Autos Up North

Gary S. Vasilash

If it is early August, then it is time for the annual Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, Michigan, time for John McElroy of “Autoline” and me to head north to do more listening than talking, then talking after all of our listening.

Continental turbocharger

One of the things we talk about is this, a turbocharger with an aluminum housing that Continental developed with BMW Group for a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder engine that is being initially used by MINI.

This year (it is worth noting that the event has taken place Up North—as those of us in southeastern Michigan so geographically chauvinistically put it—for 49 years) the topics included:

· Mapping the Pathway to World-Class Manufacturing

· Featherweight Competition: Agile, Light and Strong

· Connected and Automated Vehicles: Driving Forward Fast

· Advanced Powertrain

· Onwards and Upwards? The Sales Forecast

· Attracting and Retaining Talent in an Era of Changing Technology and Demographics

· Managing the Global Supply Chain and Logistics

· Automotive Strategy: Pathways to Prosperity

· Designing for Technology and the Customer

· Global Opportunities, Global Decisions, Final Outcomes

· Purchasing and Automaker/Supplier Relations in Today’s Automotive Industry

Given all that, you can well imagine why John and I have been attending the event for a non-trivial number of years (although not 49).

As we were there, and as there were a number of interesting, informed, and influential people on the scene, we decided to do an “Autoline After Hours” in the sunshine.

We sat down with:

· Chuhee Lee, Deputy Director, Volkswagen Electronics Research Lab, VW Group of America

· Han Hendricks, vice president, Advanced Product Development & Sales, Johnson Controls

· Dr. Mark White, Chief Engineer, Body Complete Business Unit, Jaguar Land Rover

· Kregg Wiggins, senior vice president, Powertrains, Continental

· Prof. Frank Zhao, PhD, Director, TASRI (Tsinghua Automotive Strategy Research Institute)

So we talked telematics and autonomy. Car sharing and self-cleaning interior surfaces. Aluminum and other body materials. Turbochargers and dual-clutch transmissions. The China Market—and the various Chinese markets.

It’s a great way to come up to speed on a great deal that’s going on in the auto industry—all in just an hour.