A change of perspective always is a good thing: It helps to see things different and to discover aspects not seen before. In the case of the automotive industry, a reason not to recognize relevant aspects might be that this industry, or at least some of its major players, currently is battling for survival. These days, the automotive world in Europe seems spellbound by the ongoing nightly negotiations between Opel, GM, the German government, the US government and several investors.
While the number of potential investors dwindles every day I just saw a news piece that today (Friday) Fiat did not show up to the negotiations the awareness matures that the crisis for the automotive industry is far from being over. Even when (or if) the Opel problem will be solved by some means or other, there won't be any reason to breathe a sigh of relief. According to newspapers, in the USA alone, 2500 tier ones and automotive suppliers are in distress, and in Europe the situation is not much better. Experts see a wave of insolvencies approaching the industry.
But perhaps in a few years, some might long back to the peaceful year 2009. While the European (and probably, to an even greater extend), the American automotive industry is self-absorbed, a new threat is growing. To realize it, it is necessary to avert the eyes from the local argy-bargy and look at the global situation.
India, while also affected by the crisis, is nevertheless weakened. The subcontinent is preparing to enter the international market, and if Indian workers start to seriously compete against their European or American colleagues, there cannot be any doubt who will win. The automotive production landscape could experience similar transformations as the semiconductor production already has seen, with design and production in different parts of the world.
While this at first sight might look like it is only what an expert with own interest predicts, it is not a singular opinion. Before the crisis hit the European automotive industry, there already have been strong concerns regarding the upcoming Indian and Chinese competition. In the meantime, however, the industry has been too much focused on its internal problems which might turn out to be slight pains compared with the looming global transformations.
High time for the industry here to solve its internal overcapacity problems and recollect its strengths: Creating innovative, competitive, and, more than ever, eco-friendly solutions.
All experts agree that to this end, the electronics content of the cars has to increase. Which, for a change, means a bit of good news.