Prevailing sentiment in the Japanese media, and to some extent among the public, is that there are two truly indigenous automobile manufacturers in Japan: the Toyota group of companies and Honda. Others have entrenched themselves in global alliances for much-needed infusions of foreign capital.
As light-vehicle segments blur in function and utlility, Japanese manufacturers are placing body design emphasis on optimum space utilization and crash safety.
Technologies in development by Japanese companies include lane keeping, steer by wire, and dynamic stability via hybrid-electric drive.
The Japanese industry is pursuing a high-tech mix of internal combustion engines, hybrid IC/electric powertrains, and fuel cells.
As advanced powertrain technologies such as cylinder deactivation, hybrid-electric drivelines, and fuel-cell propulsion become more prevalent, independent service providers and OEMs are positioning themselves to support these trends through greater testing and engineering service capabilities.
The predominant choice for the armor of mass-produced cars and trucks, steel is not going unchallenged at a time when weight reduction is more important than ever.
Independent service providers are continually expanding their portfolio of technical capabilities to meet the testing and engineering needs of automotive OEMs and suppliers. AEI editors review some of the latest service and technologies being offered to the industry.