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Frost & Sullivan: Digital Retailing And Vehicle Leasing To Propel Automotive Recovery Path

Frost & Sullivan: Digital Retailing And Vehicle Leasing To Propel Automotive Recovery Path

Frost & Sullivan’s recent analysis, COVID-19 Growth Impact Assessment for the Automotive Industry, 2020, presents the impact of the pandemic on the automotive sector under three scenarios—gradual containment, severe pandemic, and global emergency—resulting in outcomes ranging from steady recovery to recession. Under the severe pandemic scenario, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will try to capitalise on China’s early recovery from the pandemic, while overall economic relief measures in the U.S., Germany, France, and the U.K. will provide the necessary boost to the market in the post-recovery period.

“Major Asian vehicle manufacturing countries such as China, Japan, and South Korea, which accounted for 40 percent of global vehicle production in 2019, are on the recovery curve. The other two major automotive manufacturing powerhouses, the U.S. and Germany, are expected to resume production partially by mid-June,” said Vigneshwaran Ramesh, Automotive & Transportation Senior Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan.

“Additionally, risk mitigation strategies such as offering financial flexibility and support to the entire ecosystem, including to dealers, suppliers and customers, will help OEMs of the world to revive.”

Vignesh added: “The impact of the pandemic on the automotive sector will unlock new opportunities for other mobility verticals such as electric vehicles (EV), vehicle leasing, and connectivity solutions. EV sales will experience a medium impact as China will revive fastest from the pandemic with manufacturing plants returning to normal. Further, new vehicle leasing for the corporate segment is expected to sustain moderate growth, owing to the demand for greater flexibility and short-term contracts, whereas OEMs will emphasise connectivity services to enhance their revenue stream.”

To tap into opportunities in this COVID-19 recovery era, consider the following growth prospects:

  • OEMs and dealers should focus on digital retailing and empower customers on their online journeys.
  • With the rise of eCommerce, light commercial vehicle (LCV) leasing and rental solutions are gaining traction, especially during the pandemic.
  • With increasing epidemic outbreaks (SARS, MERS, and COVID), OEMs can ramp up connectivity services, emphasising the need for health, wellness and wellbeing services within the vehicle.
  • Contactless and touchless business concepts will leverage aftermarket opportunities, helping on-demand service models gain further momentum.


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Automotive OEMs Must Improve Online Sales Models To Mitigate COVID-19 Sales Slump

Automotive OEMs Must Improve Online Sales Models To Mitigate COVID-19 Sales Slump

To mitigate a likely slump in car sales and to ensure employee and customer safety during the coronavirus pandemic, automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and car dealerships must transition to simple, end-to-end online selling and services, according to Gartner, Inc.

COVID-19 containment measures are forcing the closure of car showrooms in many countries, and this is also increasing the requirement for a full and effective online purchase process. “Currently, most OEMs and car dealerships in major markets including the U.S., China, Germany and the U.K. don’t offer a real end-to-end online sales channel that optimises the purchase process,” said Pedro Pacheco, senior research director at Gartner.

READ: FM Global: Neglecting Idle Facilities Amid COVID-19 Will Cost Companies Dearly

“OEMs and car dealerships must set up direct sales platforms on which users can buy a car in just three clicks and have it delivered to their home. This model should be used for both car configuration and inventory.”

Gartner recommends investing in augmented- and virtual-reality technologies to give online shoppers a more comprehensive experience when specifying car requirements. Additionally, investing in an advanced artificial-intelligence-powered chatbot could assist by answering a broad range of questions from customers. OEMs and car dealerships should also ensure complete price transparency to avoid pricing issues and lengthy negotiations, which frustrate buyers.

READ: Vingroup To Produce Ventilators And Body Thermometers In The Fight Against COVID-19

Although many consumers will be hesitant about purchasing a car in the present circumstances, OEMs and car dealerships still need to offer more flexibility. “OEMs and dealerships could consider a digital platform that offers a usage-based subscription model which enables the consumer to choose a car, with the freedom to exit the contract at very short notice,” said Mr. Pacheco.

In addition, OEMs and car dealerships need to consider enhancing their after-sales strategy. They should create an online hub where users can purchase parts, set up maintenance appointments and find all the information on “contactless” after-sales services. With these options, customers will have no physical contact with any other person, and these services can cover service booking, vehicle collection and drop-off, roadside assistance and online payment. This is a model that car dealerships and repair shops can also adopt to continue serving customers in the future.

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“Speed of change is crucial for OEMs and car dealerships’ survival in times of confinement and insecurity,” said Mr. Pacheco. “Given factory and showroom closures, it is essential that car makers draw up a strong online order book to ensure that, once factories and showrooms reopen, they can quickly rebound financially.”


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3D Scanning Streamlines Production Process

3D Scanning Streamlines Production Process

Tolerances on blade production tightened as OEMs drove to differentiate themselves by offering high performance lawn and garden products. To achieve customer goals, Blount International knew they had to incorporate more automation into their quality inspection process.  Article by Mark Thomas, Marketing Director, OGP.

As a leading manufacturer of equipment, accessories and replacement parts for the lawn and garden market, Blount International was looking to improve their profitability and exceed their customer delivery expectations. They were faced with the problem of how to economically produce a variety of nearly 1,900 different OEM lawnmower blades. The large selection of blades required by their OEM customers meant short production runs and multiple tooling changes each day. Their goal was to improve product quality while controlling costs and meeting shipment commitments.

Tolerances on blade manufacturing tightened as OEMs drove to differentiate themselves by offering high performance lawn and garden products. To achieve customer goals, Blount knew they had to incorporate more automation into their quality inspection process.

The Need For 3D Metrology Scanner

The company had always used traditional methods of measurement such as hand callipers and height gages to verify the conformance of its mower blades to customer specifications. The company’s Engineering Manager, Brian Brunk, believed that complex product features could be measured more efficiently with a 3D metrology scanner that can quickly and accurately verify part dimensions, regardless of shape complexity.

A ShapeGrabber 3D scanner from OGP was selected because of the ability to provide fast, accurate, noncontact measurements of nearly any material or shape without the need for special tools or fixtures. The scanner was also large enough to handle the largest Blount product offering.

Compared to conventional tactile CMM techniques, measuring one point at a time, 3D scanners capture millions of surface points on even the most complex geometry parts, and can quickly compare the results to a CAD design. Deviations from the CAD design are easily identified, making tooling acceptance decisions fast and accurate – meaning part production can start sooner, and with higher confidence.

Beneficial To Entire Production Process

Graphical models of ShapeGrabber measurements make part quality decisions easy without tying up other measuring systems. Melissa Rice, Continuous Improvement Coordinator at Blount detailed their process with the ShapeGrabber system: “Before we release a new die for production, we do a capability study to prove the accuracy of the die and qualify the tooling. ShapeGrabber provides the ability to do that through automation rather than manual inspection. ShapeGrabber has assisted us in improving our first-pass yield. When we can produce a quality part the first time, the entire production process benefits.”

For in-process inspection, the ShapeGrabber system has been proven to be easy-to-use and highly automated. After an initial scan, the same scanning parameters may be used for subsequent parts, delivering consistent results irrespective of operator skill or experience. Ease-of-use is manifested daily as dozens of production personnel routinely use the scanner, each having just minimal training.

Culture Of Quality

An unexpected benefit of the ShapeGrabber scanner system has also been reported: it is supporting a “culture of quality” at Blount. Employees are taking more ownership of the products and their quality. “The 3D scanner has engaged the people who use it more than they were engaged before. Now, we see employees taking more ownership of the products and their quality throughout the manufacturing organisation,” remarked Mr. Brunk.


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MVTec Expands Team With New Leadership Appointments

MVTec Expands Team With New Leadership Appointments

MVTec has announced two new staff appointments. Sonja Schick, will be the new product manager for the MERLIC machine vision software and Martin Krumey has joined as Vice President Sales.

Strategically Positioning The Standard Software MERLIC On The Market
Sonja Schick’s duties include identifying customer needs and strategically positioning the MERLIC standard software on the market. Her responsibilities also include operational tasks, such as planning and monitoring the integration of new functions, controlling revised version releases, as well as presenting the software to customers and distributors. Sonja Schick previously worked in product management for six years. During that time, she oversaw the entire portfolio of an internationally active biotech company. In her most recent role as Senior Director, she gained extensive experience in leadership, international marketing, sales, and product management. From 2002 to 2008, Sonja Schick completed a Master of Science degree in biochemistry at the University of Ulm.

Regarding her new appointment, Schick has commented that, “I see my new position at MVTec as an exciting challenge that allows me to contribute my well-founded product management expertise. I enjoy doing my part in growing the new business with MERLIC and further strengthening the MVTec brand.”

Sonja Schick appointed Product Manager MERLIC

Expanding MVTec’s Leading Market Position Worldwide
In his role as Vice President Sales, Martin Krumey will expand MVTec’s leading market position worldwide and strategically promote the company’s growth. He is a member of the Board of Directors and reports directly to the management. Martin Krumey has many years of global sales and management experience with companies operating in the technology market. Before joining MVTec, he worked for two years as sales director for a market-listed company in the field of electrical wholesale trade and spent nine years as Head of International Sales for a multinational high-tech company in the B2B sector. He has extensive sales experience in software and hardware products, as well as solutions for various customer segments and leading OEMs worldwide. From 1997 to 2001, Martin Krumey studied International Business Administration at the Munich Business School in Munich, London, and Madrid.

Regarding his new appointment, Krumey has commented that, “I look forward to contributing my experience and working with the entire sales team to sell MVTec’s market-leading innovative products and to shape the future of the technology leader MVTec.”

Martin Krumey is the new Vice President Sales


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SC Auto Launches Itself As Asia’s First And Only OEM For Integral Buses

SC Auto Launches Itself As Asia’s First And Only OEM For Integral Buses

SC Auto has launched Asia’s first integral coach named “SC Neustar”, a new generation of buses that delivers a complete transport solution that sets regional benchmarks in terms of higher performance, greater efficiency, and better economy.

The company also strengthened its position as a market leader in the bus manufacturing industry in Asia by transforming its business model from a quality bus body builder to an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). This a significant step towards achieving the company’s ambitions to build on its capability to design, manufacture, and assemble its own products from start to finish.

S$60 million Investment In SC Auto’s Transformation Journey

Throughout the company’s transformation journey since 2014, SC Auto has invested a total of S$60 million to test and develop innovative automotive technology to build next-generation integral buses and expand on its factory footprint in Singapore and Myanmar, as well as to introduce automation processes to scale-up its overall production capacity.

Mr Tan Siow Chua, Chairman of SC Auto said: “Innovation and passion are at the heart of SC Auto’s ambition to become a global leader in the bus and coach industry. With SC Neustar’s launch, we are set to reach our growth target of S$100 million in annual revenue in four years. As Asia’s first and only integral bus OEM, the launch of SC Neustar demonstrates our unwavering commitment to pioneering new automotive technologies, underpinned by years of experience architecting and manufacturing high quality transportation solutions, and investment in R&D.”

The All-New SC Neustar

Delivering on SC Auto’s brand promise to offer global standards and local support, the SC Neustar is designed with SC Auto’s proprietary Euro 6 chassis technology that has been developed through its R&D capabilities and signature bus bodies. The bus has undergone extensive homologation testing in Europe and is fully certified based on the Euro 6 emission standard, a set of stringent standards adopted by European automotive makers to ensure buses meet exhaust and noise emissions standards to reduce the carbon footprint of vehicles globally.

Fully manufactured and assembled in Singapore, the SC Neustar has an impressive lifespan of up to 20 years, offering better economy through higher uptime and an extended operating life. High performance is assured by the combination of the bus’s unique monocoque chassis construction and specially manufactured drivetrain for higher fuel efficiency, drivability, and passenger comfort.

Lastly, the SC Neustar’s lightweight design and build using ferritic stainless steel superstructures offer better fuel savings and a lower cost of operation compared to conventional designs.

Expanded Factory Footprint To Meet Growing Demand For Manufacturing Integral Buses In Asia

In anticipation of the strong demand for the SC Neustar, SC Auto has doubled the area of its Singapore factory from 100,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet, to provide the additional capacity required for significant business growth over the longer term.

With time to market becoming a major differentiator, the newly expanded factory in Singapore, and SC Auto’s factory located in Yangon which will commence operation early next year, are equipped with state-of-the-art automated systems. These include automatic welding robots, 4.5 axis CNC precision machines, and automatic wire harness manufacturing, yielding improved workflow productivity of up to 40 percent. The new facility is expected to increase SC Auto’s overall production by five times.

Strong Support From Enterprise Singapore

With strong support from Enterprise Singapore and leveraging the government agency’s extensive business networks, SC Auto is well positioned to advance its internationalisation strategy to scale up its business overseas.

Mr Ho Chi Bao, Director for Precision Engineering, Marine and Offshore, and Engineering Services, Enterprise Singapore, said: “SC Auto has constantly challenged itself to adapt to the changing environment. Its transformation from a bus body builder into an Original Equipment Manufacturer and adopting highly automated manufacturing solutions are commendable efforts by a home-grown Singapore company. This sets a good example for the industry and we hope to see more companies innovate and explore new areas to drive their business growth.”


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EuroBLECH 2018: Hypertherm Launches Two Metal Cutting Innovations

EuroBLECH 2018: Hypertherm Launches Two Metal Cutting Innovations

Hypertherm has introduced two new systems at EuroBLECH 2018. These systems are the XPR170, which joins the XPR300 as the only two X-Definition capable systems in the world and the industry’s first predictive maintenance waterjet pumps, called HyPrecision Predictive, which is capable of substantially reducing maintenance costs and disruptions caused by non-planned service.

A combination of engineering advances and refined high definition plasma processes help the XPR170 with X-Definition class plasma deliver unmatched plasma cut quality on thin to mid-range thickness metal. The cut quality advances are especially notable on non-ferrous metals like aluminum and stainless steel because of numerous patent-pending processes that create squarer cut edges, markedly less angularity, and excellent surface finish. At the same time, the system cuts faster and uses power more efficiently than earlier generation systems. Consumable life and cut quality over the life of the consumables are also able to benefit from a dramatic boost thanks to patent-pending technology that protects consumables from the negative impact of ramp down errors, helping XPR consumables last up to three times longer.

“We’ve enjoyed changing peoples’ perceptions of plasma since the introduction of the XPR300 with X-Definition plasma a year and a half ago,” said Phil Parker, product Marketing Manager for Hypertherm’s Heavy Industrial line of plasma systems. “Even experienced fabricators are surprised by the precision they are seeing, and we have seen more than a few instances where fabricators have adopted XPR plasma with its lower initial investment cost, instead of laser.”

The company’s new generation of waterjet pumps, called the HyPrecision Predictive, are equipped with features such as Hypertherm’s proven Advanced Intensifier Technology and new patented technologies that adjust for pressure and temperature, oil viscosity, and hydraulic system wear parts, along with technology that enables customers to use seals up to 40 percent longer. In addition to technologies to increase performance and reduce system downtime, HyPrecision Predictive pumps are designed with ease of service in mind. Features such as a color-coded junction box, electrical cable harnesses, quick-disconnect fittings, and an easy access bleed-down valve all make maintenance faster and less expensive. Safety is also considered. A clear window cover lets the operator see the intensifier and attenuator. Optional electrical interlocks prevent unauthorised access and can automatically stop the pump when opened. Finally, Seal Maintenance Technology  helps keep the top deck and shop floor free of oil and water.

“In engineering this system, we worked to really understand the pain points that companies using waterjet face. Without question, the number one issue was surprise system downtime,” explains John Caron, waterjet product Marketing Manager. “Our new HyPrecision Predictive systems are engineered to eliminate that pain point, while delivering increased productivity and performance, improved serviceability and safety, and lower maintenance costs.”

In addition to EuroBLECH, Hypertherm will showcase both systems at this year’s FABTECH which takes place early next month in Atlanta. People interested in learning more can also contact any authorized OEM or visit


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Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Machine Advisor Unlocks The Potential Of Data For Asia’s OEMs

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Machine Advisor Unlocks The Potential Of Data for Asia’s OEMs

SINGAPORE: Amid the rapid digitisation of manufacturing, machine builders (OEMs) need to provide a better service to improve their customers’ agility and market responsiveness. Therefore, Schneider Electric has presented its EcoStruxure Machine Advisor, a platform that allows OEMs to track, monitor and fix machines remotely as well as enable operators to predict and execute preventive maintenance schedules and improve machine availability.

Real-time Operational Awareness Is A Competitive Advantage

Driven by rapid adoption of connectivity, mobility, cloud computing and big data analytics, digitisation in manufacturing has a huge potential. According to a 2015 McKinsey survey, by 2025 digitisation will reduce time to market by 20 to 25 percent, optimise expertise by 45 to 55 percent, and reduce machine downtime by up to 50 percent.

In this ultra-competitive environment, OEMs need solutions that will improve the connectivity of their machines, giving them real-time operational awareness, and access to their machines in order to optimise their operational efficiency while developing new business opportunities such as in their services business. These benefits need to be passed on to operators, while guaranteeing safety and data security.

Maximising The Value Of Data With EcoStruxure Machine Advisor

Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Machine Advisor is able to convert data into key insights for machine builders. “With EcoStruxure Machine Advisor, OEMs gain real-time remote access to their machines, allowing them to add and modify new services to each installed machine at any production site worldwide,” explained Xing Jian Pang, industrial commercial vice president, global OEM and Asia Pacific, Schneider Electric. The device is also able to provide a fully connected framework for reliable machine operation through three key functionalities:

  • Track: OEMs can visualise the location of all their machines, with real-time access to documentationand history, such as bill of materials, manuals, maintenance logs and task management schedules.
  • Monitor: The cloud-based software allows OEMs to collect and visualise machine data in real time,giving a comprehensive analysis of Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE), widgets for performance against key KPIs and other trends, and dashboards to monitor machine availability and output quality.
  • Fix: A service enabled by a mobile app to facilitate maintenance and operations with contextualinformation, the help of step-by-step procedures and remote expertise by leveraging augmented reality. Furthermore, this service also provides remote access to the engineering software in the cloud, enabling service technicians to use “Software-as-a-Service” to always have the right version and libraries by hand.

While these functionalities allow OEMs to improve customer satisfaction and innovate with new service offers, EcoStruxure Machine Advisor also gives immediate benefits to operators by leveraging the EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor app. This allows the EcoStruxure Augmented Operator Advisor to put real-time information at their fingertips, whenever and wherever it is needed. Additionally, the custom application can improve operational efficiency with augmented reality, enabling operators to superimpose the current data and virtual objects onto a cabinet, machine, or plant.

EcoStruxure Machine Advisor pilots

The EcoStruxure Machine Advisor has been piloted successfully with many OEMs in Europe and Asia. In Taiwan, Leadermac, a manufacturer of four-side moulders, has incorporated the technology as a digitised solution to improve its service offers and the company is now able to execute early diagnosis and preventive maintenance of its machines, and sell better-connected, more flexible, more efficient and safer machines.

“EcoStruxure Machine Advisor is the future,” said Leadermac president, Michael Chang. “It helps OEMs like us provide better services, such as remote preventive maintenance, alarm monitoring, tooling usage and IoT applications.”


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Volkswagen To Utilise 3D Printing For Future Manufacturing

Volkswagen To Utilise 3D Printing For Future Manufacturing

GERMANY – Volkswagen (VW) has announced that it will be the first original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to utilise HP Metal Jet for mass global production of its vehicles. A method that the company claims is not only simpler and quicker but also 50 times more productive than other existing methods.

Considering that a typical VW car contains approximately 6,000 to 8,000 parts, the HP Metal Jet would allow for greater personalisation and production of individual parts. A point that has been reinforced by Dr. Martin Goede, VW’s head of technology planning and development, who said, “At the same time, complexity is increasing with the number of new models. That’s why we are relying on state-of-the-art technologies to ensure a smooth and fast production. 3D printing plays a particularly important role in manufacturing of individual parts.”

Moving forward, VW would be working with GKN Powder Metallurgy in the next two to three years to gear this technology towards the mass production of automotive parts for vehicle assembly. A trend that several other key car makers, such as Ford, would be following as they continue to test the viability of 3D printing technologies in creating hyper personalised vehicles at a commercial scale.


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CP Tech Acquired By Nedschroef

CP Tech Acquired By Nedschroef

Helmond, Netherlands: Fastener manufacturer Nedschroef has signed an agreement to acquire component manufacturer and engineering service provider CP Tech, with the intention to develop from a specialist manufacturer of fasteners to an engineering company capable of engaging in the development of early-stage automotive projects working jointly with OEMs.

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