Today, the aerospace industry faces the challenge of realising ever more sophisticated avionic systems whilst coming under simultaneous pressure to reduce costs. Advances in electronics technology such as higher levels of integration have helped to achieve greater functionality at reasonable cost but more radical measures will be necessary to achieve significant reductions in the future. This paper looks at two examples of where the application of technology used in the automotive industry could be applied to aerospace products and realise useful cost reductions. Low cost, rugged plastic encapsulated microcircuits have long been used in the harsh automotive environment and recent investigations indicate that they may be suitable for use in even extreme aerospace environments such as engine controls. The cost of data transmission between the numerous digital systems on civil and military aircraft, using standards such as ARINC and MIL-STD-1553B is another significant cost driver. The automotive controller area network (CAN) is a low cost, yet capable bus that is becoming widely used in vehicle electronics, It has already been developed for general aviation (light) aircraft application and could realise great cost benefits if more widely applied.