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Q&A with Kari Kaihonen, President of SATL, the association of automotive engineers in Finland

SATL - Suomen Autoteknillinen Liitto r.y. is Finland’s federation of 36 local automotive associations. Headquartered in Helsinki, SATL has been a member of FISITA since 1975.

Here, Kari Kaihonen, President of SATL, outlines the work of SATL.

Can you tell us about the activities and services your society offers?

Kari Kaihonen, SATL President

Our offering consists of two layers, the offering of the local association and offering of the national SATL. The local offering include; visits to new local car workshops or dealerships and member meetings. Some of the local activities like seminars are open to all the local sister organisations and are offered also as a webinar.

SATL's national offering includes newsletters, automotive book publishing and sales, trainings, seminars, webinars and an Automotive Aftermarket Fair.

What is the primary language spoken for technical discussion?

Finland is officially bilingual with Finnish and Swedish, but technical discussions and training sessions are most commonly in Finnish. English is commonly used at university level education and in international companies. Almost everybody can read and discuss in English at a reasonable standard.

"The last, but not least, benefit is access to FISITA’s international offering of activities. My belief is that this channel to FISITA is an increasingly important benefit."

How can engineers benefit from membership of your society, and how can they join?

The main benefit is to be part of the society. It sounds funny, but connections that you can make in seminars, fairs and meetings are very important, whether you are finding a new job or answers to technical problems. Of course, SATL is the best place you can find automotive news, books, live/online/web trainings etc. Members also have a special price for the SATL offering. As a community, we have been able to negotiate discounts for several other services e.g. gas stations, hotels and ferries. If you ask the same question from members, they probably say Suomen Autolehti, Finnish Automotive magazine, which is published by SATL's daughter company. The last, but not least, benefit is access to FISITA’s international offering of activities. My belief is that this channel to FISITA is an increasingly important benefit.

All of our individual members are members of one of the local associations. Engineers can request membership directly from local association and the local board will accept the member request or membership can be also requested from SATL by email, website form, phone call etc. and we redirect the request to the local association.

Can you tell us about the key mobility trends that your society is focusing on?

At this moment, electric vehicles are doubling their sales every year in Finland and therefore electric safety is the most needed information. Same trend is through all mobility even with bicycles and busses. All aftersales companies are also having troubles to find new skilful mechanics. There is more mechanics retiring that can be recruited from labour market. The same problem with retiring and lack of skills seems to be in all technical sectors because automation and electric solutions are rapidly become more common. So, we are also focusing on electric cars and driver-assistance systems, but also encourage new people to automotive engineering education.

Other growing business area seems to be in digital services around mobility, car sharing and aftersales services. Digital services seem not to be so interesting area among our members.

What opportunities do these trends create for engineers developing the technology of mobility?

It seems that lots of new start-up companies are working on sharing and digital services. I think there is lot of potential also for automotive engineers in that sector, but our universities and engineers seem to be more interested on cars than service opportunities that are opening around mobility.



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