Performance, economy, and individuality, each achieved by technology, were the three overriding motor show themes at the Geneva-Palexpo--all good reasons why auto industry executives closely monitoring competitors needed to be on Swiss watch.
North American automakers and suppliers know that moving the ball forward and technologically is their best bet for survival, if not success. In the special section on the following pages, some of the automotive industry's top executives discuss the latest trends and their strategies for game-changing vehicle engineering and development.
General Motors has dramatically shifted its product development focus from one led by engineering and manufacturing to one led by design and styling.
The company has restructured its engineering organization to maximize efficiencies and help bring stylish new vehicles to market more quickly.
To help shorten development time, contain costs, and satisfy demand for differentiation, Chrysler Group is pushing flexible vehicle architectures that can be shared by many products.
Visteon aims to leverage its global presence by effective integration of technology and providing customers with efficient ways to differentiate their vehicles.
Lear will rely more on its expertise in electrical distribution and electronics to help customers enhance vehicle safety and convenience features.
Anticipating modest content growth in North America and even less in Europe, the Canada-based company looks for advantage in Asia.
Hybrid-electric vehicles have found an early adopters audience, but predictions that HEVs willl soon sway the mainstream public could spur high-volume sales and better returns for suppliers like Johnson Controls.
TRW Occupant Safety Systems' top engineer discusses product development challenges as safety systems suppliers race to out-innovate and out-integrate their competitors while they outpace future legislation and constantly reduce cost.
Improving supplier relations is Job One at Collins & Aikman for the woman now at the helm of the company's sales, marketing, and program management activities.
For instrument panels, smarter chips help as clusters adapt to users' tastes.
F1 reins in power with a new generation of smaller V8 engines.