Leaders of three foreign-owned plants in the midst of major expansions will address the Automotive News Manufacturing Conference in June. The conference theme is "The Art of the Flexible: Production Strategies in Turbulent Times."
Josef Kerscher, president of BMW's Spartanburg, S.C., plant; Chuck Ernst, senior vice president and manager of Honda's Lincoln, Ala., plant; and Bill Taylor, who spent a decade as CEO of Mercedes-Benz's Vance, Ala., plant, will speak June 9 in Birmingham, Ala.
Kerscher oversees the Spartanburg complex, which is undergoing a $750 million expansion to increase capacity to 240,000 units from 160,000 by 2012. BMW will launch the redesigned X3 crossover on a new line next year.
Ernst is preparing to launch Accord V-6 production at Honda's highly flexible Lincoln plant, which already builds three light-truck models on three platforms.
Mercedes is spending $290 million to expand the Vance body shop.
Taylor worked for Ford and Toyota before joining Mercedes in 1993 as vice president of manufacturing at the company's fledgling Alabama venture. In 1999, he became CEO of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, a post he held until he retired last month.
Executives from Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Ford and Nissan also are scheduled to speak. Gary Cowger, General Motors' top global manufacturing executive, and his counterpart at Ford Motor Co., Joe Hinrichs, will speak at a dinner June 9.