SAC2018 Recap: International interest shows a world of possibilities

2018’s SAC brought together the best and brightest in automotive from the South and beyond

The 2018 Southern Automotive Conference provided a showcase for the innovative ideas, products, manufacturing and technology that are driving the auto industry. Of the more than 1,200 registered to attend the three-day event were international companies.

SAC2018’s international pavilions grouped companies and organizations by nation. These spotlights on the South’s global connections were among highlights of the 11th annual conference.

Nadia Theodore. Photo credit: Nick F. Nelson

The United Kingdom’s 20-member delegation filled a block of exhibit space that included a sitting area for exhibitors and guests, and featured a crowd-pleasing Aston Martin DBS – super spy James Bond’s vehicle of choice.

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Canada and Japan also had a large presence. Canadian exhibitors included global automotive supplier Magna International Inc., one of that country’s biggest companies and the largest automobile parts manufacturer in North America by sales of original equipment parts.

Nadia Theodore, Canada Consul General to the Southeast, introduced keynote speaker Linda Hasenfratz, CEO of Linamar Corp., a Canadian Tier 1 supplier to automotive markets in the southern U.S. In November, Hasenfratz was named Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year for 2018.

The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), which helps Japanese companies grow export potential, doubled its presence over last year, says Trevin Dye, JETRO assistant director of international business development. A 13-company delegation attended the 2017 SAC in Birmingham.

Jetro also organized a business matching event to support development of business between Southeast and Japanese auto parts companies.

Read selected stories from SAC 2018 here and here. For full coverage, check out the December 2018/January 2019 print edition of Southern Automotive Alliance magazine.

The next SAC will be held Sept. 25 through 27, 2019 in Nashville. For more information, click here.

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