SAE 2004 World Congress recap

Warrendale, PA - March 17, 2004 - The SAE 2004 World Congress attendance was a success story of quality vs. quantity. Ford's Phil Martens says the energy was up, feedback from many of the exhibitors is great, the four day event featured an all-time high number of presentations, and SAE professional development programs at Cobo Center during World Congress week shattered all previous attendance records.

For the first time, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International) was able to verify attendance with great precision, using bar codes and a database that eliminated any no-shows and double entries. The official attendance for the four day event was 35,392. More than 20% of those attendees were from outside the U.S., a telling statistic about the global nature of automotive engineering and the auto industry today.

For the first time ever, Asia was the leading source of overseas visitors to the World Congress. Europe, the traditional number two source of SAE World Congress visitors after the U.S., was right behind Asia. The largest increases in Asian attendance were from South Korea and China, representing two of the fastest-growing global automotive marketplaces.

The most important barometer for the organizers is the qualitative data. This year's totals showed a significant reduction in the number of exhibitor personnel registered. This, says SAE Director of Automotive Business Dave Amati, is a good trend. "When you break the numbers down at an event like the SAE World Congress, you're going to see both sides of the business equation. A few years ago we saw too many sellers in the mix, and we knew that for the event to have the value we needed, there needed to be a much better balance."

While the percentage of OEM and top tier supplier employee attendees tracked similarly to 2003, the percentage of "decision maker" attendees - those with job titles of Vice President and above - was 12% of the total number.

"We had a good show this year, and I liked the diversity of the audience. The global diversity that this show attracts is excellent," adds Brandon Dent, Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs and Communications for Yazaki. "Yazaki is a global company that does business on many fronts, so diversity is a good thing for us. This year the company went with an environmental theme in our exhibit, and we found that this theme struck a positive note with many of the engineers and executives with whom we conducted business during the week."

Dana Corporation had a large presence at SAE 2004 World Congress. Dana celebrated its 100th Anniversary by sponsoring the Dana Technical Innovation Forum and by putting up a large technology display directly in front of it.

"The SAE World Congress was a great opportunity to launch our 100th anniversary and do business with the customers and industry leaders we needed to see this week," said Gary Corrigan, V.P. of Corporate Communications for Dana. "Dana is all about technology and customers and that is why we sponsored the Dana Innovation Theater and the SAE bookstore. We want to advance the science of mobility in our industry and SAE this year allowed us to successfully do it."

The popular Technology Theater, sponsored by AVL, attracted 80 senior executives during the four days at Cobo, including 17 CEOs. The OEMs and top 30 supplier companies presented significantly higher number of papers this year, validating SAE efforts to obtain more participation from the manufacturers.

For the latest information about the SAE 2004 World Congress, see the web page http://www.sae.org/congress.

SAE media contact: Steve Yaeger (724) 772-4068, or e-mail syaeger@sae.org