Last year the North American International Auto Show was all about whether Metro Detroit will be able to keep its automotive jobs. This year, it’s about creating a lot of automotive jobs.
A number of investments in the metro area have either been announced or come to fruition in the recent weeks leading up to and during the show. And these aren’t the normal metal-bending jobs pumping out the gas guzzlers of yore. These are the “wave-of-the-future” jobs that specialize in developing new energy efficient technology for the automotive industry.
Here is a little taste of what has been announced:
- The first advanced lithium-ion battery for the Chevrolet Volt was produced at GM’s Brownstown Battery Pack Assembly Plant. GM invested $43 million to turn the 160,000-square-foot building into a landfill-free facility for production of lithium-ion battery packs for the Volt and other electric vehicles with extended-range capabilities.
- Ford plans to retool its Wayne Assembly Plant (a $550 million investment) to make the compact Ford Focus and its electronic version. That impacts about 3,200 jobs directly.
- Ford also plans to invest another $450 million in its electric vehicle program. The investment is expected to create about 1,000 jobs in Michigan, creating Ford’s next generation of hybrid and hybrid electric vehicles.
- A dozen Michigan businesses won $248 million in federal tax credits that will create an expected 17,000 green jobs. Among the lucky winners are Livonia-based Stirling Energy Systems (solar power), Troy-based Ilumisys (LED lights) and Monroe-based Ventower Industries (wind turbines).
- Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE chose
Michigan to host a competition that aims to pit
some of the world’s most fuel efficient vehicles against one another in
a quest to win a share of a $10 million prize.
Source: Ford, General Motors, Progressive Insurance Automotive
Writer: Jon Zemke