Futures of automobile industry and challenges on sustainable development and mobility

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


16th GERPISA Colloquium, Turin, Italy (2008)






Portugal had only very few foresight exercises on the automobile sector, and the most recent one was a survey held in a project on work organisation systems in the automobile industry, its recent historical paths and the special strategies of location of companies (the WorTiS project). This involved several teams with different disciplinary backgrounds and from two Portuguese universities. The provisional main results of the first round of a Delphi survey held in Portugal on the automotive sector were already published, but a further analysis was not yet done. This foresight survey was done under the WorTiS project, developed in 2004 by IET – Research Centre on Enterprise and Work Innovation (at FCT-UNL), and financed by the Portuguese Ministry of Science and Technology. Some of this experience on foresight analysis is also been transferred to other projects, namely the WORKS project on work organisation restructuring in the knowledge society that received the support from EC and still is running. The majority of experts considered having an average of less knowledge in almost all the scenario topics presented. This means that information on the automotive industry is not spread enough among academics or experts in related fields (regional scientists, innovation economists, engineers, sociologists). Some have a good knowledge but in very specialised fields. Others have expertise on foresight, or macroeconomics, or management sciences, but feel insecure on issues related with futures of automobile sector. Nevertheless, we considered specially the topics where the experts considered themselves to have some knowledge. There were no “irrelevant” topics considered as such by the expert panel. There are also no topics that are not considered a need for co-operation. The lack of technological infrastructures was not considered as a hindered factor for the accomplishment of any scenario. The experts’ panel considered no other international competence besides US, Japan or Germany in these topics. Special focus will be made in this paper on the topic 2. Public policy and automobile industries, and more specifically on the technological and/or research policies issues, where one can specify the automobile’s role in transport policies with further implications like environment, safety, energy, mobility.

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