ANN ARBOR — The future of automotive manufacturing — the nation’s economic engine — will be the leadoff topic of the 2012 Center for Automotive Research Management Briefing Seminars.

The premier management conference of the North American automotive industry will take place Aug. 6-9 in Traverse City, and will feature energized and informed discussions on the industry’s most critical issues and emerging trends.

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Executives from the auto industry’s leading automakers and suppliers will kick off the 2012 CAR Management Briefing Seminars in two sessions designed to identify the key strategies and technologies that will drive the future of auto manufacturing.

Confirmed speakers for the two sessions include executives from some of the world’s leading manufacturers:

Global Manufacturing Strategies
* John Fleming, executive vice president, global manufacturing and labor affairs, Ford Motor Co.
* Hidetoshi Imazu, executive vice president, manufacturing and supply chain management, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.
* Eric Stevens, vice president of global manufacturing engineering, General Motors Co.
* Don Jackson, president of manufacturing, Volkswagen Chattanooga Operations, LLC
* Brian Harlow, vice president and head of NAFTA powertrain operations and global powertrain manufacturing engineering, Chrysler Group LLC
* Lary Jutte, president & COO, Ernie Green Industries Inc.
* Guy Morgan , managing director and global operations advisory group lead, BBK

Tooling Up for Tomorrow’s Automobiles
* Craig Parsons, vice president of sales and business development, Gestamp North America Inc.
* Manfred Sindel, quality manager, Audi AG
* Tim McCaughey, president and CEO, Schuler Inc.
* Dave Coleman , vehicle development engineer, Mazda North American Operations
* James Morgan, director, Global Body Exterior & SBU Engineering, Ford Motor Co.

CAR president and CEO Jay Baron will chair both sessions and Greg Schroeder, research analyst at the manufacturing, engineering technology group of CAR, will co-chair the tooling session.

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“Today’s extraordinary automotive achievements are enabled by a global footprint and cutting-edge technology,” said Baron. “These sessions will highlight many of today’s advances in manufacturing systems and technologies synonymous with world class manufacturing.”

Speakers from the Monday “Global Manufacturing Strategies” session will discuss global practices, technologies and strategies that provide a competitive edge in today’s global automotive industry. Later that day, “Tooling Up for Tomorrow’s Automobiles” session speakers will present innovative tooling technologies and materials that aim to advance fuel economy, vehicle safety and overall performance. Both manufacturing sessions are sponsored by Plex Systems.

The CAR Management Briefing Seminars is an annual gathering of more than 900 auto industry, academic and government leaders addressing critical issues and emerging trends in an atmosphere designed to build relationships. In addition to the sessions on manufacturing, the event includes targeted sessions focusing on topics such as  connected vehicles, advanced powertrain, purchasing, sales, skilled workers, designing for technology, and benchmarking.

Two sessions on “Leveraging Leadership, Maximizing Momentum” will also be featured on Wednesday, Aug. 8, and Thursday, Aug. 9. Co-chaired by Baron and Sean McAlinden, CAR executive vice president of research and chief economist, these sessions will highlight the future challenges and expectations of auto companies at the forefront of the global, complex automotive industry. Governor Rick Snyder , State of Michigan, and Governor Bill Haslam , State of Tennessee, will speak Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Additional speakers for Wednesday’s session include: Jim Lentz, president and CEO, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.; Jan Kowal, president, Brose North America Inc.; and Erik Berkman, president, Honda R&D Americas, Inc. Thursday’s session includes: Carla Bailo, senior vice president for research and development, Nissan Americas; Alicia Boler Davis, vice president of global quality and U.S. customer experience, General Motors; and Werner Struth , chairman, president & CEO, Robert Bosch LLC, and member, Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH; and David E. Cole, chairman emeritus, Center for Automotive Research.

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The 2012 CAR Management Briefing Seminars take place at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, near Traverse City. For detailed information, visit the event’s Web site, Follow the MBS conversation on Twitter  (#MBS2012) for the latest updates.