Nigel Francis, appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder as the state’s lead automotive adviser, on Tuesday will unveil a 30-year strategic plan he believes will elevate Michigan’s status as a global automotive leader. He will address the Society of Automotive Engineers 2014 World Congress and Exhibition in Detroit, which runs Tuesday through Thursday.
“Our focus must be on consolidating our resources to support the needs of Michigan’s automotive and manufacturing industries,” says Francis, senior vice president of the Michigan Automotive Industry Office at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. “The ongoing challenge is to anticipate and respond to emerging trends, and act with a clear purpose to create meaningful and collaborative solutions for Michigan-based automotive companies.”
Francis says the plan — which draws upon recommendations of a taskforce made up of auto industry consultants assembled last fall — provides the state with a framework to retain and attract leading-edge technology and automation companies; invest public funds; and attract private capital. It also offers a guide for collaboration with automotive companies facing challenges related to changes in demographics and vehicle market, vehicle design, connected and automated vehicles, material technologies, powertrain and propulsion technologies, manufacturing, and supply chain and logistics systems.
Francis says the plan’s top priority is to attract and retain automotive professionals in engineering and design, software and coding, systems integration, and skilled trades. Currently, Michigan is home to 65,000 engineers, 70,000 R&D professionals, and more than 181,000 skilled trade workers.
In 2010, the automotive industry generated $2.8 billion in direct taxes and fees to the state’s treasury, according to a study by the Center for Automotive Research. The study also found the industry supports 513,000 jobs in the state, about 14.6 percent of the state’s workforce.
The three-day conference, to be held at Cobo Center is expected to draw more than 11,000 industry insiders from around the world. For more about the event, click here.