The automotive world is changing, and Visteon is working to change with it by reorganizing its business and developing methods to more accurately determine what future customers will want and need, a top executive says.

The supplier, which emerged from bankruptcy in 2010 after 15 months of reorganization, has divested itself of many of its business units and now is focused on four areas of competency: interiors, climate and electronics.It also has lessened its dependence on North America, shifting more of its attention to emerging markets in the Asia/Pacific region.

Tim Yerdon, global director-innovation, design and advanced electronics, says the supplier’s “automotive intellect is a tremendous asset,” and Visteon is working on distinguishing the difference between revolutions in technology and what are more likely to be regional technological preferences.

“One thing we’re doing at the macro-marketing level is looking at megatrends,” he tells the Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars held in Traverse City, MI, last week.

Yerdon says future megatrends include globalization, environmentalism, connectivity and the growing importance of women in the automotive market.

Visteon also is looking to enhance the overall user experience. Yerdon points to Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone as an example of a product that delivers an experience consumers seek.

“Many of us don’t go buy an iPhone for the phone feature. You buy for the experience,” he says. “You look for it because of the experience and the value it adds to your life and the time it saves. We’re looking at that (attribute) for vehicle experiences we want to create for the future.”

When developing a new product, it’s essential the experience component is part of the engineering process early on, he says.

“By the time a product gets to the market, that’s when you get feedback and it’s often too late,” he says, adding Visteon is asking itself “how do we bring it upstream in the planning process so we can design it right the first time.”

Yerdon says Visteon has developed “futuring” tools that help determine what will be popular years from now.

The supplier also is concentrating on perceived quality and craftsmanship. For example, Visteon has identified six essential attributes of an electronics system: It must be simple to operate, safe to use while driving, easily accessible, accurate, customizable and engaging.

“We’re taking the vision of customers and translating that into products or services,” he says. “We’re making quality tangible, not just the product, but the experience.”

bpope@wardsauto.com