Automotive Execs and Experts Discuss China - a report for 2013 Global Auto Experts & Executives Forum

( Contributed by Jim Cook ) On the eve of the North American International Automobile Show (NAIAS, better known as the Detroit Auto Show) over a hundred auto executives and experts attended a networking forum to build a bridge between USA and China in the automobile business. No wonder, China’s automotive production and sales exceed America’s by almost 50%. China has welcomed USA in its market and now China is beginning to look outward to the USA to cooperate further in sales, production, and product development. The forum embraced the idea that the promise and problems in the auto industry need cooperation, not just competition, to achieve prosperity.

The Tech Council International section of the Detroit Chinese Engineers Association (DCEA) hosted this Second Annual Global Automotive Experts and Executives Forum on January 13, 2013. This Sino-US event was co-organized by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade’s (CCPIT) Automotive Sub-Council and NetEase Automotive owner of Auto.163.com. Mr. Rod Alberts, Executive Director of NAIAS, gave the forum his blessing.

This year’s forum embraced a US-China dialogue unified by “Synergy: Propelling the Auto Industry into Prosperity.” The forum attracted over 100 participants including executives from Chinese and American OEMs, auto parts and components manufacturers, and from major financial and consulting institutions. Hot topics of interest were electric vehicles, unmanned vehicles, roadway congestion, communication between cars, and the future direction and strategies of US and China's auto collaboration.

The opening speech by Mr. Xia Wang, Chairman of CCPIT Automotive Committee, set the win-win tone for the Forum. After detailing the annual half trillion dollar stake in China-US automotive trade, Chairman Wang spoke candidly of challenges and opportunities. He emphasized China’s need for meeting global emission standards, developing a rural car in China, increasing clean energy deployment, and having mutually beneficial trade policies with the US. Mr. Wang reached out with, "Dialogue and communication will bring Chinese and American auto industry players to a common understanding and win-win cooperation."

Automotive luminary, Dr. David Cole, Chairman Emeritus of Center for Automotive Research (CAR, gave the keynote speech, “The Auto Future: Uncertainty Abounds!” Collaboration and removing boundaries is vital to solving automotive challenges of today to survive tomorrow. Even competitors like GM and Ford found they must collaborate as they’ve done on automatic transmissions development. And, the world’s changing so rapidly and unpredictably, that lean production is being replaced by agile production. Time is critical, yet the gap between knowing and applying is growing. All in all, Dr. Cole made the case for the conference compelling for the future of the automotive industry.

Zifeng Nie, Chairman of the Int'l Tech Council of the Detroit Chinese Engineers Association chaired the forum. Session leaders were: Jiaquan Chen and Fuchun Zhu (Global Strategy), Joe Zhou and Mike Wang (Brainstorming), Ning Zhang (Panel) and Coco Zhang (Networking). Non-Chinese guest speakers included: Mr Gareth Jolly, Executive Director of GM’s Global Manufacturing Engineering; Mr. Nand Kochhar, Ford Chief Engineer; Dr. Mustafa Mohantarem, GM Global Chief Economist; and Mr. Mike Thomas former Executive Director of Global Technical Strategy of Ford and CEO of Automotive Insight. Nancy Guo hosted the general procedure of the event as the MC.

Notable Chinese speakers included: Dr. Xiangdong Huang, Deputy GM of GAC & Chairman of GAC Research Institute, Dr. Jie Du, vice President of Analytics at Trilogy Automotive, Dr. Haimian Cai General Manager of Henglong USA Corporation and Senior VP of China Automotive Systems (NASDAQ: CAAS), Professor Shan Shih of the Automotive Research Institute at Lawrence Technological University, Dr. Jian Lin, Chrysler EV Specialist.

Global Automotive Forum briefings were conducted for the press by Mr. Zhanxiang Chai, Director, Convention & Exhibition Dept., CCPIT Automotive Sub-Council and Secretary General of Global Automotive Forum Organizing Committee.

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