Detroit 2.011 Autobeat Insider Conference addresses auto industry's new best practices

The past three years have transformed the global auto industry in ways that insiders know have redefined the “rules” for auto industry success. Today’s inaugural Autobeat Insider Conference, Detroit 2.011 at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan, focused on emerging best practices.

The goal of the fast-paced conference was to bring together many insiders from OEMs, tiered suppliers and auto industry analysts to reveal how the so-called best practices will change in the years ahead.

After a warm welcome from Bill Hampton, AutoBeat Group Publisher, the stage was set for a segment entitled, Crisis in Review by Kim Korth, President of IRN. For the record, this reporter found her assessment of past events and present data especially enlightening. She even mentioned that some view the data as half full, other as half empty, and some that no glass exists at all.

Most revealing was the direct relation between the housing market and the auto industry, which foretold events in a self-fulfilling prophecy; along with the fact that 70 percent of the economy is consumer spending which directly affects the auto industry.

Her firm specializes in strategic advisory services, research and automotive intelligence for middle-market manufacturers and the financial institutions that support them.

When I asked her privately about the ideal MPG for autos based on average affordability, she leaned toward the delta in cost between regular tech cars, hybrids and full EVs. The delta most acceptable is a $3K premium, but not the present $7-9K premium that includes government subsidies.

For the record, she was intrigued by my mention of the split-cycle engine technology; and thus exchanged cards for possible future communication.

Two separate panel sessions were next. The first was, Best Practices in a New World, where many of the industry‘s ‘best practices’ have been made obsolete; the second, The Auto Industry in 2020, where panelists offered their best guidance about how today‘s trends will reshape the industry for the next decade. Among the panelists were the following:

John Jones, Director, Talent and Rewards of Towers Watson who focuses on compensation, employee engagement and communications, and alignment of HR with the strategic objectives of the organization.

Aleksandra A. Miziolek, Director, Automotive Industry group for Dykema Gosset, where her practice focuses on acquisitions and mergers, corporate governance and SEC disclosure matters.

Fred J. Fresard, Member, Automotive Industry Group for Dykema Gossett. Fred focuses his practice on product liability other high-stakes litigation.

Neil De Koker, President and CEO, Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA), whose auto career spans 48 years, including 23 years at General Motors.

Steven E. Patton, Partner/Principal - Advisory Services, Ernst & Young LLP. Steve primarily focuses on supply chain and operational processes within manufacturing clients. He also serves as the North American automotive leader for Advisory Services.

David Royce, Vice President, Strategic Planning for TRW Automotive. He is responsible for the definition, implementation and ongoing management of global strategies for customers and marketing planning.

Luncheon was provided a special treat with A Reporter’s Perspective with Murray Feldman of Fox 2 News.

Finally, the keynote speaker was Jeffrey Hayzlett, former Chief Marketing Officer for Eastman Kodak Co., and author of The Mirror test: Is Your Business Really Breathing.

Torque News Assessment

Special thanks to Lisa Seidenberg of Greentarget, a PR firm for Dykema for the coordinating my invite. Dykema, as I understand it, is intimately involved in every aspect of automotive-related legal matters.

Also, thanks to Regan Byron of Ernst & Young for a quick news release that I will surely report on.

All in all, I appreciated attending the event; and Autobeat is to be commended for bringing it all together; and for choosing the Townsend Hotel.

AutoBeat Group, for the record, delivers short, relevant and insightful summaries of the day’s most important automotive business news. On-line subscription-only newsletters aim at the auto industry’s senior management, reaching 155,000 subscribers worldwide.

That fact I was there at all may have come as a surprise to some AutoBeat personnel. After all, the Detroit News was not there; and I am a competitor to some degree. Still, I respectfully suggest next year that questions come from the attendees as well as the master of ceremonies, as I did not get all my questions answered despite handing in my cards.

While everyone enjoyed the stories and book signing of Jeffrey Hayzlett, I dare that the insight from Kim Korth, President of IRN, Inc, was by far the most useful to me as both an investor and a writer. Frankly, when it came to technology imagery, the panel could have used some of my past articles for reference.

And that’s how I see some of these events. With all respect, many insiders still should know the technologies, but do not; like the modern engine modifications including the efficiencies of the split-cycle and external combustion engine. And I found that to be a bit disappointing.

Then again, this was an inaugural event. So, it will only get better as we go forward together.

About the Reporter: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks, futures and writes articles, books and ebooks like, "Perfecting Corporate Character," "Awaken Your Speculator Mind", and "Millennial World Order" via He may be contacted here by email: [email protected]

Additional Reading:
Scuderi says 50-plus mpg achievable with turbocharged split-cycle air-hybrid engine
GM ranks above in clean-energy patents
EPA sets milestone for alternate fuel industry with regulation amendments
Buick LaCrosse with eAssist on par with highway fuel economy of compacts
Scuderi Air-Hybrid Engine technology setting up to challenge electric hybrids
Cella Energy achievement may make hydrogen fill-up a reality
Stop-start technology to advance more micro hybrids by 2016
Four alternate engine technologies for 2011 and beyond

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