What Bo Knows

When asked today how many suppliers General Motors Corp. has, CEO Rick Wagoner tells panel moderator David Cole he'll have to ask Bo Andersson, vice president in charge of GM’s global purchasing and supply chain.

Cole then poses the same question to John Krafcik, vice president-strategic planning and product development for Hyundai Motor America. “I don't know,” he says. “Maybe Bo knows."

The crowd bursts into laughter, with Wagoner following up, "he's on his Blackberry right now trying to find out."

Later on, when Krafcik is asked when Hyundai will launch a luxury brand, he says, "Actually, that's something Bo doesn't know, and we'd like to keep it that way."

Turning Heads

More than a few attendees at Thursday’s “The Auto World Future, Round or Flat” session were engineers.

So Mohsen Sohi, president and CEO, Freudenberg-NOK General Partnership, understandably sent heads swiveling when noting that, just as with plant labor, engineering muscle from other countries generally comes cheaper than in the U.S.

In regions such as India, he says, there are “great engineers at one-half or one-quarter of the cost. Why not harness that?”

Wagoner-isms

General Motors Corp. Chairman and CEO Richard Wagoner let fly with a few insightful and, perhaps, unintentionally humorous comments at one of Thursday’s sessions. The pick of the litter: “Bankruptcy is not a lean process.”