A hot fall 2020?

Wangen, 12.10.2020 (PresseBox) – An interview with Managing Director Peter Schnitzer in September 2020.
Which topic is currently dominating OEMs?
An industry-wide change process is currently dominating the situation in the automotive engineering. However, this was already apparent before the corona crisis. Cost-driven, in search for the cheapest component supplier, the globe was circled once. The social conscience as well as the ever-growing awareness of sustainability, especially among the younger generation, is aiming for a new way of thinking. Likewise, the focus on new technologies, hybrid and electromobility, which is turning classic automotive engineering upside down. Purely electric vehicles require a new body in white concept. That means, we are currently experiencing a revolution in the two core competence areas of powertrain and body in white. Furthermore, the integration of digital megatrends such as autonomous driving, connectivity or artificial intelligence is a decisive factor for success in the automotive industry. Similar to the change from cell phones to smartphones, „locomotion“ will be just one of many requirements for future vehicles. The know-how acquired over many decades will become obsolete and, at the same time, completely new territory will be entered, where market companions will suddenly appear who were previously smiled at or not „on the screen“ at all.
What determines the body in white?
The body in white is crucial for the crash behavior of a vehicle and thus the top priority for safety. This means that virtually every OEM starts with development work at point 0. Because now a battery must also be integrated into the body in white, which reacts extremely sensitively in the event of a crash.
From vehicle construction to mobility provider?
But also the thinking of the new generation prevents a great growth potential at the moment. Whereas in the past a car was a status symbol, and everyone associated a special kind of freedom with the car, today’s target group is interested in mobility concepts. Who still needs a car in conurbations? A diversification from car manufacturer to mobility provider must be considered.
Questions about questions….
Combustion motor, hybrid, electric? On which of these three technologies should an OEM rely on? How much development work does the budget allow? Which focus should the car manufacturer pursue? Preferably continue as before? Automobile manufacturers have gasoline in their blood, but they need to rethink. A conversion from the combustion concept to electric vehicles is not target-oriented and can only be realized by making compromises. What is required is a completely new concept and only makes sense with a vehicle concept tailored to it.
But our path is mapped out. We will only keep our planet worth living on if we all understand that this will only be possible by decarbonizing our private and economic lives.
How do these rethinking scenarios affect the economy in the automotive sector?
Up to now, we have had 6-8 years to change model series, with 1-2 facelifts in between. Since at the moment no one knows how things will go on exactly and budgets have to be pooled, the development of the model series is delayed or even dropped altogether.
How do you see the situation this fall?
Fall is determined by two main factors. Factor 1 is the supply chain. The globally networked supplier industry has a considerable risk potential. Material, manufacturing know-how, logistics, quantities, capital require smooth processes so that systems function reliably and there is a fast, direct exchange in case of disruptions. This is the only way to sustainably ensure the trust necessary for the functioning of the system. The purely virtual exchange will sooner or later lead to an erosion of this basis of trust. The development of alternative, resilient supply chains will keep us busy in the coming years.
I see the second determining factor in the time factor. Time in three respects: Development time: Will we manage to live up to our claim of German development thoroughness and the rapid speed of digitization? Time to market: do the market and legislation allow us enough time to earn the money with the existing models, with which we can finance the ongoing development revolution? Processing speed: are the colleagues affected by the technical revolution able to turn frustration with the loss of the old systems into productive motivation for the new?
There are also the economically necessary of short-time work and budget restrictions. They are inhibiting the development projects that are so urgently needed, triggered by the limited human resources available and the scarce financial capacities for safeguarding the systems.
What positive contribution can the Schnitzer Group make for its customers?
The team of the Schnitzer Group lives a continuous change process. Our organization has no hierarchies to be prepared for the increasing speed of development. Our team is predestined to deal with technical revolutions. Digital benchmark is our claim.
The interview was conducted by Ulrike Schnitzer on September 9, 2020.

Unternehmen: Schnitzer Group GmbH & Co. KG