| Back From The Brink: The Resurgence Of The Automotive Industry

Posted in Manufacturing at 9:00 AM by Loftis Consulting

For nearly a decade the automotive industry in the West was very much languishing in the doldrums with the emergence of China and Japan as viable competitors in the vehicle market. Kia, Toyota, and Hyundai have all seen substantial market share increases across the globe. The automotive industry began to decline. However, even with enhancements in public transport and people tightening their belts in times of financial uncertainty, people have always wanted cars. In the past three or four years, we have seen a resurgence in the automotive manufacturing sphere, as 2016 saw over 17.5 million cars and trucks being sold in the USA alone. Take a look at the reasons behind such a miraculous resurgence.

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A Shift in What the Consumer Wants

Car buyers are more astute than ever before and will take their time to research the fuel consumption, reliability and safety features of any potential vehicle purchase. The twenty-first-century consumer demands value for money and transparency when picking up the keys to their next car.

Potential car purchasers are now more keen to opt for the new car rather than explore the used car market because of the range of finance options available. Used cars also have a tendency to be less reliable and become more costly due to necessary repairs. Provided you have a good credit history, you can now lease a new car for an affordable monthly payment or buy it outright using a loan with a reasonable interest rate. The choice for consumers is empowering and encourages them to shop around, hunting for the best deal.

The emergence of crossovers and SUVs has seen companies such as Ford and General Motors reclaim their crowns as leading manufacturers in the automotive industry. Their latest models, such as the GMC Acadia and the Ford Escape have proved popular with not only the typical rugged vehicle lovers but also with families who require more interior space and comfort. Along with the relatively low price of gas and the ease at which the average consumer can obtain credit, the stars have aligned for the automotive industry.

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Manufacturing Plants

Vehicles can be made in greater quantities than ever before without forfeiting on quality to fulfill consumer demand. Plants up and down the country now utilize the latest advancements in technology such as the robotic arm and the CNC plasma cutter. These instruments have seen an increase in efficiency with car manufacturing plants and have enabled the components of vehicles to be installed more quickly and with a greater degree of accuracy. Metal can be cut quicker, paint can be sprayed more evenly and faster, and welding can be done in a neater way.

The opportunities for human errors to impact the car building process have been significantly reduced with the application of new technology. At the same time, these computer aided machines need operators and supervisors with a more advanced level of technical knowledge leading to a more powerful knowledge base working the factory floor.

The combination of enhanced technology and a greater variety of personnel has led to a more productive manufacturing environment.

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The Hybrid Invasion

The automotive world is joining the green revolution and taking its responsibility to protect the environment very seriously. The Leaf is Nissan’s first foray into the sphere of electric vehicles and has seen a steady increase in sales since its launch. In 2016, sales of electric vehicles rose by 19% on the year before. The emergence of more sustainable cars has tapped into a consumer awareness of eco-credentials.

A criticism leveled at the sustainable vehicle market has been the initial cost of the cars. Due to their niche market at the moment, manufacturing has not yet become widespread and requires more specialist knowledge and technology to manufacture them. This leads to the higher cost that can price some out of the market. However, over time, this should diminish as consumer uptake increases.

Although still very much in the embryonic stages, the manufacturing of hybrid and electric vehicles will be the future of car manufacturing as diesel cars fall out of favor with consumers and governments across the world. Infrastructure will need to develop including the construction of charging points and alternative fuel options to cope with the inevitable influx of electric vehicles.

Many suggest that the automotive industry is reaching its optimum in terms of its resurgence. Even though it may be showing signs of leveling off, there is little to suggest another downturn. With consumer demand for new cars higher than ever before, the automotive industry looks to have a prosperous and secure future.

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