Tier Suppliers

Editor's note

From challenge to opportunity

Recent years have been a bumpy ride for some automotive tier suppliers. Even before the close down caused by the Covid crisis, automotive markets had already been experiencing some turbulence, with dropping sales in some regions and the shift to electric vehicles adding to declining orders for ICE related components. For high-volume parts suppliers, uncertainty is very challenging but there has been significant improvement in managing the impact of market volatility and improving the flexibility of manufacturing operations; the rapid digitalisation of production operations and growing understanding and use of process data has contributed to this improvement.


But far from being an unwanted challenge, the shift to electric vehicle drivetrains and architectures has in fact provided a welcome opportunity for many tier suppliers. Their working relationships with OEM clients have strengthened as they are given greater responsibility for developing and delivering new vehicle components and systems. And to facilitate this, supplier companies have invested in new technologies and in acquiring other businesses to gain additional competences and experience. This has served to accelerate growth.
Moreover, the different body architectures are providing the R&D departments with greater freedom in design and materials. In this edition we have two articles focusing on vehicle interiors, which offer some great insights into the development and application of new technologies and materials in creating the next generation of vehicles cabins. We also have articles on EV chassis and drivetrain suppliers, who reveal how this transition has been more evolution than revolution, but still offering great opportunities in R&D and production technologies.


This all bodes well for business growth and technical development but there are still ripples of disruption being encountered, the recent semiconductor shortage being a pointed example. However, we have seen how these type of events can serve as a learning experience, ultimately enhancing the ability of automotive manufacturers to pivot their operations, turning challenges into opportunities.

Editor Nick Holt nick.holt@ultimamedia.com

Deputy editor Gareth Price gareth.price@ultimamedia.com

Editor-in-chief Christopher Ludwig christopher.ludwig@ultimamedia.com

Contributors Mark Dickin, Chuck Hagyard

Publisher and sales Andrew Fallon andrew.fallon@ultimamedia.com

Design director Matt Crane matt.crane@ultimamedia.com 

Senior designer Steven Singh Bains steven.bains@ultimamedia.com

Digital designer Hannah Lindsay hannah.lindsay@ultimamedia.com

Head of audience and marketing Chris Mott chris.mott@ultimamedia.com

Circulation and database Justyna Wanczyk justyna.wanczyk@ ultimamedia.com

Office manager and sales support Jo Fordrey jo.fordrey@ultimamedia.com

Head of finance Kanokkan Durrant kanokkan.durrant@ultimamedia.com

Managing director Gavin Miller gavin.miller@ultimamedia.com 

Editor Nick Holt nick.holt@ultimamedia.com

Contributors Illya Verpraet, Mike Farish, Marcus Williams

Editor-in-chief Christopher Ludwig christopher.ludwig@ultimamedia.com

Publisher and sales Andrew Fallon andrew.fallon@ultimamedia.com

Senior designer Steven Singh Bains steven.bains@ultimamedia.com

Digital designer Hannah Lindsay hannah.lindsay@ultimamedia.com

Circulation and database Justyna Wanczyk justyna.wanczyk@ ultimamedia.com

Head of finance Kanokkan Durrant kanokkan.durrant@ultimamedia.com

Managing director Gavin Miller gavin.miller@ultimamedia.com 

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Cover video courtesy of Yanfeng Automotive