The automotive industry is an integral part the U.S. economy, with the industry employing more than 1.7 million people and generating almost 3.5% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). In addition to the design, manufacturing, engineering, and assembly, the industry relies heavily on goods and services from other sectors in order to meet consumer demand. Construction, raw materials, machinery, semi-conductors, computers, robotics, and the administrative end of operations all rely on a steady stream of both materials and labor. Every year, the industry spends almost $18 million in R&D. With its heavy reliance on manufacturing sectors, it has sent the manufacturing industry skyrocketing to about 11% of the nation’s GDP. Without this crucial industry, the automotive industry or even the economy, wouldn’t survive.
Assembly Plants and Processes
The uniformity and efficiency of automotive production originates with Henry Ford and his assembly line process used during the construction of the Model T. Over time, manufacturing processes like dynamic stampings, automated feeders, plasma cutters, and other technologically influenced elements have made it easier for automotive plants to turn out a consistent product in record time. However, as time continues to press forward and technology and lean manufacturing continue to influence production decisions, new trends in manufacturing are going to continue to change the automotive industry.
Energy Efficiency and Future Changes
Consumers are clamoring for more energy efficiency options, and company cars and electric vehicles are the more recent changes made to the industry. In addition to battery and electrically operated cars, there is desire to pursue bio-fuels and move away for gasoline and diesel burning engines. This would help reduce emissions and pollutants in the environment. However, the changeover required is still a costly venture and more research is needed. Incorporating artificial intelligence, robotics, and increase automation in the overall vehicle desire and production are also on the horizon.
The automotive industry will continue to promote economic growth in the U.S., but the industry needs to adapt the will of the consumer. More energy efficient manufacturing and final products are two key areas in industry trends.