Japan and US put pressure on Germany

Germany is still the leading country when it comes to incorporating automated functions in mass produced vehicles. The USA is in second place. But other, mainly Asian countries are catching up and the competition is intensifying. 

These are some of the findings of the latest ‘Automated Vehicles Index’ for the third quarter of 2016 issued by the automotive experts at Roland Berger and Forschungsgesellschaft Kraftfahrwesen mbH Aachen (fka). The index combines industry and market indicators and compares the relative competitive positions of the key automotive nations, these being the US, Germany, China, Sweden, the UK, South Korea, France, Italy and Japan.

Dynamic and intense

Regarding the industry indicator, Germany was again able to defend its leadership over the US in the first half of 2016. Germany’s Original Equipment Manufacterers are still successfully defending their leading position. Their lead is attributable primarily to the systems they already have available in volume-produced vehicles. The international competitive environment is, however, becoming increasingly dynamic and intense. Various manufacturers have announced plans to launch specific automated vehicle functions in the months ahead.

However, Japan has moved up into third spot, trading places with Sweden in the ranking table. Next in line are France, Korea, Great Britain, China and Italy. The ranking is based on various factors, such as OEM activities, market volume, legal frameworks and expertise.

Closed the gap

Changes have also occurred behind the leading group. Ramped-up vehicle automation activities are in evidence in South Korea and China, both of which have thus closed the gap on France. Overall, this will increase competitive pressure on the German automotive industry in the medium term, Roland Berger predicts.

The US and Germany lead the field in terms of automated vehicle expertise. Whereas virtually every country subsidizes the testing and demonstration of automated vehicles, approaches to connectivity research vary. One focus in the US and Japan in particular is on building the infrastructure for connected vehicles, as both countries see this as a key to realizing higher levels of automation.

Author: Vincent Krabbendam

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