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SAE World Congress Sees Return of Key Companies, Nears Exhibit Sellout

Warrendale, PA,, Feb. 10, 2003 - Excitement is steadily building for the March 3rd opening of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International) 2003 World Congress.

With a new format and a more visible presence by major OEMs on the exhibit floor, many high profile supplier companies that took a break from the event due to economic conditions in 2002 are re-engaging with the event. Top-tier suppliers are opting into the show as exhibitors, high-level sponsors, panel and session organizers. These include: AISIN, AVL, American Axle, Bosch, DENSO, DuPont, Eaton, Hella, MTS, Nissan, Panasonic, Ricardo, Siemens-VDO, TACOM, Tenneco, TRW, Valeo, Visteon, and Yazaki, among others.

The SAE World Congress is the world's largest event focused on current and future automotive technology. In one place, over four days, the auto industry's technical leadership will assemble to discuss, debate, and experience how technology is rapidly changing this dynamic industry. A new technical program format, exhibit floor with pavilions focusing on five core technology areas, and a new high-impact Technology Theater as the center stage on the floor have attracted many major supplier companies back to the event.

"We're very enthusiastic about the positive support we've received from both the OE's and the major suppliers in this challenging economic environment," says Larry Schneider, Manager of Corporate Sales for SAE. "As a result of many discussions we've had with these companies, SAE has developed more options for them to participate as exhibitors and event sponsors." Schneider notes that exhibit floor space is nearly sold out, with 862 exhibiting companies and six technical pavilions. He notes that there are 23 countries represented, confirming the March 3-6 event is a significant global event that recognizes Detroit as the center of the automotive world.

A major factor in attracting supplier companies for 2003: A larger and more visible OEM presence. While vehicle manufacturers from all over the world have consistently sent engineers to present technical papers at the World Congress since its inception, there has been a sense in recent years that their presence was less evident on the exhibit floor. Enter this year's SAE World Congress General Chair, Richard Schaum of DaimlerChrysler. Schaum, Executive Vice President, Product Development for DCX, wanted to create a different event - in his words, "...an industry event".

Starting last July, Schaum put together a blue ribbon team of OEM and tier one executives to make the event more than just a large exhibit or 1,000+ technical papers. He and the team saw an opportunity to showcase the connectivity of the many diverse elements of SAE World Congress by adding advanced vehicle technology displays from the big three and creating a "Technology Theater" in the center of the show floor. This new forum provides a more business-focused forum for industry leaders to discuss issues affecting today's marketplace. The SAE World Congress will have a lot more sizzle and media-friendly flavor. Executive staff meetings comprised of product development, powertrain, and purchasing teams from the big three are also planned in conjunction with exhibit floor tours throughout the week.

"With top executives speaking and participating in panels at the Technology Theater, we anticipate there will be a lot more buzz down on the show floor," said Dave Amati, Director of Automotive Business Initiatives at SAE. "Having a number of planned OEM executive meetings only adds to that excitement. We're very pleased with the way things have come together this year. These significant changes set the foundation for further value-added enhancements for 2004 and create opportunities to engage more OEMs and top suppliers. I commend Rich Schaum for his leadership in reinvigorating the SAE World Congress and setting a new direction for the future."