This year's Auto-Tech conference promises a lineup of speakers that has never been seen at the niche conference before.

Put on by the Automotive Industry Action Group, Auto-Tech will have General Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner kick off the 3-day event with a speech on the morning of Aug. 31, while Ford Motor Co. President Nick Scheele speaks at an awards dinner that night.

The Big Three purchasing chiefs, Thomas Sidlik of DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford's Tony Brown and GM's Bo Andersson, will sit together for a panel discussion — and field questions from the audience — on Sept. 1. DaimlerChrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche will speak at a luncheon that day as well.

So is AIAG trying to position Auto-Tech as the premier automotive supplier conference in Detroit and steal thunder from the annual Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress?

AIAG Executive Director Andrew Cummins says he'd like Auto-Tech to be the major show in Detroit, but concedes, “I don't want it to get too big.”

Cummins says he likes the “personal feel” of Auto-Tech vs. the larger World Congress, which moves to April in 2005.

Cummins says he still wants the focus of Auto-Tech to be supply-chain management and the sharing of technology standards and processes. This year's event runs from Aug. 31-Sept. 2 at Detroit's Cobo Center.