NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Bucking industry trends. Changing supplier relations. Human resource issues. The impending computer crisis.
Those issues will provide the atmosphere at next week's Automotive News Southeast Conference in Nashville, Sunday through Tuesday, April 26-28.
More than a dozen top auto industry executives and observers, representing one of the industry's fastest-growing corridors, will discuss the industry's current condition and its future.
The gathering occurs at a critical juncture for the Amer-ican auto industry. Significant changes are coming from several directions - in retailing, manufacturing, product development, technology and people skills.
Among the discussions on tap:
A panel of top purchasing executives from the area's auto manufacturers will look at automaker-supplier relations at the decade's end. The Southeast has been a major U.S. growth market for suppliers for 15 years, and the automakers operating there have been in the forefront of new approaches to supply-chain management.
Speakers will discuss the 2000 computer crisis, which the industry is scrambling to avoid. Economists are warning that the simple computer software problem of rolling over from 1999 to 2000 will cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars in disrupted commerce.
Top executives from Saturn Corp., Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc., Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corp. U.S.A., Mercedes-Benz U.S. International Inc., BMW AG and Robert Bosch Corp. will discuss the region's growth opportunities and challenges for the coming years.
The conference kicks off Sunday night, April 26, with a reception and dinner - with keynote speeches from Jerry Benefield, president of Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corp. U.S.A., and Robert Oswald, chairman of the Robert Bosch Corp. Automotive Group.
Tuesday night, a gala dinner includes speeches by Helmut Panke, member of the board of management of BMW AG in Munich, and Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist, followed by a performance by country music star Jo Dee Messina.