Keywords: automotive technology, mobility, maturity
On the over-investment in automotive technology
This paper discusses the reasons for continuing very high levels of R&D spending in the automotive industry in spite of the fact that both the automobile and the market for automobiles are widely considered to be mature. Most R&D appears to be product and not process-related. The microelectronics revolution has to some extent rejuvenated the automobile. Besides that, government regulation has created additional impetus. It is argued that the absence of a real alternative to private auto-mobility has probably pushed R&D beyond the point where its level can be considered socially justifiable. A re-direction of the R&D effort, however, will depend on radical institutional and social change forcing a re-orientation of purchasing power to demand for other, collective means of transportation.