by Sean Kilcarr, Editor

seanIt’s no secret that innovation is what keeps any industry healthy and capable of adapting to change—even if there’s no inkling that radical change may be on the horizon.

Yet a new report issued by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) claims that the global automobile industry is entering what the firm describes as a “new golden era” of innovation focused on four key areas: active safety and assisted driving, powertrain, lightweight materials, and connectivity—all of which may also affect heavy trucks.

Regulatory and marketplace demands with respect to fuel efficiency, connectivity, and safety, as well as technological advances, are making inroads in all four areas possible. They are also reducing costs, noted Xavier Mosquet, a BCG senior partner and one of the co-authors of this study.

Two other areas loom large as well. The first is the continuing shift from mechanical to software-driven vehicles, BCG noted in the report. The second is the quickening pace of product development, as consumers have come to expect rapid technological advances. This expectation makes it more difficult for OEMs and suppliers to adhere to the three- to five-year product design and development process.

The group’s conclusion? Automakers that learn to organize themselves to harness and direct fast-moving developments will thrive. The same can be said for truck OEMs.