Donald Walker, Chief Executive of auto supplier Magna suggested that rising wages in China and the cost of importing heavy components like electric car batteries into Europe may lead established car makers to introduce more highly efficient automated manufacturing closer to home.
Speaking at the Frankfurt auto show Walker said that assembly plants were evolving and the cost of robots was going down.
By 2025 the total cost of manufacturing labor is projected to fall between 18 and 33 percent in countries which already deploy industrial robots, including South Korea, China, the U.S. Germany and Japan, a study on advanced manufacturing technologies by the Boston Consulting Group showed.
The emergence of hybrid and electric cars means auto makers have seen an increasing demand for large batteries, Walker explained.
“If you look at a battery, it is a big heavy thing to ship. The things that hold the battery, the bumpers, the wheels, those are big bulky parts,” Walker said.
“I think you will still see cars made where the market is. And based on that, the big bulky parts and a lot of the technology in there, will probably be made locally,” Walker said