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What are you looking forward to seeing at the 2009 NAIAS?

Concept vehicles
Production models
Hybrid vehicles
Alternative energy vehicles

 

New Vehicles and Future Strategies highlighed at 2009 Automotive News World Congress

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Frank Klegon of Chrysler, John Krafcik of Hyundai Motors America, Jon Lauckner of General Motors, Ted Robertson of Magna International, Barb Samardzich of Ford Motor Company and Peter Brown of Automotive News.

by Garrett Godwin
ggodwin82@yahoo.com

 

DETROIT -- Monday was a day of several: the day in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.; the eve of the historic inauguration of the first ever African American President of the United States, Barack Obama. But Monday was also the start of the Automotive News World Congress at the Marriott Renaissance Center, where this is going to be "A World of Opportunity: Global Strategies for Challenging Times".

"Since the last World Congress, stated Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Keith Crain, "we have witnessed the most revolutionary times our industry has ever seen. Our Detroit automakers hit the credit wall and were forced to bare their souls to Washington. ... Now more than ever, we need to communicate and refocus."

The three-day event opened with representatives from Raytheon Professional Services (RPS - www.rps.com), a global leader in learning services and outsourcing. Their platform, "Ensuring the Performance of Dealer Benefits in a Changing Global Automotive Industry", was divided into three sections: framing the global challenges and evolution of the automotive industry in regards to the dealer network performance, addressing these challenges in the context of Russia, China, and the U.S., and summarizing challeneges, global solutions, and best practices.

Some of the challenges for the U.S. they stated included market consolidation, new technologies, and dealer performance, and solutions included learning techinques. "Automotive manufacturers need global solutions driving measurable results to ensure the consistent performance of evolving dealer networks," they concluded.

Heidi Browning was definitely pumped as much as the rest of the world when Barack Obama made history as being the 44th as well as the first-ever African American President of the United States, and how he plans to change the world. But she was also pumped up on how the market's going to be changed during day twoof the Automotive News World Congress. Browning, the Senior VP, insight and planning for MySpace, was one of the speakers on the "New Media and Marketing Panel".

Self-expression, discovery, and communication: those are the three platforms Browning stated that the social networking site is based on. Everyone wants to be discovered; they want "their 15 gigabytes of fame". "They want the opportunity to share. [These platforms] Gives you the opportunity to create relationships with brands and customers." Most of all, Browning continued, develop a friendship -- because though advertising has value still, friend recommendation has three times the value.

Research included that social networks say that 46% stay on top of friends, while 40% discover brands and products they like. A brand, Browning define, is what people say, feel, or think about your company. So, why are brands are friends? Twenty-nine percent is due to notice of events, sales, or exclusive offers, while 28% is due to friend recommendation, and 11% want to support them. The brand advocates are the core of influence, ideas, and much more, she responds.

The new rules of engagement is to engage, activate, and learn. Social media is not a tactic but a strategy that connects with your brand, advertising, consumers, etc., said Browning. "This is where you share your message, where people are able to communicate."

It is day three of the 2009 Automotive News World Congress at the Marriott Renassiance Center, as representatives from two of the Big Three/possible Detroit two were several of the speakers for Wednesday's forum "Global Product Development for the North American Market", in which they talked about what the recent crisis means to their automotive companies, and their solutions on handling it.

Though Chrysler has been called in a recent Detroit Economic Club as "the weakest link" out of the Big Three, Frank Klegon stated one of the global roles of product development are alliances and partnerships, such as establishing joint ventures with others. Chrysler may be down, but not out. Chrysler today, said the Executive VP of Product Development is agile and is committed to great product as well as great and social responsibility. General Motors is known to have a system of making cars successfully, and that is because one of the global product development benefits is having significantly reduced development and investment costs and stronger collaboration. "The total is truly greater than the sum of the parts" said VP of Programing Management Jon Lauckner. "It's frankly been a top to bottom transformation".

Yet, what about Hyundai and what's different and unique about it? Though small here in the states, it's already in the Top Five internationally -- outselling Nissan. So, what's their secret? Well, according to Acting President and CEO John Krafcik, it's based on three key factors: being hands-on, listening humbly to the customers that includes assurance, and getting things done at a HyundaiSpeed. "Never let a serious crisis go to waste," he quoted "It is becoming very personal to America. Consumers felt we heard their concerns".

Ted Robertson of Magna International Inc. is the Chief Techincal Officer & Executive VP of New Product Creation; his platform was based on transforming the auto industry, in which there are opportunities in all areas as well as having a full vehicle experience -- and that takes time. "It takes two product cycles to become competent," he said. In other words, to learn and to be fully efficient.

And as for Ford Motor Company, it's still the same. "We didn't really change our priority," responded Barb Samardzich (VP - Global Powertrain Engineering), who also responded that it includes increasing development of new products our customers want and value and financing their plan and improving their balance sheet. The principals Ford based themselves, Samardzich answered, are customer-driven, market-driven, and environmentally-driven, and an vision must be sustainable. There are three terms she predicts are like parts of a story: near-term (now until 2012, in which migration starts to advanced technology), mid-term (2012-2020; full implementation of known technology), and long-term (2020-2030; volume roll-out of hybrid technologies and alternative energy sources) -- a beginning, middle, and an end. "It's taken a long view, not a short view," she said. "Above all, maintain an unrelenting focus on customer needs and preferences".

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Peter Brown is the Editorial Director and Associate Publisher of Automotive News.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Frank Klegon is the Executive Vice President of Product Development for Chrysler LLC.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

This map shows the partnerships and alliances that Chrysler has with Nissan, Volkswagen and most-recently Fiat.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Klegon addresses the Automotive News World Congress.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

John Krafcik is the CEO and President of Hyundai Motor America.

 

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This page was last updated on Sun, January 25, 2009 0:49 AM

 

 

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