Demand for increased functionality in automotive electrical/electronic (E/E) systems is being propelled by both customers and various governmental regulations and requirements. This demand for more capabilities also introduces new challenges for OEMs who are responsible for implementing these functions. Of course, the cost of system development and manufacturing are considerable, but there are challenges beyond cost that the OEM must deal with, such as increased weight, reliability and quality concerns, exponentially-increasing complexity, and the government requirements. From the point of view of the electrical system platform as a whole, it provides the unique role of integrating all the individual E/E systems. When integrated, unanticipated problems can emerge that require design modifications. Often, these are discovered way down the design path, which results in delays in the program that can lead to missed deadlines and costly rework. The increasing complexity, caused by the number of configurations offered to customers, and cost of errors point to the value of tackling this problem using a systems engineering approach. The systems engineering methodology should allow OEMs to maintain product quality, reduce overall costs, manage changes, and meet time-to-market goals. This paper will examine some of these problems in more detail before exploring how system engineering can be used to overcome these challenges.