By Bettina Mayer, Automotive News Europe
A growing demand by carmakers for innovative systems to save fuel and cutÂ CO2Â emissions will strengthen suppliers, industry experts say.
Carmakers will need to tighten their ties with the supplier industry because the suppliers are developing technologies that will make cars more fuel efficient and cut CO2 emissions, Eric Heymann, senior economist of Deutsche Bank research, said.
These technologies include new fuel-injection systems for diesel and gasoline engines; exhaust after-treatment systems and technology such as start-stop.
"Suppliers will contribute their expertise to the development of more efficient powertrain concepts, lighter materials or other technologies to improve vehicle efficiency," Heymann said.
The EU is preparing legislation to cut average CO2 emissions from new cars in Europe to 120 grams per kilometre between 2012 and 2015 from about 160g/km now.
Lars Holmqvist, ceo of the European association of automotive suppliers, CLEPA, said: "I am convinced that new EU regulations will apply worldwide within the next 10 years."
Having the technology ready to go will become a competitive advantage for the European supplier industry, he said.
Weight reductions planned
Suppliers are counting on their forecasts that predict massive sales and growth in the field of green technology, which is contributing to CO2 reductions.
Bernd Bohr, head of Robert Bosch's automotive unit, expects that more than half of new cars sold in Europe in the next four or five years will be equipped with stop-start systems, for example.
Bohr said equipping an engine with turbo-charging and gasoline direct injection and reducing its size while maintain its power are a more cost effective ways to improve fuel economy than a gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain.
Leoni's wiring systems president, Uwe Lamann, said the German supplier helps original equipment manufacturers reduce the weight of a well-equipped car by reducing the diameter of cables and by using alternative metals, such as aluminium instead of copper. This may come as bad news for suppliers of wire insulation and cable sheathing to the automotive industry.
Continental ceo Manfred Wennemer said: â€œThe current discussion at the EU surrounding climate protection and the latest CO2 targets for the automotive industry underline the fact that, especially with out hybrid systems, we are offering forward-looking technology.â€
From Automotive News Europe (A Crain publication)