What state has shown more seriousness about the automotive industry?

It’s Michigan. The governor has created an Automotive Industry Office, and appointed an automotive adviser who briefs Gov. Rick Snyder monthly.

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The auto industry in Michigan has rebounded and attracted millions of dollars in investment.

Michigan’s Automotive Office
In September, 2013, Nigel Francis was officially appointed as the automotive adviser carrying two titles, namely:

  • Senior adviser, automotive initiatives, for the state of Michigan
  • Senior vice president, automotive sector, for the Michigan Economic Development Corp

The former title carries the responsibility of providing advice and assistance to Gov Snyder on the automotive industry while the latter title carries the responsibility of growing the state’s top and dominant industry.

30-Year Comprehensive Plan
Francis, through the Automotive Office, initiated the comprehensive 30-year plan to attract new investment and retain existing jobs through capitalizing on emerging trends from technology, vehicle design and materials to changing demographics and attitude of motor vehicle drivers.

The Automotive Office initiated a 30-year Comprehensive Plan which helped the auto industry bounce back successfully.

According to the auto czar, the future of Michigan’s top industry is as much in the hands of every Michigan resident as it is in the hands of the various private companies that constitute the industry. Francis explained that it is a prize that the Michigan government and the people should work hard to retain, grow and strengthen over the long term. Additionally, Francis said that they should make sure that the next generation of leaders will carry on the initiative.

The Auto Industry In Michigan Rebounds
And all of Michigan’s hard work and efforts paid off, as the auto industry rebounds. Michigan has successfully secured one-quarter of all auto industry investment in North America in the last four years. Currently Michigan assembles more vehicles than Ontario which translates to more jobs generated for the people. Upgrades and expansion to its plants has been secured including:

  • 1 billion investment that transformed the manufacturing plant of Chrysler in Sterling Heights which was previously targeted for closure
  • $449 million for two production plants of General Motors with the possibility of a second shift at one of the facilities

The state also has stamping plants, research and development as well as a lightweight materials research center.

Losing Industry
Prior to this initiative, Michigan was on the verge of losing automotive production and investment. Even the small supply chains of parts such as aluminum fender washers lost their business to the flagging auto industry. But Michigan decided it’s tired of losing and did not want to lose more. The state wanted to bring back investments to where they should be – the auto industry in Michigan and so it chased investors for the auto industry which at the time was not an industry investors would like to put their money in.

Investors Started Coming In
But through the initiative of the governor’s office, through the establishment of the Automotive Office, the state was able to obtain and acquire millions of dollars in investment. Michigan was able to turn the table around and got the investors to put their trust and confidence back in the state’s auto industry. For the state of Michigan, the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Gov. Rick Snyder created the Automotive Office as part of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and efforts to spur an industry that is too important to lose. The comprehensive strategic plan proved to be a step in the right direction as it drives Michigan’s auto industry forward.  The Automotive Office has clearly sent out the signal that the state is open for business as the office provides a coordinated approach to attract investment – from research and development to legislation.

Automotive Office Initiatives
Some of the initiatives coordinated by the Automotive Office include:

  • Successful lobbying on the legislature for a law that allows more companies to test vehicles with new technology on the roads of Michigan
  • Backing a new research center for lightweight and advanced materials to improve fuel efficiency which benefits a wide range of manufacturing sectors
  • Serving as one-stop shop for the industry to navigate government regulations
  • Expanding skilled trade education to ensure availability of local talents for various companies investing in the state

One of the reasons the auto industry in Michigan bounced back from its desperate position is owed to Nigel Francis who furiously marketed Michigan as the auto industry’s epicenter. His role in the Automotive Office allowed him to travel the world, in some instances with the governor to market the state’s auto industry and attract investors.

Aren’t these enough indicators to show how serious the state of Michigan is about its top employment generating industry?

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1 thought on “What The State Of Michigan Did For The Flagging Auto Industry”

  1. I hear that Michigan faces years of budget uncertainty because state leaders awarded billions of dollars in tax credits mostly to Detroit’s three automakers to save tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs during the recession. Many expect them to be doing well, especially because Obama wasn’t shy about touting the steps taken by his administration that he said have brought the economy and U.S. manufacturing roaring back to life. No, I’m not affiliated with any political party.

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