A global survey conducted by Automotive Manufacturing Solutions (AMS) on behalf of ABB Robotics underscores the pivotal role of automation in the future of the automotive sector, revealing a significant lag in adoption across various tiers of the industry’s supply chain.

Key findings from the survey indicate a unanimous belief among respondents (97%) that automation and robotics will reshape the automotive landscape over the next five years. Similarly, an overwhelming majority (96%) anticipate the transformative impact of software, digitalisation, and data management. However, while optimism abounds, the pace of investment varies significantly among different players.

The survey suggests that new Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and start-ups are leading the charge, with 38% of respondents rating their investment in automation as “very well” and 28% as “quite well.” Legacy OEMs closely follow, deemed to be embracing automation “very well” by 31% of respondents. In contrast, only a marginal 7% believe that Tier 2 suppliers are adequately investing in automation, with Tier 3 suppliers trailing even further behind at 3%.

Joerg Reger, Managing Director of ABB Robotics Automotive Business Line, noted that automation can enhance resilience, flexibility, and efficiency, even for smaller producers.

Daniel Harrison, Automotive Analyst at AMS, raised concerns about the sluggish pace of automation adoption in the upstream supply chain. He warned that this could result in cost inefficiencies and delays in delivering increasingly complex components for electric vehicles (EVs) and connected cars. Harrison stressed the importance of making affordable and practical automation solutions accessible throughout the industry.

The survey gathered insights from nearly 400 industry experts representing vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, and professionals across management, engineering, and other sectors.

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