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International Federation of Automotive Engineering Societies

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What do Automotive Engineers do?

FISITA and Your Future In Automotive filmed a series of interviews with a wide range of automotive engineers, take a look at what they had to say about working in the industry!

FISITA Your Future In Automotive Engineer Ford Product Innovation Car Design

Automotive engineers work on the development of ground-based vehicles including passenger cars, commercial vehicles and off-highway vehicles.

Their activities largely fall into either:

  • design (new products or revising existing ones)
  • research and development (finding solutions to engineering problems)
  • production (planning and designing new production processes)

Their work demands a balance of engineering and commercial skills, as their technical solutions must be efficient, economical and contribute to the profitability of their employer. Tasks typically involve:

  • developing new test procedures, using both conventional and innovative methods;
  • devising and organising tests, which will answer questions from clients, consumers and other engineers involved in vehicle development;
  • anticipating vehicle or component behaviour in different conditions with computer modelling software;
  • analysing and interpreting technical data into reports or presentations and answering any queries about the results;
  • building an individual specialism within a larger team and working independently;
  • contributing to regular team meetings to update colleagues on progress, problems and new developments;
  • managing all details of projects, including projected costs;
  • recognising the benefits of engineering developments to related departments in order to market projects and secure internal funding;
  • negotiating costs of development and engineering work with commercial departments;
  • monitoring any related systems or engineering issues associated with the component and final product;
  • ensuring any parts can be sourced when large-scale vehicle assembly commences;
  • supervising technical staff, engineers or designers (dependent on specific role);
  • operating in cross-functional or internationally based teams to design experiments in order to test the validity and competence of new technology.