Chrysler, Nissan chiefs will address World Congress

Key facts
  • What: Automotive News World Congress

  • When: Jan. 14-17, 2002

  • Where: Hyatt Regency Dearborn, Dearborn, Mich.

  • Extras: Gala dinner Wednesday, Jan 16. Tour of the North American International Auto Show Thursday, Jan. 17

  • Cost: $1,195 early-bird registration before Dec. 1; daily fee, $695

  • Sponsors: Automotive News and PricewaterhouseCoopers in cooperation with ERIM Center for Automotive Research

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  • Two high-profile CEOs who were transplanted to lead turnarounds will address the 2002 Automotive News World Congress.

    Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan Motor Co., will speak after dinner on Jan. 15. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of the Chrysler group, will speak after dinner on Jan. 16.

    Ghosn came to Nissan from Renault SA in 1999, after Renault bought a 36.8 percent controlling stake in the ailing Japanese automaker, which was headed for a loss of $5.6 billion.

    By 2000, under Ghosn's revival plan, the company posted profits of $2.7 billion. Within a year, Ghosn boosted unit sales 4 percent and cut costs by 11 percent.

    Before joining Renault in 1996, the Brazilian-born Ghosn held several top positions with Michelin, including posts in North America and Latin America. He earned engineering degrees from the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole des Mines de Paris.

    Zetsche, who was appointed CEO of Chrysler group in November 2000, had the automaker moving toward a recovery by eliminating jobs, cutting costs and forcing suppliers to accept price cuts.

    But his aggressive marketing recovery plan, which included reducing prices on 2002 models and drastically reducing incentives, was damaged following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when Chrysler had to start 0 percent financing to match the competition. As a result, the recovery has been delayed.

    Zetsche, born in Istanbul, Turkey, received engineering degrees from the University of Karlsruhe and Paderborn Technical University.

    In 1976, he joined Daimler-Benz AG, where he held several key management positions at Mercedes-Benz and revived Freightliner Corp., DaimlerChrysler's heavy-truck subsidiary.

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