The business of supplying components to automakers for their cars has been a notoriously difficult one to survive in for the past two decades. This has been particularly true for companies that make commodity parts like fasteners, batteries and exhaust systems but even manufacturers of more complex parts like trim and interiors have been falling by the wayside. The only exceptions to that rule have been companies that make higher tech electronically controlled components like slip control systems, fuel systems and emission controls.

The demand for increasing efficiency is benefiting companies like Bosch, Continental and TRW that have the expertise and intellectual property to create the systems necessary to the operation of clean diesels, hybrids and electric vehicles. Because that capability is more limited in supply and takes more effort to develop these suppliers can demand high enough prices to actually be profitable in a business where few manage that. Other companies that are benefiting have technology that is new and unique such as Borg-Warner with their dual clutch transmissions that can help provide significant improvements in efficiency or engineering firms like Ricardo that can help the in-house engineering staff optimize the design of their powertrains.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. req'd]

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