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May 5, 2016

Austrian automotive companies present innovations at SAE World Congress 2016 in Detroit

Building on a successful visit to the SAE World Congress 2015, eight Austrian suppliers to the US automotive industry returned to Detroit to attend this “Innovators Only” event again in 2016. From April 12th to 14th the Austrian delegation introduced their respective process/product innovations at an ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA group pavilion to establish valuable connections with potential business partners. The organizer of this program, ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA supports Austrian companies in their efforts to develop and strengthen their US business activities. 

The World Congress of the Society of Automotive Engineers is an annual conference that focuses on research and development in the international automotive industry. The 3-day event takes place at the recently remodeled COBO Center in “Motown” Detroit and features automotive-related panel discussions and technical breakout sessions as well as an exhibition area for international innovators. The 2016 motto for the conference was “Powering Possibilities” and it was sponsored by Toyota and the Tier 1 supplier AISIN. With 11,000 visitors, 58% of which come specifically with an automotive R&D background, the event featured an excellent audience for the Austrian delegation. Stringent governmental regulations and rapidly evolving customer expectations as well as stronger competition feed the need for technical innovations on the market for automobiles. Manufacturers are looking for ways to reduce costs and differentiate theirs from competitor’s products and the door for new suppliers is open. Austrian companies typically stand for top quality products, professionalism and technical expertise and are held in high regard in the US. This was reflected by a steady stream of visitors to the booth and a number of promising conversations. During an ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA networking reception on the show floor visitors and exhibitors connected over delicious refreshments and some much needed coffee. When the exhibition closed for the day, the Austrian representatives used the opportunity to participate in additional industry networking events by the German American Chamber of Commerce as well as the Detroit Regional Chamber.  

While some of the participating Austrian companies had been to the conference as attendees in 2015, it was all of their first time as an active exhibitor. The purpose was clear: connect with representatives of potential business partners and customers on a technical and engineering level. The supplier of development, simulation and testing services for the passive safety of vehicles, Altran Concept Tech, exhibited and also hosted a very successful seminar in their field of specialization. With a subsidiary in Michigan, G&G Cables and Wires is already a well-established player in the US. Also specializing in the field of vehicle safety, Hirtenberger Automotive Safety was able to strengthen existing business relationships and make some new contacts along the way. The software and systems development company LieberLieber, with a US subsidiary already in place, worked alongside Melecs EWS Gmbh to engage interested visitors – very successfully. Another important part of the delegation was the Michigan based plasmo USA LLC, a supplier of automated quality inspection systems for the manufacturing industry. The heat treatment specialist RUBIG US, with a subsidiary in Illinois, intends to grow their market share in the US and used the booth to introduce innovative processes and engineering expertise. A very hot topic in the industry is the reduction of vehicle weight and here the well-established voestalpine Stahl GmbH scored major points with the audience.  

The overall program was very well received and with such positive feedback ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA intends to return to the SAE World Congress in 2017 with another group of global innovators.