Who We Are
The United States Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR) was founded in 1992. Its goal is to further strengthen the technology base of the U.S. auto industry through cooperative research and development. Its main focus is to:
Create, support and direct U.S. cooperative research and development to advance automotive technologies.
Be responsive to the needs of our environment and society and include the appropriate public and private stakeholders.
USCAR is composed of a number of specialized groups that focus on specific research areas. These research teams work to:
accelerate technical development,
provide a common voice to the supply base,
increase the value of research investments,
and reduce the cost for noncompetitive technologies and activities.
These goals are often accomplished through partnerships with various stakeholders including the federal government, educational institutions and suppliers.
USCAR demonstrates the power of collaboration. It enables the U.S. automakers to do great things efficiently and effectively. Individually, these same tasks would be far more difficult, potentially redundant, and in many instances, impossible to achieve as quickly by individual companies.
The United States Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR) was announced in 1992, but its evolution began years earlier. Historically, technical collaboration involving the U.S. automakers - Chrysler, Ford and General Motors was unthinkable because they dominated the U.S. market and viewed each other as tough competitors. Also, antitrust laws strongly discouraged U.S. businesses from working together.
As automotive markets began to globalize, Congress provided an opportunity for a wide range of research & development collaborations involving industrial competitors by passing the 1984 Cooperative Research Act. With competition from both Japanese and European automakers intensifying, Chrysler Group LLC, Ford and GM recognized that technical collaboration was already occurring among their overseas competitors and that it made good business sense for themselves as well.
In the late 1980s, a common technology need was the development of lightweight materials to improve fuel economy. Thus, the U.S. automakers created the Automotive Composites Consortium (ACC) in 1988 to work together on the emerging need for composites. ACC's success spawned more consortia to address other technical issues, including advanced batteries and vehicle recycling.
By 1992, it was clear that a management group was needed to serve as a coordinating research hub - and the United States Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR) was formed to oversee the collaborative research & development efforts.
In the fall of 1993, USCAR teamed together with the federal government under the Clinton administration and formed the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV). PNGV's goal was to improve national manufacturing competitiveness, implement technologies to increase the efficiency of conventional vehicles and develop technologies for a new class of vehicles with up to three times the fuel efficiency of a mid-size family sedan without sacrificing its performance, affordability, utility, safety and comfort. Each of the U.S. automakers created concept vehicles that achieved the fuel-efficiency mark, advancing new technologies as part of the process.
Building on the success of PNGV, the program transitioned to FreedomCAR under the Bush administration in 2002 to put more emphasis on hydrogen and fuel cell research. In September 2003, FreedomCAR expanded to include five energy companies creating the FreedomCAR & Fuel Partnership. The partners are: USCAR, the United States Department of Energy (DOE), BP America, Chevron Corporation, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corporation and Shell Hydrogen LLC. In June 2008, two electric utility companies, DTE Energy and Southern California Edison, were added to the Partnership.
The FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership’s mission is to develop and advance high-risk research needed to create component and infrastructure technologies that will:
enable a full range of affordable cars, light trucks and the fueling infrastructure for them;
reduce the dependence of the nation’s personal transportation system on imported oil;
minimize regulated vehicle emissions, without sacrificing freedom of mobility and freedom of vehicle choice;
and enable transition to a hydrogen transportation economy.
As it works to achieve the vision of a hydrogen fuel-cell future, the partnership is fostering some intermediate steps, including: near-term improvements to the engines that power our cars and trucks today; parallel research that will improve hybrid powertrains and reduce their cost; and the development of the technologies and infrastructure needed for a hydrogen transportation economy.
In December 2004, USCAR and senior executives of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration signed a memorandum of agreement establishing a new partnership to facilitate technological research and technology policy analysis focused on improving the manufacturing competitiveness of the U.S. automotive industry. The US A-TEAM (U.S. Alliance for Technology and Engineering for Automotive Manufacturing) is a strategic partnership between USCAR and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration (including the department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST]). It focuses on improving the manufacturing competitiveness of the U.S. automotive industry.
Throughout its history, USCAR has facilitated numerous cutting-edge and innovative R&D programs, and its organizational structure has evolved accordingly. In spring 2005, USCAR Council created an organizational structure composed of a three-member executive Leadership Group and nine Technical Leadership Councils to oversee the extensive portfolio of research being conducted by nearly 30 consortia, teams and working groups. Additionally, USCAR leadership council members strategize and initiate expansion into new areas of collaboration. With R&D programs ranging from energy storage and materials to aerodynamics and manufacturing, the research portfolio continues to expand.
USCAR is governed by the three-member USCAR Council, whose membership includes the R&D vice presidents from each of the U.S. automakers. The Council members create value for their respective companies through their collective leadership. They establish USCAR policy, appoint representatives to various teams and provide strategic direction and guidance to the organization.
The USCAR Council members are:
Scott Kunselman, senior vice president, head of Vehicle Safety and Regulatory Compliance, FCA US LLC
Ken Washington, vice president of Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company
Jon Lauckner, General Motors vice president and chief technology officer
The USCAR Leadership Group reports to the Council and includes the USCAR Executive Director as well as an executive from each member company. The Leadership Group translates policies and strategies from the Council into actionable items and assigns these items to the appropriate teams. The Leadership Group is responsible for overseeing all USCAR operations and collaborative activities.