Special Coverage

Management Briefing Seminars

TRAVERSE CITY, MI – The U.S. Council for Automotive Research, the Big Three’s collaborative research organization, continues to receive funding as scheduled, despite the auto makers’ current financial crunch, Executive Director Don Walkowicz tells Ward’s.

Here to address the Management Briefing Seminars, Walkowicz says, “All three recognize (the value) of working together in noncompetitive research and development areas.”

Following his speech, Walkowicz is asked whether membership in the organization might be expanded to include other auto makers and suppliers. He doesn’t specifically answer the question, but says USCAR already works closely with suppliers and government agencies in numerous areas, including development of side-impact crash dummies and fuel-economy research.

“One area we’re now working on is energy savings in manufacturing plants,” he says. “And we’re in the exploratory stages involving energy and CO2 (carbon dioxide) research.”

USCAR teamed in the early 1990s with the federal government to form the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles (PNGV), which was instrumental in developing technologies now appearing in hybrid-electric and fuel-cell vehicles.

Walkowicz says “it’s exciting to get some new thought leaders” at Ford Motor Co. (CEO Alan Mulally) and Chrysler LLC (CEO Robert Nardelli).

“What USCAR is trying to do is to be globally competitive through R&D,” he says.