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New technology is No. 1 auto issue this year, executives say

October 28, 2010

Forget all that talk about cost-cutting and quality improvements. It’s the race for new technology that is motivating auto industry leaders around the world this year.

An executive survey released Jan. 7 by management consultants KPMG LLC finds that new-vehicle technologies will be the most important industry issue of 2010. The annual survey of 200 of the world’s senior automotive executives reports that technology issues will affect market share, investment and mergers, and acquisition activity.

According to Automotive News, at the heart of that new technology discussion is alternative power systems. The survey is not necessarily an indicator of what will happen. But it does indicate what occupies the minds of global decision-makers as the industry tries to shake off the recession.

KPMG found that 85 percent of those surveyed think new technologies will be the most important issue facing the global auto industry for the next 12 months.

The No. 2 issue facing the industry: developing new products to go with the technologies. The heightened technology buzz is noteworthy because it eclipses two of the industry’s great management obsessions of the past two decades: cutting costs and improving quality.