Seizing opportunities. Automobile suppliers are faced with a mixed market that has a very strong potential: global production of light vehicles will exceed 90 million in 2015 and reach 104 million in 2020. China is now the largest car manufacturer in the world, with nearly 23 million light vehicles produced in 2014 and a market share that should continue to grow. The combined weight of other emerging markets represents more than a quarter of production. Benefiting from strong domestic demand, the US industry has been able to restructure and improve its performance. Europe, on the other hand, is facing excess production capacity. Integrating new requirements. To satisfy the rising demand for style, price, safety, environmental protection and prestige, automotive manufacturers are producing an increasing number of models by emphasizing innovation and customization. They are seeking new ways to preserve their brand value, their competitiveness and their profit margins at the same time. Material cutting—fabric, technical textiles or leather—is one of the first components affected by this approach.
Continously improving. To keep on developing and manufacturing better-quality products, at ever more competitive prices, while respecting delivery deadlines, process rationalization has become a priority. Actively pursuing their transformation, suppliers are investing in the most advanced technologies which integrate lean methodologies: continuous improvement is the key to their competitiveness.
1 — Airbag cutting cannot tolerate any defects. 2 — Previously just reserved for seats, leather is becoming increasingly widespread elsewhere in car interiors. 3 — New interiors combine different materials, requiring perfect harmonization.