If more proof is necessary that the U.S. auto industry is back on its feet, it’s at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars.

The session rooms are full and the hallways are packed during breaks. Lisa Hart, CAR vice president-operations, estimates conference attendance is back to pre-recession levels with about 900 registrations.

NHTSA’s Killer App

Everybody knows what he means when Tim Johnson, director-crash avoidance and electronic controls research, National Highway Traffic Safety Admin., says the agency is searching for a special cell-phone-based application, one that can communicate with vehicle-crash-avoidance systems to prevent smash-ups with pedestrians and motorcycles.

Even so, the MBS audience here cringes when he says “We’re looking for a killer app…”

Flying His Colors

There are a few chuckles in the audience upon learning Bob Lee, vice president-engine and electrified propulsion engineering for Chrysler, has degrees from the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Ohio State University, all-around bitter rivals.

The first-time MBS speaker quickly shoots back with a short retort: “I usually win on Saturdays.”