The consolidation of automotive suppliers, relentless pressure on costs, the growth of parts modules -- executives have called those trends at the annual SAE World Congress.
Here's a sampling of quotes from our archives from 10 years of SAE shows.
"Given enough time, carmakers
have accomplished some remarkable things. ... In every case with clean air standards, carmakers have met the standards. But sometimes it required that the standards be delayed."
"I don't think recycling will work if it's not cost-effective to the auto companies. The auto companies don't want to pay more for recycling material. The dismantler isn't going to screw around with it if he doesn't get a fair rate."
Hoechst Celanese Automotive
"First and foremost, we want to assess the practicality of electric vehicle fast-charging."
"There are about 3,000 Tier 1 suppliers in the world, and a large percentage of the automaker business now goes to only 50 to 100 of them. We are coming down to an elite group."
"For those of us in this audience, it's been a terrible 10 or 15 years. We've doubted ourselves. Were the Japanese better than us? And finally, maybe there is some light at the end of the tunnel. I realize this is an international exposition. But it's nice from a technical standpoint to believe that we know how to compete eyeball to eyeball."
"Suppliers are recognizing that they simply don't have the time or the money to try to handle all the system development by themselves. So, you'll see a whole new wave of supplier interrelationships being formed."
"Unless automakers can dramatically reduce the cost of the car now, the size of the market is going to shrink."
, Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation
"From the onset, we felt the need to dispel the golf-cart image. We knew that if we failed, we might condemn all electric vehicles for all time."
Lotus Engineering -- On General Motors' EV1
"With an airbag, you are able to absorb much more energy than just sheet metal with foam on top of it."
Morton Automotive Safety Products -- On the company's airbag-activated knee bolster
"We realize people don't want to pay $2,000 for a safety system. That's why we are trying to integrate the electronics. That's how we'll get the price down."
"There are people who say there is only so much blood you can get out of that turnip. Yet somehow, we keep doing it. The long-term danger is that it will be harder to get the margins we need to justify the capital investments we have to make."
Delphi Chassis Systems
"Little by little, the automakers are becoming interested in the modular concept. We could really do a lot for them if they'd let us."
"For the past few years, cost reduction has been a significant concern, but this year it is the only concern."
J. Erik Fyrwald
"It's a tremendous tool to share information. But we feel the Internet needs to be managed, not controlled."
"Everybody is putting their development effort into Internet front ends. We're now just poised on the edge of this and growing explosively."
Tarragon Embedded Technology Ltd.
"Even though we could make a car that lasts a long time, people's tastes and what they like to buy will make this proposition unlikely."
"Fuel cell is like any other technology in that it will become viable only when the cost comes down to acceptable levels. The question is when will the cost-benefit ratio equal that of traditional internal combustion technology, and I don't see that happening for a very long time."
Denso International America Inc.
"All of our products
have something directly or indirectly to do with occupant protection as well as interiors. We see the protection of the occupant taking quantum leaps over the next several years."
"I don't want to be known just as an inflator supplier or a seat belt supplier. I want to be known as a system supplier with a new technology."
Breed Technologies Inc.
"Strictly from a procurement standpoint, we're still kind of at a loss as to what the business reason is. We're waiting to hear what the actual model is going to look like to justify us joining that."
Dana Corp. -- On what later became Covisint
"If you came with your concept studies, we could do it within 32 months, maybe 36 months."
Magna Steyr -- On building a complete vehicle for North American automakers
"European diesels could find a home in North America, but we want a return on capital greater than the cost of the capital. We won't invest in diesels until we are sure of a return."
Ford Motor Co.