The most innovative automobile manufacturers still come from Germany. But the competition from America and Asia is becoming much stronger. That is the result of the "Automotive Innovations" study by the Center of Automotive Management at the Bergisch-Gladbach University of Applied Sciences. The share of German manufacturers in total innovations in the industry has dropped from 40 percent in 2013 to currently 33 percent, the lowest value since 2008.
The scientists weighted each innovation, defined as an improvement in customer benefit, and used it to calculate the manufacturer's ranking. Here is the VW-Group clearly ahead. The Audi and VW brands in particular have contributed to this with innovations in the Audi Q7 and VW Passat. BMW is now in second place, for example thanks to the garage parking assistant in the BMW 7 Series. Among other things, Daimler comes third with its Car2Car communication for hazard warning in the new E-Class.
But other manufacturers are catching up: The American e-car manufacturer Tesla (10th place) moves into the top ten for the first time, thanks in part to semi-autonomous driving functions that can be activated via over-the-air updates. The other winners in the ranking of the most innovative groups this year include General Motors and Hyundai, which can improve to fourth and fifth place due to many (group) innovations. “The industry is characterized by unprecedented innovation dynamics,” says study director Stefan Bratzel. "Technological advances are increasingly reduced to short snapshots."
The approximately 1.500 innovations are distributed unevenly across the technology fields: A record 28 percent of the innovations are in safety and driver assistance systems (previous year 25 percent). Conventional drive innovations, such as improvements in the efficiency of new motors, are down by 17 percent (previous year: 21 percent) and only about half as high as in the peak year 2010. The number of innovations in pure electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids has increased compared to the previous year ,