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Commerce, Big 3 U.S. Auto Makers Form New Partnership to Improve Manufacturing Competitiveness of U.S. Automotive Industry

For Immediate Release: December 9, 2004

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Contact: Mark Bello
301-975-3776

Senior executives of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration and the U.S. automotive industry today signed a memorandum of agreement establishing a new partnership to facilitate technological research and technology policy analysis focused on improving the manufacturing competitiveness of the U.S. automotive industry. The signing ceremony took place in Southfield, Michigan, at the headquarters of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR).

This partnership, the United States Alliance for Technology and Engineering for Automotive Manufacturing (U.S. A-TEAM), will bring together scientists and engineers from the Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Company and General Motors to conduct pre-competitive research activities with the potential to contribute to the future competitiveness of the U.S. automotive industry.

The U.S. A-TEAM will focus its initial technical research efforts in three areas:

  • digital/virtual tools;
  • plant floor controllers, and
  • ergonomics.


The agreement was executed by Phillip J. Bond, Under Secretary of Commerce for Technology; Hratch Semerjian, acting Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology; John Felice, Vice President, Advanced Manufacturing Engineering, DaimlerChrysler; Alex P. Ver, Vice President Advanced and Manufacturing Engineering, Ford Motor Company; Jerry Elson, Vice President of General Motors and General Manager General Motors Vehicle Operations; Mark Chernoby, Vice President, Advanced Vehicle Engineering, DaimlerChrysler Corporation; Gerhard Schmidt, Vice President, Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company; and Lawrence D. Burns, Vice President, GM Research and Development and Planning, General Motors Corporation.

“Technological innovation is an essential key to the manufacturing competitiveness of the U.S. automotive sector,” said Under Secretary Bond in announcing the partnership. “The U.S. A-TEAM brings together the world-class scientists and engineers of DaimlerChrysler, Ford, GM and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to exchange ideas, share knowledge, and engage in collaborative, pre-competitive research that will foster economic growth and the creation of high-wage jobs through global manufacturing leadership of U.S. automobile manufacturers and their suppliers. Even the acronym of this new alliance—the U.S. A-TEAM—connotes our commitment to excellence.”

“The U.S. A-TEAM is a landmark agreement focused on advancing manufacturing technologies that will contribute to the future competitiveness of the U.S. automotive industry,” said Pat Flaherty, Executive Director of USCAR. “By bringing together the unique technical expertise and resources of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. automotive industry, the U.S. A-TEAM has the potential to make major contributions to America’s manufacturing capabilities.”

In addition to the technical research agenda, the Department’s Office of Technology Policy will work with the automotive industry to explore new R&D and manufacturing production paradigms in the global automotive industry and their implications for U.S. policies in areas such as science and technology, standards, international trade, education and training, and telecommunications and information technology. The Office of Technology Policy will work with the office of Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing Al Frink, a newly established organization in the department’s International Trade Administration, as well as with other Commerce offices in examining these issues.

The agreement establishes a high-level government-industry steering group to provide guidance for the U.S. A-TEAM’s activities. In addition, under the agreement, USCAR will physically host a NIST liaison at its headquarters in Michigan.

About the Organizations:

The Technology Administration includes the Office of Technology Policy (OTP), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). TA serves as the principal resource to support Commerce Secretary Don Evans in developing policies to maximize science and technology's contribution to America's economic growth.

As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration, the National Institute of Standards and Technology develops and promotes measurement, standards and technology to enhance productivity, facilitate trade and improve the quality of life.

The Office of Technology Policy conducts research and analysis across wide range of factors affecting technological innovation to inform the development of national policies and initiatives to bolster America's competitiveness.

The United States Council for Automotive Research, a cooperative of DaimlerChrysler, Ford and GM, was established in 1992 to assist the domestic auto industry in facilitating pre-competitive research.

Additional Contact: Cheryl Mendonsa, (202) 482-8321