DaimlerChrysler officially started the SAE 2003 World Congress with opening remarks from Richard O. Schaum, executive vice president, Chrysler Group Product Development and Quality, and general chairperson for the SAE 2003 World Congress, and will conclude this year's event with Dr. Dieter Zetsche, president and chief executive officer, Chrysler Group, as the Principal Speaker at the Annual Banquet. According to the company, Schaum's speech Monday, March 3, launched the event with optimism and enthusiasm. "This week is the beginning of a very exciting week of the automotive engineering industry," said Schaum in his address to fellow automotive engineers and members of the press. Working together, Schaum and SAE developed and implemented programs to improve participation in the SAE World Congress, says the company. "As General Chairperson, I have attempted to build a coalition of OEM's and top-tier suppliers to establish this event as the premiere automotive engineering event in the world," said Schaum. A component in this year's planning and development is the creation of a Technology Theater that will be the setting for panel discussions on topics the automotive industry are currently facing. Chrysler Group executives are moderating or are panelists in five of the 17 sessions during the event. The Technology Theater sessions are organized under the five distinct technology topics for the event: Advanced Electronics, Advanced Propulsion/Powertrain, Environment/Emissions, Lightweight Materials and Safety/Testing. In exhibit hall, DaimlerChrysler is displaying advanced-technology vehicles and a timeline of technology firsts for the Chrysler Group. A variety of the company's efforts to reduce environmental impact and dependency on oil will be shown. The theme of the display is "A New Era of Technology," and the customer-relevant technology and innovation on display demonstrate the company's commitment to improving automobiles and the industry, says the company.