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Auto Industry Conference to Help Participants Navigate the Future of the Industry

A perfect storm is brewing for global automakers and suppliers, but those who lead, manage and influence the industry have the knowledge and capabilities for navigating the troubled waters ahead. They’ll share their insights in early August in the Traverse City, Mich. area at the Management Briefing Seminars — the automotive industry’s premier conference event.

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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A perfect storm is brewing for global automakers and suppliers, but those who lead, manage and influence the industry have the knowledge and capabilities for navigating the troubled waters ahead. They’ll share their insights in early August in the Traverse City, Mich. area at the Management Briefing Seminars — the automotive industry’s premier conference event.

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The seminars are sponsored by the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research (CAR), in collaboration with the University of Michigan. This five-day meeting — which is expected to attract more than 1,200 executives from industry, government and academia — will take place from Monday, Aug. 2, to Friday, Aug. 6, 2004 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.

“All the players in the automotive industry are at an extremely critical juncture,” said David Cole, CAR’s chairman. “Given the state of the industry, I see this year’s conference as a ‘must-attend’ event for those who seek viable strategies for navigating tough times today, and surviving and growing in the future.”

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Full details about the event, as well as registration information, are available online at http://www.cargroup.org/, or via phone at (734) 662-1287 or (866) 374-6227.

The first two days of the conference will focus on World Class Manufacturing, while the final three days will highlight business approaches to dealing with “The Perfect Storm.”

Cole and his colleague, Jay Baron, CAR’s president and director of Manufacturing Systems, will lead key panel discussions at the conference.

“Each year, we attract a virtual ‘brain trust’ of the automotive industry — the leading thinkers, movers and shakers — and this year will be no exception,” said Baron.

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Confirmed speakers thus far include: Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm; Fujio Cho, president and chief executive officer, Toyota Motor Corp.; John Devine, vice chairman and chief financial officer, General Motors; Allan Gilmour, vice chairman, Ford Motor Co.; Frank Horton, executive vice president, Magna International; Hidetoshi Imazu, senior vice president, Nissan Motor Co.; Tom LaSorda, chief operating officer, DaimlerChrysler Corp.; and Paul Wilbur, president and chief executive officer, ASC Inc.

A series of seminar presentations on Monday and Tuesday will highlight manufacturing strategies and technologies for global competitiveness; solutions to product-development challenges; Six Sigma; information technology; product life-cycle management; confronting the challenges of building a major manufacturing facility; and manufacturing competitiveness.

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Sessions on Wednesday through Friday will focus on surviving “The Perfect Storm”; collaboration and rules of engagement in the automotive industry; advanced power technology; and world-class purchasing.

According to conference planners at CAR, the Traverse City event traditionally provides participants with excellent learning opportunities, as well as the chance to network with their colleagues in various social and recreational activities. In recent years, the participant pool has included officials from business sectors that recently have begun to serve the automotive industry — including suppliers of electronics, computer technology, telematics and software.

“This is an excellent place to escape from the daily, crisis-oriented world of work and become re-energized to meet the emerging business challenges in one of the most competitive industries in the world,” said Cole.

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CAR’s mission is to assist the global automotive industry’s competitiveness and technological advancement by creating unbiased economic and systems modeling research development; developing new manufacturing methodologies; forecasting industry futures; advising on public policy; and conducting industry conferences and forums. The organization sustains strong working relationships with industry, government agencies, labor organizations and other major stakeholders of the international automotive community.

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