Business English and the Automotive Industry

There is a real challenge out there as the Automotive Industry ‘globalises’ – experts in a number of disciplines from Sales to Design, Engineering to Manufacturing are having to talk to each other across continents. This brings so many challenges, both for the business and the individual. Companies like Nissan and Renault have important alliances in place, and most automotive manufacturers are present in China, working with local industries.

The Challenge

English is the global language of the Automotive Industry

There are ever increasing demands on Automotive executives:

International Travel

International Companies & Alliances

Shared, Time-pressured Development programmes

International Meetings – face to face, on the phone, even on TV

International Communications – e-mails, letters, video conferencing

Global Experts in Design, Sales, Engineering, Manufacturing, Finance who have challenges when trying to get their expertise across.

The Personal Challenge

Imaging the difficulties posed by the following examples:

1. “He’s wrong!” – but how do I tell him that politely?

2. “That’s not the best way” – but how do I tell them what is the best way in terms that they will understand and without offending them?

3. “I’m thirsty” – but how do I ask for a drink around here?

4. “I’d really like to see the way that he calculated that” – but how do I ask him?

5. “I don’t want to eat here, I’ve heard it’s no good!” – but how do I let them know?

6. “That’s a lousy deal!” – but how do we discuss this in the kind of detail I want to go into??

7. “I really want to understand what makes this colleague / customer ‘tick’ – it would make this project / negotiation much easier” – but I’m stuck for words! English is too difficult!

The Solution

The Automotive giants and their suppliers need to get their experts ‘up to speed’, NOW. International alliances and cooperation means more travel, more meetings and more and more shared projects and platforms. There are various options available to employers to enhance their employees’ skills in English, especially to those in Japan, Korea and China. The best option has to be one-to-one tuition in the UK, Australia or the US. Good training (which can also be carried out in-house, or in a language school either ‘at home’ or abroad) enables international experts to communicate easily and with confidence, so that a car-makers’ ideas and agenda are definitely put forward.

Too often during my career in the industry I have watched Japanese colleagues struggling to communicate their point of view (and therefore that of their employers!) to people from very foreign cultures. My favourite example of this is sitting in a car in the UK, next to a Turkish gentleman, and hearing one half of a conversation he was having with a Vietnamese gentleman who was speaking from his desk in France where he works for a German company – all about a project for a French customer for parts that would be manufactured in Turkey for a Romanian factory! All of this was in ENGLISH!

Andrew is a qualified TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher, with 15 years experience of the global Automotive Industry as a Sales manager with an International component and systems supplier.

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