May 30, 2018  |  COBO Center  |  Detroit, Michigan


Sign up now so you don’t miss these features of the 2018 WardsAuto Interiors Conference!

  • Designer Keynotes – hear from design execs from leading automakers
  • Panel Discussions – featuring top OEM and supplier designers
  • Wards 10 Best Interiors Awards Ceremony – meet top designers from the winning OEMs
  • Peer Networking – meet up with colleagues and make new connections
  • Student Design Competition – with the College for Creative Studies. Sponsored by IAC and Lear.
  • Exhibits – from top interior suppliers

Exhibit Space & Sponsorships Still Available

Find out how to exhibit at or sponsor the Interiors Conference to position your business as a leading solutions provider.

Design leaders from GM and FCA to deliver keynotes

We’re thrilled to announce that Sharon Gauci, Executive Director for Industrial design at GM, and Chris Benjamin, Head of Fusion Design Studio & Jeep, Passenger Car and UV Interior Design at FCA, will deliver keynotes address at the WardsAuto Interiors Conference on May 30 in Detroit.

As the executive director for industrial design, Gauci is responsible for supporting the visual expression of General Motors and its global brands. This includes brand tonality, User Experience product design, graphic design, experiential events, environments and architectural design, merchandise development, creative visualization and photography.

Her team is also responsible for the Design Archives and Special Collection – an important role as a way of preserving the company’s rich design heritage.

Chris Benjamin leads advance packaging and interior development programs while maintaining responsibility of the interior design direction for Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, and Fiat passenger cars and utility vehicles for FCA – North America.

Prior to his appointment, Benjamin served as the Head of Interior Design where he led the interior design development of the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica and 2016 Chrysler 300. Benjamin joined the company in 2013 from Volvo Car Corporation where he held a series of design positions with increasing responsibility since 2007.

Panel Discussions Announced

The WardsAuto Interiors Conference features three breakout session periods when you’ll get to choose to hear one of multiple panel discussions on vital topics.

Register now to save your spot in your choice of these sessions:

Materials Innovations
Materials can make or break a consumer’s first impression of a vehicle interior, but their importance goes far beyond aesthetics. Panelists will discuss the latest concepts for giving designers more creative freedom, reducing weight, reducing cost and optimizing eco-friendliness.

Creating the Ultimate User Experience
The “user experience,” a term that has migrated from consumer electronics to the world of automotive interior design, presents a new challenge: How do designers and engineers take the flood of information flowing in and out of vehicles and personal devices and turn it into positive encounters that delight, inform, entertain and protect drivers and passengers?

How Autonomy Will Drive A Material Rethink
We’ve all seen the futuristic living-rooms-on-wheels designs for autonomous vehicles. This session will take an in-depth look at how materials will change to serve the evolving needs of AV occupants and drive a new aesthetic that specifically suits autonomy.

Interior Crash Safety Systems for Autonomous Cars
Seats that swivel and recline to near vertical positions are part of every new autonomous and semi-autonomous design. Even more dramatic reconfigurable seating scenarios are on the way. Airbag, seating and interior suppliers will discuss the near-term and advanced designs they have for solving the unique crash-safety challenges posed by autonomous vehicles.

Creating a Quiet Interior Environment
Reducing noise, vibration and harshness in vehicle cabins always has been a goal but electric, autonomous and shared vehicles present new issues and challenges. In these new interior environments, a whole new menu of noises and frequencies can pop up to annoy occupants or interfere with the sound quality of premium infotainment systems. This session will look at how suppliers are developing cost-effective solutions to these new challenges.

Manufacturing World-Class Interiors
Panelists will discuss manufacturing processes and technologies that enable automakers and suppliers to produce interiors that are benchmarks in quality and cost.

Designing the Cockpit of the Future
Before the totally autonomous vehicle arrives in the future, a range of technologies will begin transforming how we interact with cars. Realistically speaking, what will the near-term cockpit, instrument panel and HMI look like for the next product cycles?

Lightweighting Interiors
Automakers have spent decades removing mass from vehicles, but there still is work to do, especially in the cabin. Numerous technologies and strategies for removing weight while enhancing comfort and aesthetics will be discussed.

New Concepts and Tech for Enhancing Interiors
Whether consumers plan to inhabit a vehicle for five years or five minutes, it will be important to impress drivers and passengers with beautiful design, smart surfaces, biofeedback and gorgeous OLED displays and lighting. Panelists will discuss a variety of the latest developments.

See the Wards 10 Best Interiors of 2018!

Register to see the Wards 10 Best Interiors Awards ceremony and congratulate the winning OEM design team winners as they take to the stage and accept their honors.  Plus, we plan to have all ten winning vehicles on display at the event for you to check out for yourself.

Limited seating in panel discussions… sign up now to secure your spot!

Participate in One-on-One Technology Discovery Meetings

Planet M is inviting technology seekers from OEMs and suppliers to participate in private, one-on-one supplier discovery meetings.  You’ll be introduced to innovative providers of technologies from new and growing companies that may not be on your radar. Limited number of slots available.  Click here to learn more and apply!










American Renolit Corporation
DS Smith Extrusion
Hella North America Inc.
Oakland County, Michigan
Snaptron, Inc.
SPE Automotive
Suhner Manufacturing, Inc.
Synergeering Group
Vulcan Spring
Wise Manufacturing


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