This article was originally published on, the website for the Detroit Regional Chamber, on December 5, 2017. Click here to view the original news release publication on

Recently, MICHauto announced the results of a thorough examination of Michigan’s automotive technical expertise at its annual Summit. The study reveals a much larger presence than previously reported and reinforces Michigan’s global leadership in automotive engineering, research and design.

The study finds more than 2,200 facilities conduct automotive research, design, engineering, testing and validation in the state of Michigan.

MICHauto, an economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, engaged the Chamber’s research team to compile the study. Previously, 375 automotive R&D facilities were frequently sourced as housed in Michigan by media as well as industry and government leaders. A key objective of the new study was to provide a current data point that reinforces Michigan’s automotive leadership.

“Michigan leads the nation in automotive ‘concept to consumer’ expertise. The new data point provides a clear understanding of the true automotive technical ecosystem in our state and definitively concludes that Michigan is the epicenter of mobility innovation,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO for the Chamber.

“The findings point to an industry that is growing and further underscores the critical need for talent development in automotive and mobility technology to support the needs of today and the future,” said Glenn Stevens, executive director for MICHauto and vice president of automotive and mobility initiatives for the Chamber.

Previous findings from MICHauto’s Michigan is Auto Mobility report released earlier this year, reinforce Michigan’s automotive footprint, which includes:

  • The greatest number of mechanical (42,080) and industrial (26,660) engineers in the nation.
  • 16 original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have headquarters or technology centers in Michigan.
  • 76 percent of automotive business-funded R&D occurs in Michigan, at $10.7 billion.
  • 96 of the top 100 automotive suppliers to North America have a presence in Michigan, 62 are headquartered in Michigan.
  • More than 6,600 engineers graduate from Michigan universities annually.
  • 20 institutions with nationally ranked undergraduate engineering programs.
  • 11 OEM assembly plants, more than any other state and Canada, assembling 19.4 percent of 2016 U.S. vehicle production.
  • 21 vehicle models assembled in Michigan during 2017.


From an initial list of more than 5,000 records, the Detroit Regional Chamber’s research team verified each facility through company/university website research. Secondary research for verification was completed when necessary, through job postings, LinkedIn profiles, or other third-party research sources, such as announced opening/closings, WARN notices, expansions, incentive locations, etc. The data does not include companies solely dedicated to defense or aerospace; however, if a company serves both automotive and aerospace/defense, it was included.

Also announced today at the MICHauto Summit, MICHauto released the results of its 2017 Automobility Career Perception Survey completed by Research America. The survey, made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), gathered feedback from 900 respondents, consisting of youth (ages 17-24) and adult influencers both inside and outside of Michigan. Influencers were defined as parents with kids ages 12-17, adults in leadership roles of youth organizations, high school and college-level educators, career counselors and academic advisors. An executive summary of the survey can be downloaded at

Among the survey’s key findings:

  • 53 percent of Michigan youth indicated that they would consider a career in the industry, an increase of 14 percent from 2014.
  • Perception that the automotive industry is “growing with opportunity and advancement in manufacturing, skilled trades, and for those with advanced degrees” is rising among youth (68 percent) and influencers (71 percent), an increase of 12 percent and 19 percent respectively.
  • 42 percent of influencers are very likely to recommend a career in automotive, compared to 23 percent in 2014.
  • When describing the automotive industry, the fourth most associated phrase among influencers was “innovative.” In 2014, it was “dead and/or declining.”
  • When answering the question, “Which areas in the U.S. do you feel have attractive career opportunities for young adults?” Nearly half of Michigan youth (46 percent) believe that Ann Arbor has attractive career opportunities, followed by Detroit (36 percent). However, outside of Michigan, only 4 percent of youth cite Ann Arbor and 6 percent cite Detroit.
  • Salary and benefits remain a top answer among youth who would consider a career in automotive, followed by flexible hours and positive reputation.

Perceptions still lag behind realities, with the survey finding:

  • Zero percent of youth outside of Michigan believe Detroit is leading the way in autonomous/driverless vehicle testing and development, while only 2 percent believe Michigan is leading the way.
  • 61 percent of Michigan influencers and 67 percent of influencers outside of Michigan named California the No. 1 state for innovative companies.

To help tell the Detroit region’s mobility story to the world, MICHauto and the Chamber, in partnership with the city of Detroit, Macomb and Oakland counties, Ann Arbor SPARK and MEDC’s PlanetM, will launch an online publication and monthly newsletter later this month. Announced at the Summit, “Driven” will help frame, shape and position the narrative surrounding automobility in Southeast Michigan, offering content relating to the people, assets and companies that are establishing the region and its automotive sector, as a global leader in next-generation mobility transportation. It will be accessible via

About MICHauto

MICHauto is a statewide initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber dedicated to promoting, retaining and growing the automotive industry in Michigan. MICHauto embodies a public-private strategy, championing Michigan as the global epicenter of the automotive industry and providing a platform for collaboration on advocacy, business attraction and retention, and talent attraction and development. To learn more, visit

About the Detroit Regional Chamber
Serving the business community for more than 100 years, the Detroit Regional Chamber is one of the oldest, largest and most respected chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for Southeast Michigan is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members. For more information, please visit

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