Auto Service World
News   May 10, 2005   by Auto Service World

High Tech Scepticism Rules in Europe

European carmakers are growing increasingly skeptical of packing their products with the latest high-tech gadgets to emerge from engineering labs.
The Reuters new agency reports that when, General Motors Europe executives met recently to review 20 potential systems to aid drivers, such as lane departure warnings or eyelid monitors to detect drowsiness, their enthusiasm remained firmly in check.
“The interesting question was not when we would introduce all 20. The interesting question is which of them will we introduce at all, and when, and how will we sell it,” GM Europe President Carl-Peter Forster told a conference last week.
“More and more from our point of view we again have to think about the customer who will ultimately judge whether an innovation has a benefit and has a value to it.”
Bosch Chief Executive Franz Fehrenbach, who heads the world’s biggest automotive supplier, said the era was over when cars would feature all the bells and whistles that modern electronics and software could conceivably allow.
Carmakers such as Volkswagen have often been criticized for being too infatuated with packing their models full of pricey gizmos that buyers not only fail to appreciate but are unwilling to pay for.
“We all have to ask ourselves if there is a customer benefit. And if there is not a customer benefit we should not put complexity into the car,” he said at the Automotive News Europe Congress in Barcelona last week.

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