LIASE Group MD Americas and Board Member John Bukowicz and LIASE Group MD Asia and Board Member Vanessa Moriel joined more than 1,200 automotive executives and industry leaders at the 39th annual Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. The Congress provided the LIASE Group with a fantastic platform to gain wider recognition as a provider of talent and pipeline management, succession planning and executive search for the automotive industry.
LIASE Group was proud to sponsor the 39th annual Automotive News World Congress taking place January 13 and 14, 2015. Taking place just as the North American International Automotive Show was taking off in Detroit, this year’s Congress revolved around the theme of “Setting the Pace in a Thriving Market,” and included special sessions on Vehicle Innovation and Retail Marketing. The sold-out event allowed more than 1200 industry leaders to network and discuss the latest automotive trends. With a speaker’s list that read like a who’s who of the automotive world in North America, the Congress provided the LIASE Group with a fantastic platform to gain wider recognition as a provider of talent and pipeline management, succession planning and executive search for the automotive industry.
“Because the LIASE Group is exclusively focused on talent and pipeline management, succession planning and executive search for the automotive industry, we are able to attend these industry events on a regular basis and understand the trends, opportunities and challenges that are driving the automotive world,“ said LIASE Group MD Americas and Board Member John Bukowicz. “LIASE Group can draw upon a global pool of consultants with profound automotive industry expertise. Our consultants come face-to-face with automotive executives who share their thoughts and expertise with us on a daily basis. We are part of the automotive industry. That is why we are able to provide personalized services that leverages our long-term networks to anticipate potential growth and opportunities.”
Executives gathered at the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit on the first day of the Automotive News World Congress included: Luca de Meo, Member of the Board of Management, Sales & Marketing, Audi AG; Bernhard Maier, Executive Board Member for Sales & Marketing, Porsche AG; Scott Painter, Founder & CEO, TrueCar; Ian Robertson, Member of the Board, Sales & Marketing, BMW AG; Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla Motors; and Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.
Luca de Meo, Audi’s Sales and Marketing Board Member, said the German automaker was about to introduce a program called the Audi Virtual Reality Experience. This innovative sales device will give dealers a chance to demonstrate cars to customers using VR headsets, allowing buyers to configure their cars to their preferred specifications.
Ian Robertson, Member of the Board, Sales & Marketing, BMW AG, discussed BMW’s efforts with smart mobility. Robertson argued that macro trends having to do with urbanization, the environment, connectivity, and customer culture are transforming the automotive industry. As such, BMW has been working on a number of initiatives to increase the efficiency of personal transport, including: BMW Connected Drive, alternative drive trains, charging infrastructure, new mobility services, highly automated driving, and digitalization/IoT.
Elon Musk, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Motors, made waves at the Congress as he urged the assembled automotive executives to look past dropping oil prices to invest in electric cars. Musk also discussed future sales growth and profitability, revealing that the company would probably become profitable by 2020. He avoided answering directly how many cars Tesla had actually sold last year, saying that the company had greatly surpassed its target of 33,000 units in 2014. Tesla’s CEO hopes to compete with major international OEMs in terms of units sold within 10 years. Musk’s address to the Congress was recorded and can be seen here.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne was the final guest to take the stand on the first night of the Congress. Marchionne said that further mergers in the industry were inevitable in light of present capitalisation rates. Fiat Chrysler’s CEO also reaffirmed his dedication to the Alfa Romeo brand which FCA resurrected with a $6 billion effort.
The second and final day of the Congress was even more packed than the first as top automotive speakers took to the stage one after the other. The January 14 line-up included: Joe Hinrichs, Executive Vice President and President, The Americas, Ford Motor Company; Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management, Mercedes-Benz Cars Marketing & Sales, Daimler AG; Joe Eberhardt, President & CEO, Jaguar Land Rover North America; Steve Kiefer, Vice President, Global Purchasing & Supply Chain, General Motors; Chris Urmson, Director, Self-Driving Cars, Google [x]; John Murphy, Research Analyst, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Wolf-Henning Scheider, Member of the Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH; Reid Bigland, Senior Vice President – U.S. Sales, FCA North America, Chairman, President and CEO, Chrysler Canada Inc., Head of Alfa Romeo Brand, FCA North America; and Mary Barra, CEO, General Motors.
The newest Member of the Board of Management for Daimler AG, Ola Källenius, talked about the power of the Mercedes brand as well as efforts in retail and customer services made by Mercedes in the U.S. Källenius, who is Head of Global Marketing and Sales for Daimler cars said that mobile tech is allowing the company to improve service time at various dealerships. Mercedes-Benz USA made a lot of efforts to train what it calls “product concierges” in the past year, allowing them to raise awareness of Mercedes products across the market. Mercedes USA has also made use of digital tools to provide more individualized customer services that are tailored to the customers’ requirements. Finally, Källenius said that Mercedes me will launch in the U.S. in 2015.
Steve Kiefer, who left Delphi Automotive 16 months ago to take charge of GM’s powertrain operations and was appointed General Motors’ Head of Purchasing and Supply in November 2014 focused on supplier relations during his presentation. He argued that leaving suppliers with a comfortable margin allowed them to remain stable, which is a gain for GM over the long run. According to Kiefer, GM will lower costs by better aligning sales forecasts with purchasing decisions, allowing for better supplier capacity utilisation. He has also been pushing new tools to provide suppliers with a greater voice in GM’s global organization. Kiefer’s goal is to improve GM’s relations with suppliers through better transparency and by taking advantage of his company’s scale to award large global contracts.
Google’s Chris Urmson, Director for the autonomous driving project, said that the company is working with global suppliers to build a working prototype that it will begin testing in California this year. According to Urmson, Google aims commercialize its self-driving car around 2020. It has already begun talks with partners and suppliers to build complete vehicles into the marketplace. Suppliers named by Urmson included Bosch, which supplies power electronics and long-range radar; ZF Lenksysteme, which supplies a new steering gear; LG Electronics, which supplies the batteries; plus Continental and Roush. Urmson disclosed that Google had independently developed its own lidar sensors, which he claims are smaller and more effective than competing models. Urmson further discussed Google plans to commercialize its vehicle through the use of shared cars which could be summoned with a smartphone.
John Murphy, lead U.S. auto analyst in equity research with Bank of America Merrill Lynch warned the assembled automotive executives that while automotive sales are expected to rise for the next few years in the U.S., there will eventually be a downturn in the market. Murphy expects the market to peak in 2018 at around 20 million units, after which time he predicts a downturn. The Bank of America analyst based his predictions on the number of vehicles on the road that are 11 years and older, which is presently at record highs. Growing customer confidence as well as increased travel are also leading to higher automotive demand.
Mary Barra, General Motors first ever female CEO, was the last speaker at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress. Barra reflected on her first year at the helm of GM and the media reactions that surrounded her appointment. Barra noted that 6 of her company’s 25 corporate officers were women, proving that the automotive industry is much more progressive than usually assumed by the wider public.
The second day of the Congress also included 2 special sessions, the session on Vehicle Innovation saw: Swamy Kotagiri, Chief Technical Officer, Magna; Greg Ludokvsky, Vice President, Global Research and Development, ArcelorMittal; Phil Martens, President & CEO, Novelis; and Doug Patterson, Senior Vice President, Engibeering Division, Denson International America Inc., take the stage. The session on Retail Marketing included: Mike Accavitti, General Manager, Acura Division, American Honda Motor; Jared Rowe, President, AutoTrader.com; Raj Sundaram, Co-President, Dealertrack Technologies.
“Attending these types of events allows us to renew old relationships and meet the young executives who will lead the automotive industry in the future,” remarked LIASE Group Asia MD and Board Member Vanessa Moriel. “This year’s Automotive News World Congress really showed us that the future of the automotive industry lies in ongoing developments in autonomous driving, fuel efficiency, connectivity, sensors, telematics, and infotainment. To lead the way, OEMs and suppliers will need to develop strategies to identify, retain and attract visionary executives that understand the technology and can apply it to the realities of specific markets across the world.”
Recipients of the Polk Loyalty Awards were announced on the evening of the 13th. Ford won the award for Overall Loyalty to Manufacturer. The evening of the 14th saw FAC win the global OEM 3 year Automotive News/PwC Shareholder Value Award and the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation win the 1 year award. The conference ended with a tour of the North American International Auto Show on the morning of the 15th.
Human Capital Partners is a retained executive search consultancy & talent management consultancy that specializes in the global automotive sector. We place high quality candidates in CEO and top management positions through succession planning, market scanning and pipeline management to ensure a smooth transition for both our clients and candidates. Our passion for the automotive industry and our unique approach ensures that we fully understand your business. This results in any potential risks being mitigated or carefully managed which ultimately means successful placements and satisfied clients.
PR Contact: Vanessa Moriel, Managing Director Asia (Tel: +852 2840 0406)
rom left to right: LIASE Group MD Americas and Board Member John Bukowicz; LIASE Group Asia MD and Board Member Vanessa Moriel; Automotive News Editor-in-Chief Keith Crain; and, and LIASE Non-Executive Board Member Vic Doolan. LIASE Group was proud to sponsor this year’s Automotive News World Congress.
Luca de Meo, Member of the Board of Management, Sales & Marketing, Audi AG, at the Automotive News World Congress.
Porsche Executive Board Member for Sales & Marketing, Mr. Bernhard Maier,
at the Automotive News World Congress.
Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management for Daimler AG, Head of Global Marketing and Sales for Daimler Cars , also discussed the Mercedes F015 Concept Car. Fully designed with autonomous driving in mind, the F015 represents Mercedes’ vision for luxury driving in the age of self-driving cars.
Ian Robertson, Member of the Board, Sales & Marketing, BMW AG, unveiled upgrade to its 6 series models at the NAIAS.
Ian Robertson, Member of the Board, Sales & Marketing, BMW AG, discussed how BMW has been working on a number of initiatives to increase the efficiency of personal transport, including: BMW Connected Drive, alternative drive trains, charging infrastructure, new mobility services, highly automated driving, and digitalization/IoT.
Elon Musk speaking at the Automotive News World Congress. Musk urged industry leaders to do more to advance the development of the electric car.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne (left), talked about the high number of recalls in the U.S. automotive market in 2014. He believes that the recalls were in part caused by a shift in attitudes between regulators and the industry.
Joe Hinrichs, Executive Vice President and President, The Americas, Ford Motor Company, talked about the lessons learned from its badly received touch screens. Hinrichs said the company wouldn’t make the same mistakes with its Sync 3 product which will replace MyFord Touch sometimes in 2016. Ford has received mostly positive early reviews for its latest infotainment system.
Wolf-Henning Scheider, Member of the Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH, discussed how the world’s largest automotive supplier is getting developing the technology for autonomous driving on the highway.
General Motors’ Head of Purchasing and Supply Steve Kiefer focused on supplier relations. He argued that leaving suppliers with a comfortable margin allowed them to remain stable, which is a gain for GM over the long run.
GM CEO Marry Barra discussed her first year as CEO with Automotive News Editor-in-Chief Keith Crain.
General Motors CEO Mary Barra, at the recent Automotive News World Congress, said the company doesn’t miss any of the brands that were discontinued during the company’s 2008-09 bankruptcy and restructuring — Saturn, Saab, Hummer and Pontiac.
The session on Vehicle Innovation included (left to right): (1) Doug Patterson, Senior Vice President, Engineering Division, Denso International America Inc.; (2) Phil Martens, President & CEO, Novelis; (3) Greg Ludokvsky, Vice President, Global Research and Development, ArcelorMittal; (4)Swamy Kotagiri, Chief Technical Officer, Magna; (5) J Ferron, Director, Strategic Development, Crain Communications.
John Bukowicz (Left), 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay (Middle), and Vanessa Moriel (right). Ryan Hunter-Reay was awarded the “BabyBorg” at the Automotive News World Congress for his achievements on the track. The BorgWarner Championship Driver’s Trophy is awarded each year to the winner of the Indianapolis 500.