By Lindsay Chappell, Automotive News
Detroit, Michigan -- Forget all that talk about cost-cutting and quality improvement -- it's the race for new technology that is motivating automotive industry leaders around the world this year.
An executive survey released today by management consultants KPMG llc finds that new vehicle technologies will be the most important industry issue of 2010.
According to the annual survey of 200 senior automotive executives around the world, technology issues will affect market share, investment and mergers and acquisition activity.
At the heart of that new technology discussion: alternative power systems.
"New technology is primarily driven in the powertrain," says Gary Silberg, KPMG's national automotive industry leader. "Manufacturers are working on hybrids, electrics, clean diesels, natural-gas vehicles, fuel cells and solar cells.
"In many cases, those technologies are being developed in-house. In past years, automakers showed that they were willing to rely on suppliers for a lot of new technology, especially in electronics.
"We're seeing a reversal of that now. General Motors, Nissan, Ford, Toyota and the Germans are all saying that these new systems are core technologies."
The survey, conducted last fall, is not necessarily an indicator of what will happen. But it does clearly indicate what occupies the minds of global decision-makers as the industry tries to shake off the recession.
KPMG found that 85 percent of those surveyed think new technologies will be the most important issue facing the global auto industry for the next 12 months.
The No. 2 issue facing the industry: developing new products to go with the technologies.
See more on this at www.autonews.com