Where are today's edgy ideas coming from, affecting both what's inside vehicles and under the hood in the form of engine improvements and alternative powertrains?
“They're coming from research and development inside auto companies and very much the supply base,” says Keith Cooley, chief executive at Next Energy Corp. in Detroit.
Auto makers such as BMW AG are known as world tech leaders. Suppliers continually hold the German auto maker in high regard.
“I can't disclose all our R & D activities with BMW, but I'm impressed with their mindset to stick to the strategy to be an innovation leader, especially during the economic crisis,” says Winfried Menge, vice president-marketing and business development with Hella KGaA Hueck.
“Their success in the market proves that they are right,” he adds.
“Maybe I'm biased, but it seems to me that BMW is still the global leader in car innovations,” says Mathias Johansson of Dirac AB, a Swedish research firm that has worked on premium sound systems for BMW.
“They are still focused on quality instead of cost reductions, and that gives them an edge.”