Global Automotive Forum 2011

Chengdu car show girl 07

The 2011 Global Automotive Forum (GAF 2011), the second in a series, was held in Chengdu last week. GAF 2011 built upon the success of last year’s inaugural event as hundreds of automotive and government leaders and media representatives from China and all parts of the world met for two days in Sichuan’s largest city.

The GAF was created in 2010 by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Automotive Committee (CCPIT), the same organization that is responsible for organizing all of China’s auto shows. Every year, more than two million people visit the shows organized by CCPIT. These include events in Guangzhou and Chengdu, as well as the main China auto show which is held every year, alternating between Beijing and Shanghai. Now that the Beijing/Shanghai show is one of the largest such events in the world, CCPIT wants the GAF to become the most important automotive conference globally. JFP Holdings was one of the organizers in 2010, but took the position as the lead organizer of this year’s forum. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Continental AG and Deloitte Touche Tomatsu were the corporate sponsors.

The theme of GAF 2011 was “From Volume Leader to Innovation Leader.” In 2010, China’s auto industry produced and sold over 18 million vehicles, making China the largest vehicle market in the world by far. The goal of the Chinese government and auto industry leaders is to make China a leader in innovation by 2020.

More than 75 speakers from China and all over the world participated in GAF 2011, including senior officials from eight ministries; (vice) mayors from Guangzhou, Chengdu and Wuhan; the chairmen of the top 10 automakers in China; the President of Mitsubishi; global Vice Presidents from Toyota, Nissan, Honda; and Vice Presidents from Ford Asia Pacific and Benz Northeast Asia. Also, many of the heads of Asia Pacific and China from major global companies such as Continental, Delphi and Bosch spoke or served on panels. GAF 2011 is the only event in the global automotive industry where the heads of companies such as Dongfeng Motor Group, Chang’an Automobile Group, Guangzhou Auto, Lifan Auto, BYD, Beijing Auto, Beijing Hyundai and Great Wall were all on the agenda.

I served as moderator for two panel discussions—one that discussed the major sources of capital for the auto industry in the wake of the global financial crisis, and another that discussed the component suppliers. Other panels covered new business models in autos, the impact of China’s 12th Five-Year Plan on the industry, the future of electric vehicles in the country and the sustainability of China’s auto industry, and other topics.

While the GAF is only in its second year, it is becoming recognized as the best automotive conference in China, as one participant from a major consulting company told me at the conference. For MTD readers interested in autos, attendance at GAF 2012 is a must.

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