On 13th October 2014, the high-quality four-day programme of specialist events accompanying the International Suppliers Fair (IZB) 2014 was kicked off by the International Automotive Congress - ASEAN at the Wolfsburg AG Forum AutoVision, which welcomed a total of 200 participants.
At the event, representatives from automotive companies already operating in the ASEAN states and from a number of associations came together with other high-ranking speakers to provide analyses and experience reports that helped the participants to improve their understanding of the special features of the Southeast Asian automotive market.
“By providing insights into the political, societal and economic heterogeneity of the ASEAN states and the inconsistent market requirements that result from this diversified situation, the congress provided practical support and advice for companies planning to get involved in the Southeast Asian market", declared Julius von Ingelheim, the Spokesman of the Board of Wolfsburg AG, in his extremely positive summary of the event. Weiming Soh, the Chief Representative and President of Commercial Operations in Greater China/ASEAN at Volkswagen AG, for example, emphasised that: "The growth markets of the ASEAN region are of strategic importance for the Volkswagen Group. Our objective is to further expand our current market position in Southeast Asia and to significantly increase our market share in that part of the world on a long-term basis."
Resource-Efficient Production and Lightweight Construction
The constantly increasing ecological challenges in the automotive industry formed the thematic and content-related focus of the “Resource-Efficient Automotive Production” and “Lightweight Construction Forum” symposia, which took place in the IZB exhibition grounds in the Allerpark in Wolfsburg on 15th and 16th October 2014 and were both fully booked with a total of around 100 guests each. The participants in both events came to the unanimous conclusion that the automotive industry is increasing its focus on sustainability in both products and production. At the “Resource-Efficient Automotive Production” Symposium, participants were able to obtain information and exchange ideas on different possibilities for and approaches to energy-efficient and material-efficient solutions. The event, which was fully booked, provided its participants with information on topics such as how machines are able to use self-learning processes to increase their productivity, why economic and ecological objectives are not mutually exclusive and the fact that good solutions can indeed be exported. The symposium was organised by the company Wolfsburg AG and the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (IWU) from the German city of Chemnitz.
The Lightweight Construction Forum, which was held under the patronage of Dr Jürgen Leohold, the Head of Volkswagen Group Research and the AutoUni, focused on innovative concepts used when handling resources. Several of the speakers at the Forum all agreed that growing safety requirements and an increasing need for comfort and convenience can be combined with weight reductions made in order to decrease consumption. Nevertheless, the speakers also said that materials cannot simply be substituted with lighter materials, but that companies instead need to specify the weight reductions that they want to achieve at an early stage during their planning activities, for example in simulations.