2023 Conference Programme

Monday 16 October 2023

18:00 – 18:45 EDT

Digital Twins and the future of the metaverse for automotive production

We start the evening with GM experts discussing the future of production, highlighting digital twin advancements connecting virtual and physical realms, including applications in production, logistics, and the industrial metaverse.


Brian Breuhan, Senior Manufacturing Engineer, Advanced Technology, General Motors

We kick off our event with a look at the future of production. Advanced manufacturing engineering experts from GM will cover a brief history of digital twins and how they are developing for automotive production and other industries. The presentation will examine what makes up digital twins and how digital twins are maintained through the digital thread linking them back to the physical world. It will cover digital twins for full production, logistics and the ‘pie-in-the-sky’ industrial metaverse, including applications today for GM and others.

18:45 – 21:00 EDT

Cocktail Reception

Get together with colleagues and industry peers before the conference at the The Henry Hotel, Dearborn, MI. Take in the breath-taking views, enjoy a refreshing beverage and exchange ideas with fellow industry leaders and experts, and make new connections in a relaxed atmosphere.

Dress code - Business casual.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

09:00 – 9:45 EDT

Session 1: The new American automotive revolution: transforming automotive factory processes, footprints and partnerships

Discover manufacturing innovation in our keynote. Learn how manufacturers integrate EVs, powertrains, and connected vehicles on one line. Experts discuss strategies for North American competitiveness in the EV evolution.

The opening keynote will demonstrate how manufacturers are adapting plants, systems and processes to build a mix of EVs and other powertrains, connected, software-defined vehicles all on the same production line. Our experts will share production strategies, systems and the skills needed to ensure that North American manufacturing remains competitive, sustainable and successful well into the EV evolution.

09:45 – 10:45 EDT

Session 2: Blueprint for a brownfield manufacturing renaissance: Volkswagen Chattanooga

Unveil OEMs' plant transformations, tech integration, and talent nurturing. Hear from Volkswagen Chattanooga on balancing EV and ICE production while inspiring a manufacturing evolution.


Chris Glover, CEO, Volkswagen Chattanooga

This keynote and panel session will explore how OEMs are transforming plants, adding new products and technology to production, training and recruiting talent, all whilst balancing existing production even as they expand facilities. Listen to a keynote on how Volkswagen Chattanooga is integrating production of the ID.4 and battery packs, while maintaining high-volume ICE production, and inspiring its workers to embrace change and a new manufacturing journey.

Hear from other experts on the huge opportunities to drive innovation, cost efficiency and automation in these plant upgrades, as this session will discuss key considerations, innovations, and continuous improvement with manufacturing leaders.

In our panel on optimising brownfield plants, hear about innovations in optimising automotive manufacturing, including:
Adapting footprint and space to optimise production
Advanced modelling and planning
Automation and robotics opportunities
Cost reduction and efficiencies, including across stamping, body, assembly and logistics

Hear from panellists:

Chris Glover, CEO, Volkswagen Chattanooga

Raj Kawlra, ex-Head of NA Stellantis Production Way Deployment, Stellantis (Retired) Manufacturing Consultant

10:45 – 11:15 EDT


Connect with old and new acquaintances to talk about all things manufacturing.

11:15 – 12:00 EDT

Session 3: More than a crystal ball: North American manufacturing outlook 2030

The latest forecasts in vehicle production volume by country and powertrain type across the US, Canada and Mexico.


Eric Anderson, Associate Director, Americas Light Vehicle Powertrain forecasting, S&P Global Mobility

In this analyst presentation, get the latest forecasts in light vehicle sales, production and powertrain across the US, Canada and Mexico, and the latest trends that will impact automotive manufacturing and supply chain investments and operations.

12:00 – 13:00 EDT

Session 4: Upgrading production: digital, lean and green production   

Explore innovations for flexible, efficient, and sustainable vehicle production. Learn from top manufacturers about data-driven breakthroughs, AI's role, and energy reduction strategies.


Trent Randles, Manufacturing Engineering Manager, BorgWarner

Dan Skulan, General Manager – Industrial Metrology, Renishaw

Raj Sohmshetty, Mentor-in-Residence, Wayne State University Office of Business Innovation & Technology Commercialization

Learn more about the innovations and investments in technology and people to ensure that the next generation of vehicles is built in the most flexible, efficient and sustainable way. Hear from leading manufacturers on the breakthroughs they are making in production with help from data analytics and AI, and to ensure maximum energy reduction and sustainability.

13:00 – 14:00 EDT


Enjoy our buffet style lunch.

14:00 – 14:45 EDT

Session 5: Greenfield of dreams: building the future of automotive production

Increasing North American OEM investment allows for manufacturing transformation through modern plants, driving innovation in productivity and quality.


Paul Stephens, Manufacturing Transformation Lead, Ford Motor Company

With increasing OEM investment in North American vehicle production for next-generation vehicles, the industry has a unique chance to redefine manufacturing efficiency, processes, and competitiveness by launching new platforms and vehicles in greenfield, state-of-the-art plants. This clean slate approach enables innovative opportunities to enhance productivity, quality, time to market, and worker satisfaction throughout the manufacturing process.

Join this session to understand:
Opportunities to engineer and design new flows across stamping, body, paint, assembly and logistics
High value technology integration: automation, robotics, vision systems and other tools
Cost saving and efficiency gains
Sharing innovation: what greenfield innovations can be shared with brownfield plants?

14:45 – 15:30 EDT

Session 6: Charging up manufacturing: How EV battery innovation will influence automotive production  

Journey into North America's battery revolution, where innovation and collaboration reshape EVs, fusing advanced chemistry with efficient manufacturing for performance.


Abby Chitwood, Director of Expansion Engineering, Panasonic Energy of North America

Lars Carlstrom, CEO, Statevolt - Italvolt

Greg Ruscak, Engineering Manager, Telsonic

As battery manufacturers and OEMs roll out new products and gigafactories in North America, the industry needs to work together to keep up with changing chemistries, develop local supply chains and scale production output.

Investment continues to surge in EV production and battery gigafactories across the US, Canada and Mexico, along with fast-moving innovation in battery cell chemistries and design. As OEMs and battery producers introduce new products and ramp up cell and pack production, the integration between battery cell engineering and development, and automotive manufacturing knowhow will become more important than ever. New battery cell designs are driving improvements in range and charging, as well as production and supply chain efficiencies, and battery experts need to work together with key suppliers and automotive OEMs for successful ramp ups, from setting up the right tooling and processes, managing fast changes, and developing a strong regional supply chain.

15:30 – 16:00 EDT


Connect with old and new acquaintances to talk about all things manufacturing.

16:00 – 16:45 EDT

Session 7: Co-creative evolution – integrated product, engineering and manufacturing planning 

 Connected, and sustainable success for EVs. Explore how automakers collaborate across design, engineering, and manufacturing for integrated next-gen product creation.


Leonel Leal, Head of Vehicle Advanced Process and Innovation Strategy, Ford Motor Company

To succeed in the transformation to electric, connected and sustainable vehicles, there can be no silos across product and vehicle development and production. This session would explore how automotive manufacturers are collaborating in new ways to design and manufacturer next-generation products and technology, with integrated approaches and teams from design through to manufacturing engineering and on the shopfloor.

Join this session to understand:
Collaboration and integration across product teams, from R&D through to manufacturing
Digitalisation and tools to support collaboration
Iterative planning and change management
Optimising manufacturing and products in parallel
Challenges to break silos; opportunities in the future

16:45 – 17:30 EDT

Session 8: Empowering manufacturing talent and problem solving

Strategies for productivity, innovation, and empowered talent. Learn from industry experts to tackle challenges and drive growth.


Humam M. Alwan, Software X Quality Management - Reactive Problem Solving Master & Instructor, Stellantis

Victor Gaylor, Quality Auditor, Stellantis

Jud Estes, Quality Engineer, Daimler Truck North America

Evolving manufacturing to build more connected, electric vehicles is not just about changing the tooling, technology and takt times across factories, but also requires new skills and problem-solving techniques to manage increased complexity. Leaders at automotive OEMs and suppliers need to adapt how they train and recruit staff, as well as how they empower them to make improvements.

In this session, learn about new strategies for boosting productivity, retention and teamwork in automotive manufacturing. Hear from experts from OEMs such as Stellantis on how to tackle challenges posed by electrified and smart products through systematic problem-solving. Explore leadership's role in employee empowerment, along with attracting, retaining, and training diverse talent.

Join this session to understand:
Talent and skills required for next-generation automotive innovation
Strategies to streamline processes with systematic problem-solving
Understanding how to drive innovation through strong leadership
Training for quicker resolutions and enhanced development

Here to help


Chris Ludwig

Automotive Manufacturing Solutions
E: chris.ludwig@ultimamedia.com
T: +44(0) 208 987 0968 or +44(0) 7825 238100

Ahmo Saric

Senior Content Producer
Automotive Manufacturing Solutions
E: ahmo.saric@ultimamedia.com
T: +44(0) 208 987 0927