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OEM Report: Automotive

Global strategies

By Russ Olexa

March 2009 - If product enthusiasm could sell cars by itself, the speakers at the Automotive News World Congressthis January in Detroit would've sold a million of them. News of new cars and unique drive trains to combat $4-per-gallon gas prices was prevalent throughout the automakers' presentations.

Speakers from Ford, GM, Chrysler, Mazda, Hyundai and Toyota talked about how their products will excite consumers and give them the fuel economy they're demanding. But the audience of suppliers, automakers and journalists didn't ask how the automotive OEMs would survive to get these cars into consumers' hands.

Turbo-charging consumer interest
One of the topics Jim Farley, group vice president of marketing and communications at Ford, brought up was the company's new EcoBoost drive trains that marry a small engine with turbo-charged boosting, allowing them the same horsepower but with a smaller, lighter and more fuel-efficient power package. For instance, a six-cylinder, turbo-boosted engine would replace an eight-cylinder. This is just one way Ford plans to get higher fuel economy in its vehicles. GM also noted that it will have these types of drive trains in the near future.

Innovation to create real-world value was the presentation from Delphi Corp.'s Innovation & Technology Office by Dr. Andrew Brown, Jr., executive director and chief technologist. Delphi is one of the largest Tier 1 automotive suppliers with a broad list of products. Brown says innovation is the creation and delivery of new customer value in the marketplace, and it's an ever-evolving process that has enterprisewide responsibilities as a creative process. It must include all business functions to be successful. He also said technological advancement is fundamental to a successful company and innovation is the differentiator. Invention alone is not enough. Innovation also creates value, and it transforms knowledge and technologies to drive productivity and new growth.

Mega-insight
Brown noted that there are three global mega-trends all automakers must be aware of and address with their products. The first is natural population growth--people living longer and wanting greater security. This translates to safer and less expensive cars to meet world demand. Another mega-trend is globalization and an increased awareness of the environment (cars that are easily recycled and designed for the world, not just for one area such as the United States). The third mega-trend is technological awareness, such as the increase in the wireless community and more connectivity among people and devices, including their cars.

Dave Breen, U.S. automotive sector leader and managing partner of greater Michigan for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, forecasted that global light truck and vehicle assembly would dramatically drop in 2009 to approximately 60 million units worldwide from an original forecast of 75 million units. The North American forecast is roughly 10.5 million units, down from an original forecast of 15.5 million.

There were 29 speakers at this year's event and several of them were from large suppliers to the automakers, such as Delphi and Magna International Inc.. The news about new products was upbeat, but the economic news wasn't. FFJ

Sources

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Company Profiles

AIR FILTRATION

IRONWORKERS

NESTING SOFTWARE

SERVICE CENTERS

Camfil APC - Equipment Trilogy Machinery Inc. Metamation Inc. Admiral Steel
Camfil APC - Replacement Filters

LASER TECHNOLOGY

PLASMA TECHNOLOGY

Alliance Steel
Donaldson Company Inc. AMADA AMERICA, INC. Messer Cutting Systems Inc.

SOFTWARE

BENDING/FOLDING

Mazak Optonics Corp.

PLATE

Enmark Systems Inc.
MetalForming Inc. MC Machinery Systems Inc. Peddinghaus Lantek Systems Inc.
RAS Systems LLC Murata Machinery, USA, Inc.

PLATE & ANGLE ROLLS

SecturaSOFT

BEVELING

TRUMPF Inc. Davi Inc. SigmaTEK Systems LLC
Steelmax Tools LLC

LINEAR POSITION SENSORS

Trilogy Machinery Inc. Striker Systems

COIL PROCESSING

MTS Sensors

PRESS BRAKE TOOLING

STAMPING/PRESSES

Bradbury Group

MATERIAL HANDLING

Mate Precision Tooling AIDA-America Corp.
Burghardt + Schmidt Group Fehr Warehouse Solutions Inc. Rolleri USA

STEEL

Butech Bliss UFP Industrial

PRESS BRAKES

Alliance Steel
Red Bud Industries

MEASUREMENT & QUALITY CONTROL

AMADA AMERICA, INC.

TUBE & PIPE

Tishken Advanced Gauging Technologies Automec Inc. BLM Group

CONVEYOR SYSTEMS

METAL FABRICATION MACHINERY

MC Machinery Systems Inc. Prudential Stainless & Alloys
Mayfran International Cincinnati Inc. SafanDarley

WATERJET

DEBURRING/FINISHING

LVD Strippit

PUNCHING

Barton International
ATI Industrial Automation Scotchman Industries Inc. Hougen Manufacturing Flow International Corporation
Lissmac Corp. Trilogy Machinery Inc.

SAWING

Jet Edge Waterjet Systems
Osborn

METAL FORMING

Behringer Saws Inc. Omax Corp.
SuperMax Tools FAGOR Arrasate USA Inc. Cosen Saws

WELDING

Timesavers MetalForming Inc. DoALL Sawing American Weldquip

HYDRAULIC PRESSES

MICROFINISHING TOOLS

HE&M Saw Strong Hand Tools
Beckwood Press Co. Titan Tool Supply Inc. Savage Saws T. J. Snow Company
Triform

 

 

 


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