More than half of respondents to The Innovation Race – a Protolabs report that explores the challenges and opportunities for Europe’s car makers – expect a big name to fall victim to the unprecedented period of change currently being seen across the globe. Stricter environmental regulation in the coming 12 months was deemed to be the most pressing short-term concern (55 percent), whilst 52 percent believe a new entrant will disrupt the market with a revolutionary new kind of vehicle over the next three years.
The survey, which interviewed over 300 senior leaders from car makers and major suppliers including BMW, Daimler, JLR, Magneti Marelli, Volkswagen and Williams F1, also highlighted the move to the next industrial revolution, with 71 percent indicating that they need to adopt Industry 4.0 or digital processes in order to survive.
“There appears to be a perfect storm developing in the automotive sector, with trade wars, Brexit and the race to electrification creating a time of extreme change for the car brands and supply chain,” explained Bjoern Klaas, vice president and managing director of Protolabs Europe, the world’s fastest digital manufacturer of custom prototypes and low-volume production parts.
“With so many challenges to face, it is imperative that the industry continues to invest in R&D and its collective ability to bring innovation to market quickly. And with this report highlighting the unprecedented change expected within the next three years, it’s almost a case of innovate to survive and then thrive.
“Nearly 70 percent of people said they felt under the most pressure of their entire career to innovate, with two thirds agreeing that without a strong R&D function the business would cease to exist.
“That’s a very powerful message to send out and underlines what we are seeing, as demand continues to rise for our service that gives companies the capability to develop new parts within 15 days.”