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Lear Corporation’s acquisition showcases the industry’s use of robotics and AI for efficiency and innovation

Welcome back to the latest episode of The Future of Automotive on CBT News, where we put recent automotive and mobility news into the context of the broader themes impacting the industry. 

I’m Steve Greenfield from Automotive Ventures, and I’m glad that you could join us.

One of our investment theses at Automotive Ventures is that AI and robotics are going to reduce repetitive processes and, over time, eliminate many mundane, boring tasks for humans. And we’ve been putting our money where our mouth is with automation investments like WarrCloud, that automates a dealership’s warranty processing back to the OEM, RoboTire that uses robotic arms to automate the tire replacement process, and more recently Kinetic, which automates ADAS calibrations.

This week we got news that Lear Corporation, a global automotive technology leader in seating and electronics systems for cars, will acquire WIP Industrial Automation, a privately held systems integrator based in Spain that specializes in advanced automation solutions for industrial applications.

Lear is a global automotive technology leader, with employees in 38 countries is driven by a commitment to innovation, operational excellence, and sustainability. Lear, headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, serves every major automaker in the world and ranks 189 on the Fortune 500.

Like other suppliers, Lear has faced increased labor costs and scarcity pressures in the wake of the supply chain crisis and, more recently, from the ripple effects of the contracts the UAW reached with the Detroit 3 last fall.

A year ago, Lear said labor had emerged as the supplier’s top issue, causing the company to accelerate the integration of robotics at its factories. Through the adoption of robotics and automation, Lear is looking to combat wage inflation, which is one of the biggest pain points for the automotive seating and electronics supplier.

WIP, the target of Lear’s acquisition, is a long-time Lear supplier with 25 years of automation experience, that develops, integrates, and deploys cutting-edge technologies to create customized automation solutions for manufacturing applications. WIP brings strong robotics and AI-based computer vision capabilities to Lear, which are important for safety, quality, and efficiency in a modern manufacturing environment. WIP positions Lear to operate more efficiently, thus allowing the company to navigate current macroeconomic challenges, such as elevated wage inflation, more effectively.

This acquisition will be the latest of Lear’s strategic investments designed to broaden its global automation and digital capabilities and will equip Lear with a robust portfolio of automation solutions and technical knowledge that span all critical areas of the manufacturing process and will accelerate innovation in the development of next-generation automation technologies.  

As automakers and suppliers focus on taking out costs from their operations, I expect to continue to see innovation and acquisitions around robotics and process automation to enable companies to streamline processes and ultimately do more work with fewer employees.

Process automation, the use of robotics and of AI will continue to be a core focus of our investment funds, and we expect these trends to have a strong positive force on shaping the future of automotive.

Companies to watch

So, with that, let’s transition to Our Companies to Watch.

Every week we highlight interesting companies in the automotive technology space to keep an eye on. If you read my weekly Intel Report, we showcase a company to watch, and take the opportunity here to share that company with you.

Today, our new company to watch is P1 Fuels.

P1 Fuels produces a fossil-free fuel that works in any combustion engine with no need for modifications. 

Their goal is to decarbonize the mobility sector, and they’ve started this journey with motorsports. 

Motorsports have always been the driving force behind automotive technology advancement.
It is with this commitment to innovation that at P1 Fuels, they are pioneering the production of entirely fossil-free fuels. 

P1 Fuel emits 80% less C02 compared to normal fuel. And their fuels are high-performance: The power of P1 Fuels matches the power of regular gasoline.

If you’d like to learn more about P1 Fuels, you can check them out at

So that’s it for this week’s Future of Automotive segment.  

If you’re an AutoTech entrepreneur working on a solution that helps car dealerships, we want to hear from you. We are actively investing out of our DealerFund.

If you’re interested in joining our Investment Club to make direct investments into AutoTech and Mobility startups, please join. There is no obligation to start seeing our deal flow, and we continue to have attractive investment deals available to our members.

Don’t forget to check out my book, The Future of Automotive Retail, which is available on And keep an eye out for my new book, “The Future of Mobility”, which is almost done, and will be out soon.

Thanks (as always) for your ongoing support and for tuning into CBT News for this week’s Future of Automotive segment. We’ll see you next week!

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Steve Greenfield
Steve Greenfield
Steve is the Founder and CEO of Automotive Ventures, an automotive technology advisory firm that helps entrepreneurs raise money and maximize the value of their companies. They also assist PE firms to conduct due diligence on automotive technology acquisitions, advise technology CEOs on strategy, and help represent sellers at the time of sale.

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