OEMs to increase outsourcing?
Recent comments by Francisco Riberas, founder and executive chairman of Spanish stamped metal parts supplier Gestamp that its OEM customers, “need to focus their financial and engineering resources on these new trends, so they want to increase outsourcing,” seem to be at odds with the facts and figures of how tomorrow’s vehicle will be made. Looking at the bald figures associated with EV and hybrid production, it would look to an industry outsider that OEMs will already be losing a lot of their input to vehicles of the future, without increasing outsourcing. .
If we consider that approximately 70% of parts in today’s i.c.-engined vehicles come from suppliers, and about 30% from the OEM, most business analysts would recommend increasing the OEM’s contribution, to boost the carmakers’ profit base. .
Breaking it down, OEMs generally stamp a lot of the body-in-white and weld, paint and assemble it into the whole vehicle, using driveline parts made both by them and bought-in. With the coming of generic (for they will become so in China and other highly competitive global markets) electric motors, controllers and batteries (cells or complete units), this could well drop to a ratio of 90% bought-in parts to 10% OEM-made..
Oh, that’s a bit of an exaggeration I hear you say. Well, consider this: an average i.c. driveline has some 450 components; a pure EV systems might have as few as 45. And these parts will be fairly universal in specification and performance - what is the point in an OEM tooling up to make an electric motor or controller that is likely to be very similar to many other OEMs’ offerings? .
As we have seen with battery cells - all the OEM executives I have spoken to have likened making their own battery cells to drilling for oil themselves, a pointless duplication of effort - so OEMs will have even greater opportunities to pick and choose supplier partners as their model range includes more and more EVs and hybrids. And with the homogenisation of traction power, how will one differentiate between differing electric motor whines as opposed to petrol and diesel engine noises? So it really won’t matter who makes the driveline but the styling and execution of a vehicle’s identity through its body design will be key. With the democratisation of composite and other lightweight materials into lower segment vehicles, replacing stamped steel and aluminium parts, OEMs will be able to make their mark on their vehicles’ identities and try and stem the tide towards further outsourcing.
Simon Duval Smith
Simon Duval Smith
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