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Auto manufacturers from across the South to convene in Birmingham in October

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 - 07:00
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The Southern Automotive Conference (SAC) returns to Alabama this fall as the Alabama Automotive Manufacturers Association (AAMA) prepares to host the region’s premier automotive tradeshow Oct. 8-10 at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.

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The SAC, which annually rotates between Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, has emerged as the South’s leading automotive event, attracting more than 500 industry professionals each year. The conference provides a forum for top executives from original automotive manufacturers (OEMs) and major suppliers to showcase new product developments, collaborate on best practices and discuss strategies to strengthen the region’s burgeoning automotive industry.

AAMA is organizing this year’s event along with its SAC partner organizations from Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina. The conference offers numerous networking opportunities, allowing for attendees to gain facetoface interaction with potential clients and new business contacts from across the Southeast.

“The SAC is an essential forum for the southern automotive manufacturing community to strengthen the foundation of one of the region’s leading industries,” said Ron Davis, AAMA president. “Automotive manufacturing is a significant employer in Alabama and in hundreds of communities across the South. The industry is in a state of continued growth that is very positive for our economies and quality of life. This conference contributes to that success in a big way.”

Known for its world-class automotive production and sound business environment, the southeast United States boasts the fastest growing automotive industry in North America. The region’s supply-base continues to flourish and OEMs remain heavily invested.

Home to more than 16 OEM plants and thousands of suppliers, the automotive industry is one of the largest employers in the South and a major driver of the region’s economy. New plants and site expansions are announced daily equaling billions in new investments.

Birmingham is located within a short distance of some of the region’s top automotive companies. “We are excited to host the SAC in Alabama this year,” said Bill Taylor, President of Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and former CEO and President of Mercedes-Benz U.S. International. “Home to four OEMs and hundreds of suppliers, Alabama’s automotive industry is thriving. We have a lot of work to do to remain on top, however, and we look forward to engaging automotive executives from across the region in an important conversation about best practices, workforce needs and other topics.”

The theme for the SAC is “Geared for Growth: Accelerating the Global Automotive Industry,” and the conference’s general sessions and breakout panels will emphasize the need to improve operational excellence, strengthen the workforce and increase process and product innovations. Highlights of the SAC’s three-day program include:

• The release of the Southern Automotive Research Agenda (SARA) study which is being produced by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR). This major report will be introduced by CAR president and CEO Jay Baron, who will lead top policy makers in a discussion to illuminate ways their states can work together to grow the supply base and increase foreign and domestic investment.

• OEMs including Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes, Toyota and more will use the annual OEM panel as an opportunity to highlight new plant developments and discuss future trends within the industry.

• The exhibit hall, which will feature more than 100 exhibitors and several vehicles, will be open to conference attendees throughout the duration of the event. It provides exhibitors the ideal opportunity to showcase new products and engage in discussions about advancements in car components.

• Plenary and breakout panel sessions will center on three tracks: 1) supplier development, 2) innovation and 3) workforce development.

Based upon early projections, conference organizers are expecting another record turnout for this year’s event. For more information on the 2014 SAC, and to register online, visit the conference’s official website at www.saconf.com.

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