I Thee Wed

There are good suppliers and bad suppliers, Lyle J. Otremba, vice president, sales and program engineering, global sealing systems, Cooper-Standard Automotive, tells seminar attendees here.

Therefore, the same consideration should go into the selection process as is given to a partner in marriage.

“In our private lives, if we want to get married, we spend a little time doing some research on our spouse,” Otremba says. “Hopefully, you’ve done some good homework there.”

The same holds true when selecting a doctor or lawyer and should apply to business relationships, as well. “You certainly can do your research on your suppliers,” he says. “Unfortunately, some of the research doesn’t get done the way it should.”

Check Your PC at the Door

Not many attendees at the Management Briefing Seminars seem to favor a partnership between General Motors Corp., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. and Renault SA, a very unscientific opinion poll reveals.

One journalist says GM invited him to spend half an hour with Bob Lutz on a tour of the auto maker’s design studio in order to persuade him GM has what it takes to get out of its hole without Renault’s help.

Freudenberg-NOK CEO Mohsen Sohi says if he were on the GM board,

he’d tell management to focus on the turnaround plan and talk with Carlos

Ghosn later.

Dick Dauch, CEO, chairman and founder of American Axle and Mfg., is somewhat more blunt. “I can’t believe the garbage that’s going on now,” he says. “We don’t need to have the French owning America.”

The comment provoked spontaneous applause.

Dick Dauch-isms

American Axle & Mfg.’s Dick Dauch was on a roll Wednesday on stage at the Management Briefing Seminars. He seemed to have an opinion or witty words for every topic.

On the United Auto Workers Jobs Bank: “Paying people not to work? That’s not right.”

On AAM’s “adequate” profitability: “Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. I said ‘adequate.’”

On work ethic: “America has gotten lazy. It doesn’t want to do math. It wants to do basket-weaving or whatever.”

His Yogi Berra imitation: “If you do what you did, you’ll get what you got.”

Fields ‘No Protectionist’

John Mendel, senior vice president-automobile operations for American Honda Motor Co. Inc., feels compelled to respond to comments from a former co-worker, Mark Fields.

Mendel and Fields, Ford Motor Co. executive vice president, worked together previously at Mazda Motor Corp., owned 33% by Ford.

In June, Fields said Japanese auto makers have an unfair advantage in the U.S. market and are not as American as they want people to believe.

"Mark is no protectionist,” Mendel says. “He is really suggesting perhaps that I may have given Honda an unfair advantage. The reality is I still see myself on the same team as Mark."

Focus: Engineering

Attendees at Wednesday afternoon's "The AutoWorld Future: Round or Flat?" presentation were taken out of their element for a moment, as Eleanor Josaitis, co-founder of the Detroit-based charity Focus: HOPE, spoke and presented a number of engineering students from the organization's Center for Advanced Technologies.

The crowd was moved to applause as the students got up and introduced themselves. Josaitis was filling in for Nissan North America Inc.'s Jim Morton, who had to cancel due to illness.