Automotive Parts Manufacturing Industry Trends

The automotive parts manufacturing industry is structured like an assembly line. Although the industry is huge globally, the workforce employed directly by auto manufacturers is relatively small. Manufacturing is often sub contract work. Manufacturers and employers can be major corporations or minor local businesses. It is also a very fluid industry because industry trends can be fickle, and demand for vehicle types can affect manufacturing firms severely. Common career practice is to follow these trends, and job mobility is a significant part of career progression.

Industry trend Factors:

  • Technology and design: The move into non petrol fueled vehicles and away from big cars are good examples of how technology impacts manufacturing. Obsolescence regularly affects auto parts production. On a smaller scale, manufacturing is also affected by technology in terms of design, in which new models and vehicle architecture progressively change the industry's requirements.
  • Sales and commercial interests: This is a demand driven industry. Sales figures dictate manufacturing orders.
  • Production cost: Cost of production is a primary factor in automotive parts manufacturing profitability. That directly affects the viability of manufacturers, a true bottom line. It also affects employment, sometimes dramatically, when operations are moved to cheaper locations.  
  • Competition: The defining factor for many auto manufacturers is their ability to compete with low cost margin products. The entry of Japanese and Korean vehicles into the US market had a drastic effect on US manufacturers, and severely affected employment in automotive parts manufacturing.

Career outlooks

The overall trend in global automotive parts market is a compound effect, with all industry trends pointing to a revamped manufacturing approach. New materials, new designs and the move into new technologies is completely changing the traditional auto parts industry.

The hardest hit career areas have been in traditional parts manufacturing. Manufacturers have been faced with the need to completely retool to produce components. Others have found their products being phased out, or needing redesign to compete for orders. That directly affects jobs, and while it creates demand for new skills, it relegates old skills to history. The primary career need in these areas is for retraining, unless you've been doing ongoing studies.

The good news for the industry is that the new technology and designs translate into cost effective, "High Road", career-oriented jobs for qualified people. The High Road approach is higher paying trades jobs for a smaller number of workers. Some of these jobs may get six figure salaries. High Road jobs are top level professional credentials.

If you're starting an auto parts career, these jobs are where you need to go. If you're currently in the industry, they are where you should be going.