Oakland County attracted $575 million in domestic and foreign business investment in 2019, with 41 percent coming from companies headquartered outside the United States, according to the county’s Department of Economic Development and Community Affairs.
Investment came from companies that moved to Oakland County, expanded existing operations, or were foreign-owned companies opening new operations in the county.
Sixteen projects, totaling nearly $200 million, were made in advanced electronics and control systems. Three of those projects: expansions by Japanese automaker Nissan in Farmington Hills and Swedish supplier Autoliv in Auburn Hills, plus the attraction of German lithium Ion battery maker Akasol in Hazel Park, accounted for $135 million of the total investment and nearly 700 new and retained jobs.
Foreign direct investment in the county during 2019 was $234 million from 54 separate projects, accounting for more than 2,400 new and retained jobs. The county has realized more than $1.7 billion in foreign investment over the past six years, which created or retained more than 24,000 jobs.
To attract business investment, the county’s business development team works with prospective companies helping with site selection, workforce development, financing strategies, and coordinating state and local incentives. The team activity focuses on both advanced manufacturing, health and life sciences, and information technology companies as well as traditional businesses and entrepreneurs.
“We have a team of experts who keep the line of communication open with companies as well as coordinate additional necessary resources to ensure we are there not only at the start of a project but also as we walk it through the finish line,” says Ryan Cram, manager of business development for Oakland County.
The countries of origin for 2019 international business successes are: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom. More than 1,000 international firms from 39 countries currently have business locations in Oakland County.
Throughout last year, representatives of the business development team travelled around the country as well as 12 foreign countries to promote increased attraction to Oakland County.
Other significant investment during in 2019 came from: Henry Ford Health System ($70 million), Production Tool Supply ($69 million), Enova Premier ($40 million), and Germany’s Webasto Roof Systems ($40 million). The total investment from those companies was $219 million resulting in 481 new or retained jobs. The county attracted 37 projects of at least $1 million each.
The most successful sectors in total investment from 2004 to present are medical main street/health care ($1.3 billion); advanced electronics and control systems ($1.2 billion); Tech248/communications and IT ($851 million); alternative energy ($635 million); advanced materials, chemicals and nanotechnology ($419 million); and aerospace ($409 million).
This year, the county business development team will be attending trade missions, investment summits, and trade shows located in key countries such as Germany, Japan, China, France, Canada, India, and Italy to tout the advantages of locating in Oakland County.
“Our proximity to universities and the auto industry, a talented workforce, a reputation for innovation, and quality of life continue to attract and retain domestic and foreign-owned companies,” says David Coulter, Oakland County executive.