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Local News / Automotive

Friday, 22 February, 2013 5:06 PM

The automotive industry has turned a corner, panelists agree

PHOTO BY JEROME RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Panelists at the SAE Detroit Section's "State of the Industry" meeting on Feb. 20, 2013.

 

by Gloria Rzucidlo
gloria1025@yahoo.com

 

 

|

TROY, Mich. -- The SAE Detroit Section hosted its largest meeting of the year, known as the State of the Industry, at the San Marino Club in Troy, Mich. on Thursday night. Three of the four speakers said the automotive industry is growing and profitable, while the other discussed slightly lower engineering employment statistics.

"I don't want to talk about the state of the industry, but the state of engineering," said Andrew Smart, SAE National Director and Industry Program. "Engineering employment declined 0.3 percent in southeast Michigan. Engineering employment in 2012 was 74,200. The demand for mechanical engineers is three times that of the next highest advanced manufacturing occupation. There is 94 percent male and six percent female. For mechanical engineers, Detroit presents the most difficult recruiting condition scoring a 93. There is some good news here, Las Vegas has the best hiring conditions for engineers. Today American students score 23rd in math and 31st in science compared with 65 other top industrial countries."

Michigan is home of 375 automotive research and development (R&D) centers. One hundred twenty of which are foreign owned. Silicon Valley is home to a growing number of automotive R&D centers. Industry has changed, products has changed, geography has changed, drivers has changed, skill set needs has changed, job market has changed, career paths has changed, regulations has changed.

"What was life like in this room four years ago?" said Jason Stein, Associate Publisher & Editor of Automotive News. "It was dramatically different. Look at where we are now. We are in the world's hottest automotive market. Ford is offering more economical engines in the nation. The industry is in a great place. Big bonus checks along with new currency. Sales are up. Some brands dominated in 2012. The Ford Focus and GM has the third best selling Sonic, and Camry has 100,000 units in 2012. The industry is bubbling again. Japan is back. Japanese is desperate for more capacity. Dealers are making money and the economy is moving in the right direction."

Eric Fedews, Director Global Powertrain and Components Forecast, IHS Automotive, says currency is working in our favor. There is a big push to look at North American for auto parts. We are building more vehicles. But globally we are producing that 100 million union mark. We are gong to see lots and lots or growth in Europe. A lot of dynamics is gonna change in the automotive industry in the next five years. Five hundred million vehicles are needed by 2030. Big change is coming.

For example, the Hyundai HCD-14 had four displays in the vehicle. No touching of any buttons. It is gesture controlled...a buttonless vehicle. There is an explosion of infotainment. Technology to solve problems created by technology (driver distraction). Active driver assist assists in driver accident prevention. Sensor-based driving for the accident-based car. Global fuel economy will affect efficiency and emissions. There are 500 plus launch events to refresh vehicles.
Gloria

Dave Andrea, Senior Vice President Industry Analysis and Economics, OESA, stated that the customers are in good shape. "The OEMs are in good shape and the suppliers are in good shape. It is a sellers market for engineers and skilled trades. Yes we are having trouble finding qualified available candidates. Finding personnel, the questions are: salary expectation, career outlook and location. There are other game changers such as political willingness to discuss new forms of road infrastructure funding and recapitalization of GM and Chrysler supplies post bankruptcy. The industry is fraught with risk. Industry has more opportunity and options than ever before. Remember it's all about the journey."

Finally, there was a question-and-answer session for the panel.

Jeremy Goddard, 2013 Chair, SAE Detroit Section, thanked Core Technologies for sponsoring the social hour. He welcomed everyone to the event. "Your support thrives this organization" while mentioning the upcoming events. SAE brings many benefits to you and your organization. SAE is all about connections. Being a company ambassador keeps our company up to date and acts as your company's point of contact. You stay informed of your company's SAE involvement.

The next SAE Detroit Section meeting will feature the Toyota Avalon on Tuesday, March 19 at the Burton Manor in Livonia, Mich. For more information or to purchase your tickets, visit www.sae-detroit.org.

Related Story: 2013 Ford Fusion revealed at SAE Detroit Section meeting

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

All of the speakers posed for a group photo before the start of the meeting.

 

PHOTO BY JEROME RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Jeremy Goddard, 2013 SAE Detroit Section Chairman

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Andrew Smart, SAE National Director & Industry Program

 

PHOTO BY JEROME RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Jason Stein, Associate Publisher & Editor of Automotive News

 

PHOTO BY GLORIA RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Eric Fedews, Director Global Powertrain & Components Forecast for IHS Automotive

 

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