Written by Sonja Sobota
From November 10 to 14 2014, a German Automotive Delegation consisting of 12 small and medium sized Automotive supplier companies visited the famous Automotive Corridor of the United States. The GACC Midwest (Chicago and Detroit offices) and the GACC South in Atlanta organized the journey, which was sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). The goal of the delegation was to learn more about the Automotive market in the U.S., with a focus on Research & Development, innovative processes and production techniques, as well as to establish first contacts with potential clients and business partners.
After spending a few days in the “Motor City” Detroit, where the participants had the chance to present their products to various industry representatives, the Automotive Delegation arrived in Greenville, South Carolina. During an event held at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) on November 13, our President & CEO, Martina Stellmaszek, and the Consul General of Germany, Christoph Sander, welcomed the group.
The delegation participants also introduced themselves and their products to an audience of automotive companies, service providers and industry experts. From spoilers and bumpers to devices and technologies used in production, various products were represented. Some speakers were even were able to show product samples during the event.
Thanks to a presentation by Dr. David L. Bodde, Professor & Senior Fellow at CU-ICAR, the audience also had the chance to learn about “The New Role of the Southeast in Automotive Research, Engineering and Manufacturing”.
Matt Winkler, Senior Manager of Purchasing Direct Materials at DAA Draexlmaier Automotive of America LLC compared the similar—yet different—European and American automotive industries. The day in Greenville concluded with individual business appointments in the area.
The delegation also traveled to the Volkswagen (VW) plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. During an individual tour, the participants learned about the plant’s history and its unique features, such as their 2013 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). After the tour, the delegation participants became familiar with VW’s supplier selection process during a question and answer session with the plant’s management.
Now that all companies have returned to Germany, we have received positive feedback about successful business connections they made.