Stuttgart, Germany — Megasupplier Yanfeng will combine the research and development activities of its interiors, seating, electronics, safety and exteriors divisions into a new unit called Yanfeng Technology.
The formation of YFT, which will have a strong European focus despite its global reach, is intended to accelerate the company's realization of its futuristic vision for auto interiors.
Many of the next-generation ideas that YFT has for its Smart Cabin's were on display in the Experience in Motion 2020 (XiM20), which is an interior concept for a fully autonomous ride-sharing vehicle that was unveiled here Sept. 4.
Previously, all of the Yanfeng research divisions that came together to help create the XiM20 competed individually for business. That will no longer take place.
"They wouldn't continue to be successful on their own," said YFT CEO Ni Jiawen, who is also a member of the parent company's executive committee.
YFT says automakers are now looking for suppliers that can take on multiple roles to create future interiors. Ni said the company's research and development units would often work together, but putting them together ensures that collaboration is guaranteed.
"They used to support one another but that is not enough because support doesn't mean taking responsibility," Ni said during a keynote address following the debut of the XiM20.
Added YFT Chief Technology Officer Han Hendriks: "We need our own point of view regarding the future of interiors. Creating concepts like the XiM20 helps us prioritize where to invest."
When asked during the keynote why YFT picked Germany for its debut event Ni said: "Automakers such as BMW, Daimler and Audi are here so we need to be here. The best car expertise and studio design capability is still in Europe."