Cars & Light Trucks

The 2009–2010 recession greatly impacted the auto industry, leading to unexpected bankruptcies and shaking the industry to its core. The burgeoning green movement has placed greater pressure on manufacturers around the world to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to develop greener vehicles.

The rising economies of China, India, Russia and other developing countries mean that cars are affordable to vast sections of population. Automobile markets in these countries are expanding at steady double-digit rates. In 2009, China surpassed the United States as the largest automotive market in the world in terms of number of vehicles sold — never to turn back. Such growth makes the auto industry truly global in nature, opening up a plethora of possibilities.

The industry is also impacted by preference related to vehicle type, style and technology. For example, customers in rising economies prefer smaller, lighter, fuel-efficient vehicles, based on economics and road conditions. Likewise, as fuel costs rise in developed nations, there is a similar shift in preference toward smaller vehicles.

The automotive industry is rapidly leveraging the ongoing advances in electronics. With virtually innumerable sensors, actuators, controllers and gadgets — such as GPS and voice-activated controls — the amount of electronics embedded in today's cars is mind-boggling.

With challenges come opportunities, and innovative companies that keep ahead of the competition will win the race to capture these new markets.

Auto companies build and sell cars and trucks in hundreds of locations around the world; as a result, globalization affects them perhaps more than in any other industry. With the demand for the development of sophisticated hybrid–electric vehicles and electric vehicles, the industry is moving away from its direct dependence on fossil fuels. The new mandate for electric powertrain technology is increased fuel efficiency with fewer emissions, which can be achieved by improving vehicle aerodynamics and transmissions as well as by keeping vehicle weight as low as possible. If the conventional powertrain is replaced in the near future by an electric powertrain, the car will become more an electric machine than a mechanical one.

Simulation technology is critical, and it can differentiate the leaders from the followers in this time of revolutionary change. Time lines for vehicle development are shorter than ever before. Simulation compresses the development cycle, enabling testing of components or systems to identify trouble spots and take measures to improve the product.

ANSYS simulation software helps auto engineers to analyze the internal combustion engine (ICE) to increase efficiencies but produce less pollution. The technology investigates the structural integrity of engines built with new carbon fiber-based material, determining its ability to withstand stresses and strains under real-world operating conditions. Designs are optimized for improved aerodynamics and weight reduction by eliminating excess component materials.

Global industries — including the greater automotive field — utilize common materials no matter their geographic region. Simulation workflow from ANSYS can be used all across an enterprise, by staff in multiple disciplines, across the organization, and spread out around the world. The tools also provide a means to easily integrate, store and access simulation data.