CAR’s special panel discussion, “What to Expect in the Post-Crisis Automotive Landscape and Beyond,” promises to be highly dynamic and informative while addressing critical questions on finishers’ minds. For instance, how will business and manufacturing strategies from today change in the future and what new ones will emerge? What new materials can we expect in tomorrow’s automobiles? Who will be the market leaders in the next decade?

According to CAR, this presentation will provide an overview of these issues and offer insights as to what the future may hold for the automotive landscape. Indeed, the challenges facing the surface finishing sector, as well as the entire supply chain, are palpable. The automotive industry is confronted with new product and manufacturing challenges like never before. As a result, manufacturers are deploying flexible manufacturing systems to cope with lower volumes and future uncertainty. At the same time, markets are fragmenting, production volumes are cyclical, and demand is shifting away from large vehicles to smaller, less-profitable ones. Additionally, legislative pressure to increase fuel economy while reducing greenhouse emissions is ushering in a host of new technologies involving powertrain and lighter materials.

Several experts from CAR—a non-profit organization focused on a wide variety of important trends and changes related to the automobile industry and society at the international, federal, state and local levels—has been selected to tackle these questions and other topics during the panel discussion. Among them: Jay Baron, Ph.D. president and CEO and director, Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology Group; Brett C. Smith, director, Automotive Analysis Group; and Bernard Swiecki, director, Market Analysis. To encourage mass participation, NASF has made arrangements for the session to be held on the SUR/FIN show floor at Devos Place.

SUR/FIN’s dedicated automotive programming doesn’t stop with the CAR program. NASF is also working with the United States Council for Automotive Research, or USCAR, on another relevant presentation. Additionally, there will be high-powered technical seminars geared toward finishing technologies for automotive parts and accessories. It’s all reflective of an industry segment—despite sustaining some big hits in recent years—that remains a major focal point for the surface finishing arena and the U.S. economy as a whole. As Eric Olander, chairman of the SUR/FIN Steering Committee, puts it: “They’re still making cars in Michigan!”

The conference dates for SUR/FIN 2010 are June 14–17, with the show dates set for June 15–16. Please visit to register online or make your hotel reservations. For more information, or to reserve your booth space, please contact Cheryl Clark, director of events, or call (202) 457-8404.