Siemens VDO Automotive, one of the last big Tier 1 suppliers with a major presence on the floor of the annual Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress, has decided to pull out next year.

Budget cuts forced the move, says company spokesman Paul Klapproth III. The SAE exhibit usually costs Siemens about $300,000, excluding the cost of staffing the booth with employees.

It's a difficult decision for Siemens, as it was for competitor Robert Bosch GmbH; both German suppliers have strong ties to SAE as an organization and have been among the most vocal champions of the event.

With Siemens' departure, the Tier 1 presence on the exhibit floor will be almost gone. Denso Corp. and American Axle & Mfg. are among the only major Tier 1s left, and they both have said that their booths will be scaled back from last year.

As a lure to bring back the departed Tier 1s, SAE has created the “Technology Village,” as a low-cost way to let suppliers show proprietary new technology to customers in private at the Congress. For $25,000 a supplier can have a 20-ft. by 30-ft. (6m by 9m) fully enclosed booth that is completely furnished, has electricity and requires no labor.

Gretchen Stokes, manager of exhibits for SAE, says the cost is extremely attractive to the middle managers she has approached at some of the major Tier 1 suppliers that left the show last year.

Still, Klapproth says $25,000 for a Technology Village booth may not be in Siemens' budget.