Brose, the international automotive supplier, has won the Automotive Innovations Award 2013 in the car body and exterior category. The award was presented last Thursday at a conference in Frankfurt am Main by the Center of Automotive Management (CAM), an independent institute for empirical automotive and mobility research based in Bergisch Gladbach, in conjunction with auditing firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers AG (PwC). The award ceremony was attended by around 200 top managers from the automotive sector. This year for the first time, as well as recognizing the most innovative manufacturers, prizes were also awarded to four suppliers for significant innovations in five categories: chassis, interior, drive technology, electrics/electronics and car body and exterior.
PwC automotive expert Felix Kuhnert highlighted the role played by suppliers: “The leading position of German car manufacturers is due in no small part to the innovative strength of German automotive suppliers. For the continuing success of the German car industry, it will therefore be vital to promote close relationships between manufacturers and suppliers. Apart from anything else, the premium standards of German manufacturers spur suppliers on to outstanding achievements.”
Kurt Sauernheimer, Executive Vice President Door Systems at Brose, accepted the prize from Prof. Stefan Bratzel, Director of CAM, saying: “This award strengthens our resolve to direct all our development efforts towards making driving safer, more comfortable and more energy-efficient. These are the key factors for market success because innovation is not an end in itself. It has to achieve a worthwhile aim – for vehicle manufacturers and drivers, but also for the environment and society.”
The winners of the Automotive Innovations Award are chosen following a study based on surveys carried out by CAM. The surveys collect data concerning vehicle innovations from a large number of automotive manufacturers and suppliers and evaluate them in accordance with quantitative and qualitative criteria. The winning suppliers were picked by analyzing their published developments over a three-year period and evaluating their maturity and innovation levels. In addition, the suppliers’ customers were asked questions about the companies’ innovation performance.
Brose won largely because of its innovations in the area of car bodies. The judges were particularly impressed with its lightweight solutions and its comfort and safety functions for doors and liftgates.
Examples include its lightweight door systems that are up to 30% lighter than conventional solutions thanks to the use of materials like organic sheets, carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics (CRP) and long glass fiber reinforced plastics. In addition, the developers at Brose have introduced a hands-free system for opening and closing liftgates and trunk lids, as well as innovative concepts for anti-trap solutions in windows and doors.