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Driving Global Automotive Demand - FESA Workshop

Foundry Workshop attracts top quality presentations

A collapse in new car registrations suggests up to 30 per cent excess installed car manufacturing capacity in the EU, claimed Prof Peter Cooke of the University of Birmingham.
Speaking at the FESA Foundry Workshop, held in Derby (UK) in June, Prof Cooke spoke of how the European economic recovery had been slower than anticipated and of how OEMs were embarking on a programme of strategic plant realignment. 

Concentrating on the evolution of the UK and European automotive industries, Prof Cooke who had also been a keynote speaker at the World Foundry Congress in Bilbao (Spain) in May, said the world was set for a global automotive ‘explosive expansion’ in the next seven years with China accounting for half of the growth. Quoting HIS Automotive research figures he said that global vehicle production would increase by 21 million units to 106 million a year by 2021.

He alleged that the move of the Chinese authorities to remove six million vehicles from the road which don’t meet exhaust emission standards by the end of the year plus the prediction to remove a further five million in 2015 would see China becoming a leading nation for electric vehicles.
He noted some interesting facts about global costs such as: Mexico has lower manufacturing costs than China; Brazil is one of the highest cost manufacturing countries; the UK is the cheapest in Western Europe; Eastern European costs are on a par with the US.

He told delegates that as used car sales were three times in excess of new car purchases, this was something to consider as a major contributing factor. “The quality of cars is improving all the time so it is logical to keep cars longer,” he said.

He spoke of the migrating focus of the motor industry and from a buyer’s point of view the reliance on low-cost finance and high performance expectations – factors which led to a rapidly changing automotive industry.

Re-Thinking Your Approach
Karen Bernie of Wyatt International was tasked with communicating the needs for all companies to embrace the digital age. In what she called “the fourth industrial revolution”, she spoke of how there would be an emergence of the ‘smart foundry’ which would need to capitalise on the convergence between the virtual and the real world for communications. She said companies in all sectors needed a “deep intelligent approach” to knowing who their customers were and that a full understanding of how to target them with communications was crucial.

She spoke of how professional communications companies could access potential customers’ details to ascertain how active they are in the social media world. Their on-line behaviours could then be profiled followed by a plan of action to communicate with them. She urged delegates that social media could be used to build a very powerful dialogue.

Echoing the sentiment of having to adopt new strategies in a changing world Stephen Lewis-Brammer or Rosler UK quoted cosmetics giant Charles Revlon: “If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!” He also noted Charles Darwin’s approach which was that “it is not the strongest of species which will survive but that which is best able to adapt.” He said regular appraisals and reviews with customers allowed a company to improve and adapt and close out a threat from competitors.

“Only one per cent of metal from the London Metal Exchange is physically used to make things,” said Andrew McClelland of the LME in his presentation. He said that the European Commission was looking at how pricing is set and that the “old-fashioned” way of doing things was returning. He told delegates: “This is in real time with real money exchanging hands”. He extended an invitation to those present to contact him and visit the LMW the next time they were in the capital to watch what he called the “intense process of trading on the LME”.

This is just a taster of some of the different presentations given during the one-day event. There were a number of technical presentations to support the more generic business ones and a table-top display area allowed foundry supply companies to showcase their capabilities. 

More details on the event are available from the Foundry Equipment and Supplies Association (FESA): 
Tel: +44 (0) 1544 340332, 
email: secretary@fesa.org.uk 
Or from the organisers, Modern Media Communications: 
Tel: +44 (0) 1273 453033, 
email: info@mmcpublications.co.uk