The stakes were higher than ever for select automotive suppliers at this year’s Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) World Congress Experience (WCX18) as FCA US threw open the “Pitch Pit” on April 10 and April 11.
Suppliers, who may not normally get a shot at talking with FCA US, were given a 30 minutes behind closed doors to pitch their innovations to a team of purchasing and engineering executives.
ESI Group, a company specializing in virtual prototyping software and services, was one of those who entered the pit to discuss their new ideas around vehicle development.
“The Pitch Pit at WCX provided an excellent forum for us to present, discuss, and explore new ideas that address the disruptive technological changes happening in our industry, such as the need for virtual prototyping to replace physical testing,” said Mike Salari, Executive Vice President of ESI Group. “During the meeting, we were able to identify synergies together with FCA that could benefit vehicle development from certification, to launch to end-of-life.”
FCA US is the first automaker to host such an event during the engineering showcase, designed to bring together the best talent and technologies in the industry.
“The motivation behind Pitch Pit is consistent with our continuous pursuit of innovations that exceed the expectations of our customers,” said Scott Thiele, Chief Purchasing Officer, FCA.
“This departure from our conventional purchasing protocols can only energize the process of finding the best available technologies,” added Thiele.
Pitch Pit is yet another way FCA US works to pull together automotive suppliers and internal decision-makers.
FCA US also holds its annual MatchMaker event where more than 3,000 minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses come to its headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, to connect FCA US leadership and buyers with potential suppliers. The trade show has generated more than $3 billion in new business opportunities for participating companies since 2000.