Today's Vehicle Engineer Juggles Technology Gaps, Business Issues While Balancing 'Contradicting Requirements,' Reports Auto Industry Survey


'Collaborate to Resolve,' Says DuPont

DETROIT, MI, Mar 30, 2011 – Visit any automaker or automotive supplier and half the design engineers you talk to will be struggling with one thing: how to balance regulations, safety, consumer demand and cost. The rest, according to the annual DuPont Automotive/Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) survey, are challenged by business issues, 36 percent, and technology gaps, 14 percent.

Top Automotive Industry Issues

Top Issues Facing Today’s Automotive Design Engineer

Top Issues Facing Today’s Automotive Design Engineer

More than 350 SAE members responded to the open-ended question: “What is the top challenge facing the automotive design and engineering community.” Complete results of the survey, commissioned by DuPont and performed by Signet Research Inc., Cliffside Park, N.J., will be released April 4.

“Technology with contradicting requirements,” wrote one respondent, means “better comfort at low cost; more performance with improved fuel economy; advanced in-vehicle electronics with simplicity of use; more innovative ideas but shorter lead time to market.”

“The challenge isn’t just to design and manufacture a fuel efficient vehicle — it’s making one that consumers can afford — and enjoy,” said David A. Glasscock, Ph.D, DuPont global automotive technology director. “Clearly this is a pivotal time in automotive history and as such, it’s more important than ever to work collaboratively with our customers to develop effective solutions that meet these demanding — seemingly paradoxical — technology requirements.”

While 50 percent of respondents identified this balancing act as the top challenge, 36 percent cited business issues — such as unstable value chains, fluctuating cost structures and financial markets — as paramount. The balance, 14 percent, identified technology gaps — the need to improve battery range, infrastructure and disposal as well as to develop crashworthy lightweight composites — as top on their minds.

DuPont Automotive offers more than 100 materials and products for the global automotive industry. Through its global application development network, DuPont Automotive is committed to collaborating with customers throughout the value chain to develop new products, materials, components and systems that help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and protect people and the environment. For more information, visit

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 90 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation

Mar 30, 2011