New Materials Technologies in the Automotive Industry: A Review of Successes and Failures 2002-01-2038
In the automotive industry, materials are evaluated on their relative costs and value-added potential. In order to achieve commercial success, a material must offer a favorable balance of performance advantages and economics relative to incumbent technologies. In the business development cycle, there is often a great deal of excitement surrounding a new material formulation believed to offer improved functionality. Unfortunately, few of these technologies continue on a promising substitution trend, either because of inherent manufacturing challenges, or other market factors such as economics of scale required for market-entry pricing. The average design to market investment for a vehicle platform is $2.5 - $3 billion, with daily costs exceeding $1 million. Given such cost penalties, it is exceedingly valuable for the developers to understand the existing and potential cost structures involved in material selection in order to make efficient, effective, and informed strategic decisions.