The Automotive News PACE Awards, which honor game-changing innovation by suppliers, are entering their 20th year.
PACE judges this week are starting to receive applications for the 2014 awards. The deadline is Aug. 30.
Innovation is more important than ever, as automakers strive to meet rising fuel economy and safety standards, improve Internet connections and make vehicles compatible with crowded global megacities.
Major suppliers are pouring huge sums into r&d to provide an array of choices for automakers to meet the challenges ahead. Creating desirable technology gives suppliers more clout in pricing and other negotiations with automakers.
Last year, the world's largest supplier, Robert Bosch GmbH, allotted 9 percent of its revenues -- more than $6 billion -- for companywide research.
That $6 billion is more than the global OEM automotive revenues of all but 37 companies on the Automotive News list of the top 100 companies in 2012. The annual list will be published Monday, June 17.
"Suppliers get to choose who to give their best ideas to based upon how fast they will get to market," says J Ferron, director of judging for the PACE Awards. "Supplier originated ideas plus their selection of which OEM first gets it now drives the successful commercialization efforts."
An independent panel of judges reviews the applications and chooses winners. The reviews include site visits to applicants' offices, tech centers or plants.
Awards are given in three categories: products, manufacturing processes and information technology. In addition, the judges give separate partnership citations to automakers for outstanding collaboration with suppliers.