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Experts to explore ways to market cleaner, more efficient vehicles

Thursday, February 9, 2012
Experts to explore ways to market cleaner, more efficient vehicles
As global auto manufacturers evolve their product lines to include alternative energy and increased fuel economy innovation, a key consideration in making their efforts successful will be creating value from these technologies for vehicle purchasers that is commensurate with the cost.

With this in mind, the Oakland University School of Business Administration is partnering with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute to present a "Focus on the Future" automotive research conference entitled "Marketing New Powertrain Technologies: Strategies in Transition."

Set for 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, the conference will focus on how auto manufacturers are employing strategic and tactical marketing activities to launch new technologies into the marketplace, as well as provide insight into some of the methods they may employ in the near future to migrate consumers to more fuel efficient vehicles.

Participants also will discuss similarities and differences between approaches to marketing strategies in both developed and emerging markets. Speakers from global auto manufacturers, dealers and governments, as well as academicians from across the world, will provide a thought-provoking dialogue.

Confirmed speakers include:
  • John Viera, director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters for Ford Motor Company. He will provide insight into Ford's sustainability strategy and how the company views the introduction of more fuel efficient vehicles into its fleet.
  • Lonnie Miller, vice-president for marketing and industry analysis at R. L. Polk & Company. He will discuss consumer response to alternative powertrain technology, and his views on future demand.
  • Walter McManus, research professor in the Oakland University School of Business Administration. He will talk about his research that focuses on pricing models for alternative powertrain vehicles.
  • Cristi Landy, product marketing manager for the Chevrolet Volt, General Motors. She will talk about GM's strategy for marketing its new powertrains to consumers and share examples of how early adopters influence the next stage of adopters.
  • William P. Underriner, chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Association and president and co-owner of Underriner Motors in Billings, Montana. He will bring the dealer's perspective to the conversation and talk about how they are helping to build nascent markets for alternative fuel fleets.
  • Brendan Jones, director of EV sales, marketing and strategy for Nissan North America. He will discuss Nissan's expanding EV fleet and other marketing strategies they are building to support it.
  • Scott Ellsworth, vice-president of Ricardo Strategic Consulting. He will review the results of his company's government study that details which powertrain technologies are possible and probable during the 2016 to 2025 timeframe.
  • Michael Dunne, president of Dunne and Company, Ltd. He will discuss how companies are marketing new powertrain technology in China today and what he sees coming in the near future.
The conference will take place in the Oakland Center on the campus of Oakland University. For more information and to register, visit Additional information also is available by e-mailing Janell Townsend at