Special Coverage

Management Briefing Seminars

Code Red

Communicating new technologies to the outside world is problematic, because those in the know here generally speak only in shorthand.

Here are the abbreviations that appeared on slides during the CAR (Center for Automotive Research) MBS (Management Briefing Seminars) session on “Cooperating on the Connected Vehicle and Digital Highway” – not counting CEO, PhD or LLC, they include: ITS, VII, VIIC, DSRC, POC, MDOT, GPS, CICAS, VSC-A, CVTA, MEDC and CVPC.

GPS has entered the language and this event is in Michigan, so Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan Economic Development Corp. can be deduced. But what the deuce do the rest mean to those outside the industry?

Pickup Lines

Toyota Product Planning Manager Mike O’Brien says a team of Japanese engineers, designers and product planners accompanied their American counterparts on a road trip to research the fullsize pickup market. During their cross-country jaunt, the team visited campsites, conversed with long-haulers and frequented diners, where “they drank coffee (poured) by big-haired waitresses that called them ‘hon.’”

Geishas don’t have a monopoly on hospitality.

Mull-et This One Over…

While introducing Specialty Equipment Market Assn.’s John Waraniak, Brett Smith, assistant director, manufacturing, engineering and technology-Center for Automotive Research, tells attendees he’ll refrain from mentioning that Waraniak is one of two people in the auto industry to sport a mullet. Smith also jokes he won’t name the other auto insider who wears the outdated style. (Answer: Ford’s Mark Fields).

Take This Show on the Road

Time to take the Management Briefing Seminars, or something like it, to Washington? Sandy Ring, attorney with Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn, thinks so.

“This type of event, which is not technical in nature but looks at the issues from a 35,000-ft. view, would be a great education for Congressional members and their staff,” he tells attendees. “It would help them in their understanding of how the auto industry impacts the economy.”

Interior View

Lots of Chrysler people had work experience in Germany during the DaimlerChrysler years, but the auto makers’ recent divorce will reduce the flow of stylish European ideas to Auburn Hills (MI), warns Ralph Gilles, vice-president for Jeep/truck and advance interior design.

While there are no plans on the books, Gilles says it would be a good idea for Chrysler to open a design studio in Europe.