What is Automotive Research and Development?

Erin J. Hill

Automotive research and development involves the research of consumer preferences and tastes in cars and trucks, and the development of new technologies that meet customer needs. This can be accomplished using surveys or focus groups from a particular group of people. Generally, different automobiles are targeted toward a specific audience. Therefore, research must also be focused on a particular population in order for statistics to be accurate.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Before developing a new automobile, automotive research and development teams determine what their clients want to see in a new car. Things like safety features, navigation systems and stereos are a few examples of important aspects to varying groups of people. For instance, a woman with children may be more concerned with safety while a single male may be more focused on performance.

Determining which groups are interesting is what aspects of a vehicle is the purpose of automotive research and development. Market researchers may have customer surveys taken from consumers who have bought a car from a particular manufacturer in the past. Questions may include likes and dislikes about the car, as well as what types of things would have been an improvement.

This information can then be used by car makers, who take into account features that are attractive to many consumers. Scientists work at developing new technologies to make these features doable, while designers work hard to come up with more attractive and stylish vehicles.

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Virtually all car companies have automotive research and development departments to allow them to stay ahead of the competition. The more a company can stay ahead of consumer needs and desires, the better their chances at staying in business and making a profit. This department is on the front lines of providing car makers with the information they need while designing their newest models.

There may also be automotive research and development teams at work to gather statistical analysis from consumers and high patrol officers as well as other departments. Information gathered may tell car makers, consumers, and public officials which cars are most damaged in accidents, which are more likely to be stolen, and which are voted most popular for specific groups of people. For instance, many parents may rate specific mini vans or sport utility vehicles as their favorites, along with particular features.

This type of data is useful not only for car manufacturers, but also for police officials and parents buying their children cars. For example, it may be statistically proven that a particular sports car increases the risk of speeding among teen drivers. Parents would then be alerted to choose a more safe and economical vehicle for their children.

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