A session entitled “Development of Commercial Vehicles in the Context of Industry 4.0” was held on June 10th during the 2015 Global Automotive Forum. Five guest speakers discussed how the Internet has brought about a revolution in commercial vehicles. The speakers were Li Xiangping, General Manager of IVECO (China) Commercial Vehicle Sales Co., Yang Hanlin General Manager of SAIC-IVECO Hongyan Commercial Vehicle Co., Chen Weijie, Product Director of Commercial Vehicles Department of Changan Motor; Wei Xueqin, President of Shandong Automotive Industry Association in China, and Cao Shoufeng, Deputy Secretary General of Automotive Engineering Society in Jiangsu Province.
The most important characteristics of industry 4.0 are networking and intelligence. Internet thinking has become the most fundamental business thinking, which has a profound impact on the industrial revolution in the automotive industry. The commercial vehicle is the main body of China’s independent innovation and development in the auto industry, and it is influenced by national policies and the national economy. Thus, how can intelligent manufacturing influence the revolution of commercial vehicles? The answer from guest speakers was: high efficiency.
“The industrial revolution that Industry 4.0 has created should be based more on people’s thoughts than actual physical designs,” expressed moderator He Yansong, Vice President of Society of Automotive Engineers, Chongqing and Vice Dean of College of Automotive Engineering of Chongqing University in China.
“The implementation of Industry 4.0 in commercial vehicles is to improve efficiency,” said by Mr. Li Xiangping. He also asserted that commercial vehicle is not a commodity but is an asset. The commercial vehicle plays a role as a moneymaking machine, and customers are most concerned about the operation cost of the vehicle, as fuel consumption is the largest part of operating costs. “To reduce operating costs and promote efficiency of commercial vehicles, we need to focus on fuel,” said Li. He also believed that energy-savings and emissions-reduction not only requires contribution from each industry, but also the coordination of the government.
Mr. Yang Hanlin stated that with the Internet, communication patterns between enterprises and consumers are rapidly changing. Following increasing consumer demand, people tend to pay more and more attention to their consumption through the rapid rise of consumer awareness. Without profound understanding of consumer demand and respect for the reasons behind this demand it will be very difficult for enterprises to adapt to customer changes. To seek long-term development, companies should regard consumer demand as a centerpiece of auto sales; otherwise, their products cannot be sold easily. If production and circulation cannot be carried out smoothly, enterprises will be met with the risk of bankruptcy.
Mr. Yang said: “for truck consumer demand, in the past, consumers used to pay more attention to the function of the trucks, such as the degree of firmness and durability. However, consumers nowadays believe that product function is the most basic necessity. They tend to select trucks based more on enjoyment as well as the service provided during the purchasing process. In the future, heavy trucks will welcome significant advancement in intelligentization, and the Internet of vehicles and the Internet platform will be a strong source of innovation for automobile enterprises.
“Due to multiple requirements on professional functions, commercial vehicles face increase of consumer demand for personalized features, which is a big challenge for traditional manufacturing,” said Chen Weijie. He believes that in the future, mini commercial vehicles will become highly specialized. Meanwhile, consumer demand for personalization and differentiation has spawned a demand for micro-commercial vehicles. A huge challenge exists for commercial vehicle companies, which must balance the costs associated with producing specialized products with their desire to meet customer demand. The combination of manufacturing enterprises and Industry 4.0 can satisfy the diversified demands of customers to a large extent, which can not only resolve the problem of enterprise’s cost and speed, but also bring new opportunities to the commercial vehicle industry in the era of the Internet of vehicles.
Mr. Wei Xueqin illustrated that there are similarities between “Made-in-China 2025″ and “Industry 4.0″ in Germany. In the future, the four major changes of energy diversification, lightweight vehicles, vehicle intelligence and a large transportation network will drive the development of low carbon and other green vehicles.
-Published on page# 35, July-2015 edition of MOBILE WORLD Magazine