicle production, will require that tool and die shops gather and analyze data to shore up their sales processes.
reached an inflection point and the entire manufacturing value chain must change the way it does business to remain profitable and prepare for a future downturn.
Managing Increased Complexity
Increased complexity can be found across nearly all industries, including automotive. In North America, from 2015 to 2018 the number of vehicle models in production is predicted to jump 18 percent, from 243 to 287. By 2018, 80 percent of the models on the market will have annual volumes of less than 100,000 units. This translates to more than 800 trim levels on the road by 2018.
Additionally, vehicle designs are becoming more complex and produc- tion materials are shifting to lighter- weight alternatives. Case in point: The use of high- and medium-strength steel has increased 24 percent over the past four years while the use of aluminum has jumped 17 percent. And, these per- centages will continue to rise due to upcoming CAFE requirements.
Some manufacturers are developing methods and strategies to assist in
Since the recession of 2009, the global automotive industry has experienced a period of strong growth and profitability. In 2015, global light-vehicle production reached 88.4 million units and 2016 production is predicted to reach more than 91 million units. And, when looking at the U.S. economy, a number of factors support a positive outlook for the tool-and-die industry, including lower oil and gas prices.
But the automotive industry faces a number of key challenges (Fig. 1), including the increased costs of man- ufacturing and a plateau in product
Laurie Harbour is president and CEO of Harbour Results Inc., Southfield, MI; 248/552-8400,
demand. Additionally, automakers face a technology and time crunch as the need to develop new innovations to meet upcoming Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards require improved fuel economy and emissions reductions.
A number of market forces impact the entire automotive supply chain... regulatory issues, customer demand, advanced technology and economic issues are placing automaker profits at risk. Factors eating away at prof- itability include increased complexity; high-mix, low-volume variants; increased capital investment; increased tooling costs; product-development costs and timing; high launch costs; and warranty costs.
The automotive industry has
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