The Swedish automotive industry, with its base in western Sweden, has a crucial role to play in the Swedish economy. Exports from the Volvo Group and Volvo Cars alone amount to around SEK 140 billion per year, equivalent to almost 15 per cent of the total. To sustain competitiveness and improve the future potential of the industry, Volvo and Chalmers have agreed to expand their research collaboration with the aim of producing more environmentally friendly diesel engines and developing the vehicles’ electronics and safety.
Research investment and close collaboration between research institutes and industry is crucial to the future development of Swedish manufacturing. This is demonstrated clearly by the many years of co-operation between Volvo and Chalmers as well as experience from other sectors of Swedish industry. When production is moved to another country research often disappears, which in turn leads to reduced potential for the operations that are left to succeed and develop. Studies at Chalmers on Swedish production of electrotechnical products and telecom equipment during the nineties show clear connections between production and research. When the manufacturing of electrotechnical products, like white goods, and telecom equipment, moved abroad the Swedish research within these sectors decreased, which led to further decrease in production in Sweden. From having had a substantially higher export than import within both sectors the figures for Sweden today are even.
"Companies that fail to understand the value of a strong link between research, product development and production risk suffering the same fate as the shipyards," states Chalmers professor Anders Kinnander.
Jorun Fahle | alfa
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