VW and Ford rewarded for innovation

This week saw the tenth presentation of the annual AutomotiveINNOVATIONS Awards for exceptional innovative achievement in the automotive industry.

The Volkswagen Group emerged as one of the evening’s big winners, securing the award for ‘Most innovative car manufacturer 2015’ as well as receiving a special award for ‘Most innovative car manufacturer of the decade’. Volkswagen Group developers also achieved first place in the categories for ‘Networked vehicle’, ‘Vehicle concepts’, ‘Conventional drives’ and ‘Safety systems’. The AutomotiveINNOVATIONS Awards are presented each year by the Centre of Automotive Management (CAM) in cooperation with the auditing and consultancy firm PwC.

The Volkswagen Group stands for superior technological expertise and a wide portfolio of innovative brands. This was the conclusion of the latest report by the CAM, which this year again names the Wolfsburg group as the world’s most innovative automotive company. The Group’s innovative strength over the past decade was also commended in the study. The official explanation by CAM and PwC for the award acknowledged that ‘1251 individual innovations, 212 of which were world firsts, have been developed by Volkswagen in the last ten years. Highlights among these include the XL11, a platform for new technology; the Bugatti Veyron2, the most powerful and fastest production vehicle; Audi’s LED matrix headlights; and the first dry dual clutch 7-speed gearbox to go into series production.’

At the awards ceremony, Professor Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, board member for Technical Development at Audi and responsible for cross-brand development coordination within the Volkswagen Group, said, ‘I share this award with the 600,000 employees of all the 12 brands of the Volkswagen Group in Germany and all ourlocations around the world. They are creating the mobility of tomorrow. It is their high-level technical expertise, great creativity and the excellent quality of their work that make the Volkswagen Group a leading innovator in the automotive field.’

Dr Heinz-Jakob Neußer, board member for development of the Volkswagen brand and head of drivetrain development of the Volkswagen Group, said, ‘The key to a company’s success isits innovative strength. We will continue to extend our technological leadership and meet the technological challenges of the future with sustainable products.’

Ford Motor Company was named the ‘Most Innovative Volume Brand 2015’ for its safety and semi-autonomous driver technologies at the awards.

Ford won the awards for safety and driver assistance systems including Active Park Assist that helps drivers to park alongside other cars, and in parallel parking spaces; and automatic braking technology Active City Stop that operates at speeds of up to 30mph.

‘Innovation has always been the lifeblood of Ford and it’s more vital with the automotive industry entering a period of rapid technological advancement,’ said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. ‘The technologies we are introducing today are enabling a safer, more efficient and more connected journey.’

The judging panel, led by centre director Prof. Dr. Stefan Bratzel, in collaboration with PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, reported that driver assistance systems accounted for nearly 300 of the innovations submitted.

‘AutomotiveINNOVATIONS identified the future trends in the automotive industry on the basis of more than 1,200 technical innovations,’ Stefan said. ‘The award for Ford as ‘Most Innovative Volume Manufacturer’ proves the innovative power of the brand. With Focus and Mondeo, many of the innovations have already found their way into production.’

Jurors also recognised Ford for the award-winning 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine that last year became the first engine to be named International Engine of the Year three years in a row, and the company’s Electronic Stability Programme technology.

The Centre of Automotive Management (CAM) in Bergisch-Gladbach (Germany) is an independent institute for empirical research on automotive and mobility issues that conducts extensive studies together with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on an annual basis. This year’s analysis covered 18 global automotive groups with a total of 53 brands. For the past ten years, the CAM has been assessing new developments in vehicle technology to identify future trendsand innovation profiles of the global automotive companies across a range of different categories.