The paper traces the development of European vehicle electronics from 1960 to the present day. The approximate current rates of production of alternator regulators, tachometers, fuel injection controllers and ignition equipments are quoted. Analysis of the development of a product design of an alternator regulator is carried out and reference made to some ways of achieving high reliability in the hostile underhood environment. The impact of legislation on the emergence of electronic ignition is discussed. Some likely effects of device evolution on current design are mentioned and pointers given to the expected pattern of future developments for European vehicle electronics.