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New Product Development Performance in the UK & Japanese Automotive Industries

Aims & objectives

This study was commissioned by the DTI/SMMT Industry Forum in March 2001. The mission of the Industry Forum is to improve the competitiveness of the UK’s automotive industry, and to date this has largely taken the form of advice and interventions to improve manufacturing performance in individual plants. However, given the importance of design and product development to competitiveness, the Industry Forum is considering whether to extend its activities to the product development arena. Consequently, Cambridge was commissioned to design and execute a study into the state of new product development in UK car and component makers, especially measured against Japanese benchmarks.

Methods & findings

Approximately 20 UK and 10 Japanese car and component makers took part in the study. The Japanese leg was conducted with collaborators from Chuo University in Japan. The results revealed substantial differences between Japan and the UK (generally in favour of Japan), based on measures such as development lead times and the time taken for manufacturing performance to settle to normal levels following new product launch.

The conclusions and recommendations from this study were presented to the Industry Forum in a written report in July 2001. During 2002 these results will be disseminated more widely via the CBR working paper series and through conference papers and journal articles.


Oliver, N. (2002) Creation of a dataset of new product development performance indicators in approximately 30 UK and Japanese automotive suppliers.

Project leader

Nick Oliver

Project status