Scientists and engineers engaged in automotive research and development face more challenges today than ever before in making vehicles lighter and more fuel efficient while maintaining safety and comfort. Vehicle structural mechanics plays a vital part in these efforts. Researchers are challenged to improve existing materials and develop new stronger and lighter materials. Computer-aided design techniques assist in downsizing and redesigning vehicles. Research is aimed at making gasoline and diesel engines even more fuel efficient and at developing alternate engines. In manufacturing, increasingly sophisticated robots and automation are improving productivity and quality. In all of these efforts research management is challenged to establish the appropriate balance between short-term and long-term corporate research strategies.