SAA conference to focus on survival in the auto industry

November 16, 2004

The Society of Automotive Analysts (SAA), will present its 17th annual Automotive Outlook Conference, January 11, 2005, in Detroit, Mich., in conjunction with the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). The conference theme is "Survival in the Auto Industry: What's It Going to Take?"

SAA President Craig Cather (CSM Worldwide) noted that "powerful market forces are squeezing the domestic auto industry: high costs and shortages of raw materials; huge legacy costs for healthcare and pensions; continuing loss of market share; OEMs' demands for lower prices from suppliers and expectations that they participate in warranty and product development costs; falling prices for used vehicles; competition from foreign automakers; and low-cost offshore suppliers—all while consumers expect greater quality, comfort, and safety, and Wall Street demands better stock performance from both OEMs and suppliers.

"A recent study noted that 20,000 of the 30,000 suppliers in business in 1990 had disappeared by 2000, another 2,000 have since gone by the wayside, and still another 4,000 suppliers will evaporate by 2010.

"And what about the domestic vehicle manufacturers? More new models from both domestic and offshore automakers are flooding the market, with offshore manufacturers moving aggressively into traditional domestic market strongholds and taking market share, Cather said."

Confirmed conference presenters include:

  • Kathleen Ligocki, president and CEO of Tower Automotive; former vice president at Ford Customer Service Division; Ford vice president of Strategy and Business Development, Canada and Mexico; and president and CEO of Ford Mexico.
  • Michael Bruynesteyn, senior vice president and senior autos and auto parts analyst at Prudential Equity Group, LLC; former head of General Motors' Investor Relations Worldwide.
  • John Henke, Jr. Ph.D., president of Planning Perspectives Inc., and professor of marketing in the School of Business Administration at Oakland University, Rochester, Mich.
  • Chief economists from the U.S. Big 3: Ellen Hughes-Cromwick, Ford Motor Co.; Mustafa Mohatarem, General Motors; and Van Jollisaint, DaimlerChrysler.

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