Volvo's Håkan Samuelsson wins Germany's most prestigious automotive business award

Volvo's Håkan Samuelsson wins Germany's most prestigious automotive business award

Håkan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars' president and chief executive, has been awarded the prestigious Golden Steering Wheel award, honouring the year's best performing manager in the car industry, according to German publishing house Springer.

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Samuelsson has been instrumental in overseeing a wholesale operational and financial transformation of Volvo Cars since he took the position of chief executive in 2012, recording record sales and profits several years in a row.

Since 2014, Volvo Cars has launched an all new range of cars that has positioned the Volvo brand as a credible contender in the global premium market, including the multiple award-winning XC90 and the successor to Europe's best-selling premium mid-size SUV, the XC60.

The Golden Steering Wheel award is presented annually by publishing house Springer and the Bild Group, a German magazine group including AutoBild and Bild am Sonntag. Samuelsson was the 35th winner of the event, which was presented to him at a gala event on Tuesday evening in Berlin by Tom Drechsler, chief automotive editor of Bild Group and AutoBild.

"It is a great honour for me to accept this prestigious award," said Håkan Samuelsson as he received the award. "I lived in Germany for ten years and I am well aware of the high level of attention the automobile industry receives in this country. That is why I appreciate this award even more. As a manufacturer from Sweden, it is very special to be successful here, not only for me personally but for all employees at Volvo Cars."

Tom Drechsler attributed the decision to Volvo's recently announced electrification strategy and the launch of its electrified performance arm Polestar. "Håkan Samuelsson guided Volvo to sustainable profitability following the takeover by Geely Holding in 2010. The hard work of recent years has paid off. Thanks to the renewal of the model range with the XC90, XC60 and S90/V90, sales figures have increased to record levels.

"Furthermore, this year Mr Samuelsson took the decision to electrify every new Volvo model entering the market from 2019, and will be the first European producer to challenge Tesla, also from 2019, with three new models of the new electric performance brand Polestar."

Volvo Cars announced this summer that from 2019 every new Volvo-branded car launched will have an electric motor, making it the first established car company to fully embrace electrification and place it at the core of its future business.

In October it announced, in conjunction with the launch of the first Polestar-branded vehicle, that together with Geely Holding it will invest RMB 5 billion ($747 million) to support the initial phase of Polestar's product, brand and industrial development.

The investment highlights the financial muscle and industrial and manufacturing expertise Polestar will have access to, and establishes the fully consolidated Volvo Cars subsidiary as a stand-alone electrified performance car company.

Polestar goes from strength to strength with new communication appointment in the US

Polestar goes from strength to strength with new communication appointment in the US

The Public Relations and Communications team of Polestar, the new Electric Performance brand of Volvo Cars, has been expanded with the appointment of John Paolo (JP) Canton as Public Relations and Communications, Americas.

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Reporting to Duncan Forrester, responsible for global Public Relations and Communications, JP arrives at Polestar from Pirelli where he held the position of Director of Communications and Consumer Marketing. He also has extensive experience with luxury and performance automotive brands, having been Head of Public Relations for McLaren Automotive in the Americas, and previously Public Relations Manager for Ducati North America.

The appointment follows the recent launch of the new Polestar brand and the unveiling of its first product – the Polestar 1 Electric Performance Hybrid, a 600 hp Grand Touring Coupé with a range of 150km (99 miles) on pure electric power – the longest electric range of any hybrid in the world. The appointment also follows closely behind those of Sunnie Zhang as Public Relations and Communications, China; and Brent Ellis as Public Relations and Communications, Europe.

Freight Transport Association addresses skills shortage at UK biggest careers event

Freight Transport Association addresses skills shortage at UK biggest careers event

How can businesses attract new talent into the freight and logistics sector? Currently (Nov 2017), the sector needs 52,000 LGV drivers across the country and FTA members report difficulties in recruiting skilled technicians.

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To address this imbalance, and attract new talent into the market, the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the UK's largest membership association in the logistics sector, will be establishing a significant presence at next week's Skills Show, the UK's largest skills and careers event for young people. The Skills Show, which will welcome more than 70,000 visitors during its run at the NEC Birmingham, takes place from 16-18 November 2017.

"For many young people, logistics is an unknown topic, and they are unfamiliar with the scope and scale of the careers opportunities which the sector provides," says Sally Gilson, FTA's Head of Skills Campaigning. "By attending The Skills Show, and demonstrating the breadth of roles which young people can aspire to in freight and logistics, we are confident that we will encourage the next generation of skilled workers to keep our industry buoyant in years to come."

FTA will be working in partnership with a number of organisations at this year's Skills Show to deliver an exciting and visually impressive stand at the event which will demonstrate the scope and scale of the opportunities available across the logistics sector. Think Logistics, CILT, Novus Trust, Manpower, Volvo and DHL will all be supporting FTA's presence, providing Have a Go opportunities, as well as expertise and insight to help guide young visitors as they make their careers choices.

"Logistics is changing, technology is now at the forefront of the sector," continues Ms Gilson, "and there's a wealth of different careers paths for young people. There are jobs to be investigated across all modes of FTA's membership, ranging from drivers and engineers through to warehouse designers, project management and operations directors – and many more besides. Logistics is the sector keeping Britain trading, and with such an impressive range of supporting businesses on this year's stand, FTA will be showcasing the industry to young people attending the show and boost the potential workforce for many years to come."

Northern Automotive Alliance winners show how the region has moved up a gear

Northern Automotive Alliance winners show how the region has moved up a gear

The winners of the Northern Automotive Alliance (NAA) Awards 2017 show that there is real progress being made in the region's automotive sector, in areas as diverse as emission control, the manufacture of bespoke supercars, sustainable carbon fibre production and factories harnessing the latest Industry 4.0 technologies.

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The NAA Awards, which showcase the successes of vehicle manufacturers, supply chain companies and service providers in the region, took place in Cheshire on 9th November 2017. Ian Constance, CEO, Advanced Propulsion Centre UK (APC UK), gave a keynote speech to the audience of over 270 members of the Northern and national automotive communities.

The winner of the overall NAA Company of the Year Award 2017, sponsored by Bentley Motors Ltd, was Klarius Products (pictured above); the company also won the Logistics Excellence Award, sponsored by DHL Supply Chain.

Klarius Products, an SME, is one of Europe's largest manufacturers of type approved replacement emission control parts. From its manufacturing site in Cheadle, Staffordshire, complete with technical development centre, emission test track and logistics centre (Autologistiks), it operates a passionate continuous improvement culture to drive its business. The company's test and development facilities are also used by OEMs and Tier 1 companies in the UK for emission testing and prototyping.

The full range of winners at the 2017 NAA Awards event were:

Innovation Award
Sponsored by Jaguar Land Rover
Sigmatex UK Ltd

International Trade Award
Sponsored by Morson Group
Scorpion Automotive Ltd

Marketing Excellence Award
Sponsored by GEFCO
CCM Motorcycles

People & Skills Award
Sponsored by Industry Forum
Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) Ltd

Manufacturing Excellence Award
Sponsored by Vauxhall
Force Technology Ltd

Logistics Excellence Award
Sponsored by DHL Supply Chain
Klarius Products Ltd

Industry 4.0 Award
Sponsored by Siemens
Metis Automation

Company of the Year Award
Sponsored by Bentley Motors Ltd
Klarius Products Ltd

Company of the Year Award – Highly Commended
Sponsored by Bentley Motors Ltd
Force Technology Ltd

The 2017 NAA Awards event was sponsored by Festo.

Carol Holden OBE, NAA Chief Executive, commented: "This year's NAA Award winners show that the region's automotive industry has genuinely moved forward in many areas, ranging from the introduction of new business products and services to the adoption of the latest technologies. The NAA exists to support its member companies, and the growth of many of our businesses shows that success is possible even against a backdrop of various challenges and uncertainties both nationally and internationally."

The NAA has recently launched a new Automotive Business Opportunities service to help companies achieve commercial benefits from the rapidly changing automotive industry, such as in the areas of low emission and connected vehicles.

The Northern Automotive Alliance is an independent, not-for-profit company which provides a membership service to the automotive community, supporting micro-companies through to the locally-based global vehicle manufacturers. The NAA helps to support and nurture supply chain companies to grow into larger businesses, in order to strengthen the upstream supply chain in the UK.

BMW Group Plant San Luis Potosi Mexico inaugurates training centre

BMW Group Plant San Luis Potosi Mexico inaugurates training centre

The BMW Group Plant San Luis Potosi has inaugurated the plant's Training Center. With the official opening of the new building the automaker sets the next major milestone during the ramp up phase of the plant that will start production in 2019.

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The BMW Group has invested $9 million into the 6,000 sq. m. facility. The new Training Center contains eleven workshops for qualification programmes not only for associates but also for apprentices from the three educational institutions that participate in the Dual Programme.

State of the art technology and latest innovations for skilled workforce

Each space of the Training Center is designed to maximise the employees' performance and to increase their level of enthusiasm and team spirit. From the 1,500 associates with whom the plant will start operations, all will have gone through the qualification programmes given at that the Training Center including the workshops of Production Technology, Automotive Technology, Electricity and Electronics, Pneumatics and Hydraulics, Metal Mechanics, Robotics, PLC (Programmable Logic Controls), Paint Shop and IT. Additionally, the Training Center incorporates a space for skills evaluation, an area to become an expert on lean manufacturing, a leadership room and it incorporates rooms for several courses and non-technical training.

Qualification programme is based on four pillars

The Occupational Training consists of a personalised development plan, designed to improve the competencies for each of the positions at the BMW Group Plant San Luis Potosi. All employees take part according to their work areas along with a personal plan to nurture their proficiencies individually.

The qualification provided at the Ramp-Up Center is focused on technology topics and the actual launch of a new model. The reproduction of the production centre in a 5,000 sq. m. prepares associates in processes such as Body, Paint Shop, Assembly, Analysis, Logistics and IT. This building was designed with the purpose of preparing future employees who will be part of the productive processes, and to train them with the tools that will monitor the quality of each procedure at the BMW Group Plant San Luis Potosi.

The BMW Group Plant San Luis Potosi makes best use of the experience from other plants worldwide and maximises the preparation with a programme of Qualification in the Global Production Network. The sites in Germany, the United States and China support the plant in Mexico by providing training for employees during the phase of equipment and start of operations. By the time the plant in Mexico starts producing the first BMW 3 Series for the world market, more than 700 associates will have gone to one or more international assignments.

The strong educational strategy of the BMW Group Plant San Luis Potosi encourages competitiveness, stimulates the professional level of local talent, and places this region at a preponderant position among the global automotive industry. The Training Center is where employees will become experts, and it is the first step in the nonstop journey of the qualification processes of the most innovative, technological and sustainable plant of the BMW Group Production Network.

Paul Watson – a champion of the North-East UK automotive industry passes

Paul Watson – a champion of the North-East UK automotive industry passes

It is with great sadness that we are sharing the news of the passing of Councillor Paul Watson, a great champion of the North East of England's automotive industry.

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Paul was a great contributor to the resurgence of the Sunderland area of the UK, home to Nissan Motor Manufacturing UK and many automotive suppliers, and he was passionate about Sunderland and the North East and was proud to play his part in a whole range of significant projects and developments in recent years.

He valued enormously the strong and productive partnerships that have made projects such as the New Wear Crossing and the regeneration of Sunderland City Centre possible, along with supporting the growth of thriving, global-leading industries and sectors right across the region.

He was a committed supporter of the North-East Automotive Alliance, a vibrant and exciting initiative that helps to support the economic sustainable growth and competitiveness of the automotive sector in the region.

Paul leaves a great legacy and he will be very sadly missed by everyone at the city council and across the automotive industry in the UK and beyond. Our deepest condolences go to his wife Councillor Susan Watson and his sister Councillor Celia Gofton at this difficult time.

The Deputy Leader, Councillor Harry Trueman, will cover the duties and responsibilities of the Leader until further notice.

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