A next-generation model for automotive innovation at scale

Japanese automakers have been successful in establishing R&D outposts worldwide with their expertise in blending their highly industrialized R&D processes with an enhanced understanding and responsiveness to local market needs.

In today’s changing landscape, it is now possible to bring R&D activities even closer to local markets with the help of specialists abroad to help alleviate the challenges of Japan’s shrinking working-age demographic. However, it has revealed some unforeseen challenges.

The challenges of localized R&D

Due to the large scale of machinery and investment required upfront, it is not an easy task to migrate all activities locally which in turn, has affected the ability for automakers to scale and respond to markets quickly.

Furthermore, it is also difficult for automakers to find and retain the right talent from a limited pool of skilled resource, and to match them with a job that meets their expectations.

Wise pivot to a next-gen R&D operating model

The key to solving this challenge? Wise pivot to a more distributed R&D model that recognizes the unique qualities of each market and maximizes their contribution to the value chain accordingly.

Across the Asia Pacific (APAC), there are multiple clusters of specialist talent often supported by significant government funding. A successful cross-border R&D model involves establishing a pan-APAC ecosystem of R&D centers that allows the best talent in each cluster to focus on what they do best.

India

Huge growth potential with a rapidly expanding AI ecosystem and R&D network

29K

AI professionals

1,165

R&D centres employing ~323,000 people (almost 10% in automotive)

China

Vibrant electric vehicle start-up scene supported by rapid growth in R&D centres

500

electric vehicle (EV) start-ups and counting

39

satellite auto R&D centres established in 2005–2017 alone and 8 automotive engineering hubs

ASEAN

Automotive powerhouse region fuelled by a large expert workforce

Established automotive prototyping and manufacturing supply chain

500K

employed in Thailand’s automobile and auto parts industry

Israel

Cybersecurity and AI innovation hothouse

166

cybersecurity start-ups (16 of which have raised more than $50 million)

950

start-ups and nearly 4,000 professionals developing AI technologies

The future lies in pan-APAC

To innovate at scale, automakers must abandon country-based siloes of R&D and look instead to establish a pan-APAC ecosystem. They need to tap into the vibrant talent clusters and resources available across the APAC region.

A successful cross-border R&D model involves establishing a pan-APAC ecosystem of R&D centres that allows the best talent in each cluster to focus on what they do best.

Naoto Uzuka

MANAGING DIRECTOR – INDUSTRIAL PRACTICE, PRODUCTS


Raghu Gullapalli

INDUSTRIAL X.0 LEAD – INDUSTRIAL & PRODUCTS

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