Michigan suppliers gather for 2016 Pure Michigan Automotive Summit at Cobo Center to boost economy, create jobs

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

More than 1,200 companies take part in state’s largest matchmaking summit to date

LANSING, Mich. – More than 1,200 Michigan suppliers met today to look for more opportunities to work with auto companies and each other to boost the state’s economy and create jobs at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect program. 

FCA, Ford Motor Company, General Motors and Toyota worked with the MEDC to host the 2016 Pure Michigan Automotive Summit at Cobo Center in Detroit. The invitation-only event, the state’s largest summit to date, brought suppliers together to connect with buying teams from the four OEMs and 51 Tier 1 suppliers in an effort to spur economic and job growth in the state.

“This unprecedented event, the largest Pure Michigan Business Connect summit to date, brings significant growth opportunities for Michigan companies and more jobs for Michigan residents,” MEDC Chief Executive Officer Steve Arwood said. “Through the collective vision and leadership of FCA, Ford, GM, Toyota and their Tier 1 partners, we are reengineering how business gets done in Michigan. Their commitment to working with Michigan suppliers and growing our economy adds new force to Michigan’s comeback.”

Today’s matchmaking summit gave the participating Michigan companies procurement opportunities with the four automakers and 51 of their Tier 1 suppliers. The buying teams provided more than 450 procurement needs for which they are committed to finding and working with qualified Michigan suppliers.

Businesses from around the state applied and were invited to attend pre-arranged, exclusive purchaser-supplier matchmaking engagements at the summit. In one day, more than 700 unique prescheduled meetings took place between global buying teams and Michigan businesses.

The event opened with a “State of Automotive Purchasing” panel discussion that was moderated by Margaret Baxter, director of Southeast Michigan operations, Warner Norcross Judd. Panelists included Thomas Finelli, vice president, purchasing and supplier quality, FCA North America; Hau Thai-Tang, group vice president, Global Purchasing, Ford Motor Company; Steven Kiefer, vice president global purchasing and supply chain, General Motors Co.; and Robert Young, group vice president, supplier engineering development and cost planning, Toyota.

Launched in 2011, Pure Michigan Business Connect is a public-private alliance of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, state agencies and major Michigan companies and organizations that connects in-state companies to business resources. Companies can find new ways to raise capital, get access to professional business services at little or no cost, connect with each other through a new business-to-business network, and identify potential supplier opportunities, while developing resources to improve their supply chains.

It is estimated that since Pure Michigan Business Connect launched, the program has facilitated more than $2.7 billion in revenue for Michigan companies, which translates into approximately 13,600 jobs for Michigan residents. For more information on Pure Michigan Business Connect, visit http://www.michiganbusiness.org/pmbc/.


FCA US LLC, a North American automaker headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. FCA US designs, engineers, manufactures and sells vehicles under the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and FIAT brands, as well as the SRT performance vehicle designation. The company also distributes the Alfa Romeo 4C model and Mopar products. FCA US is building upon the historic foundations of Chrysler, the innovative American automaker first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925; and Fiat, founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli.

FCA, the seventh-largest automaker in the world based on total annual vehicle sales, is an international automotive group. FCA is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "FCAU" and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario under the symbol “FCA.”

Ford Motor Company
 is a global automotive and mobility company based in Dearborn, Mich. With about 199,000 employees and 67 plants worldwide, the company’s core business includes designing, manufacturing, marketing, financing and servicing a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs and electrified vehicles, as well as Lincoln luxury vehicles. At the same time, Ford is aggressively pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility, the company’s plan to be a leader in connectivity, mobility, autonomous vehicles, the customer experience, and data and analytics. For more information regarding Ford, its products worldwide or Ford Motor Credit Company, visit www.corporate.ford.com.

General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at http://www.gm.com.

Toyota (NYSE:TM), the world's top automaker and creator of the Prius and the Mirai fuel cell vehicle, is committed to building vehicles for the way people live through our Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands. Over the past 50 years, we’ve built more than 30 million cars and trucks in North America, where we operate 14 manufacturing plants (10 in the U.S.) and directly employ more than 44,000 people (more than 34,000 in the U.S.). Our 1,800 North American dealerships (1,500 in the U.S.) sold more than 2.8 million cars and trucks (nearly 2.5 million in the U.S.) in 2015 – and about 80 percent of all Toyota vehicles sold over the past 20 years are still on the road today. 

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business supporting talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy. 

For more on the MEDC and its initiatives, visit MichiganBusiness.org. For Michigan travel news, updates and information, visit michigan.org. Michigan residents interested in seeking employment with any of Michigan’s growing companies should check mitalent.org, where more than 97,000 jobs are currently available in a variety of industries.


Attributable to Tom Finelli, vice president - Purchasing and Supplier Quality, FCA – North America:

“Programs like today's Pure Michigan Automotive Summit are critical to connecting innovative, local companies with potential customers. At FCA US, we embrace opportunities to create meaningful, long-term business connections that can ultimately lead to positive economic outcomes for all stakeholders – our supplier partners, our Company, our customers and, in turn, our Michigan-based communities.”

Attributable to Hau Thai-Tang, Ford group vice president, Global Purchasing: 

“Ford Motor Company is committed to economic development in the great state of Michigan. We are a proud supporter of these matchmaking events which encourage engagement and dialogue, and help build stronger businesses and communities.”

Attributable to Steve Kiefer, vice president Global Purchasing and Supply Chain, General Motors Co.:

“As home to our global headquarters, global engineering center, global propulsion systems headquarters and twenty two other facilities, Michigan is extremely important to General Motors. Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Pure Michigan Business Connect events provide a great opportunity for us to continue to nurture relationships with Michigan-based companies and ensure their innovation is a part of our future.”

Attributable to Jim Holloway, Purchasing General Manager, Toyota: 

“Toyota is excited to participate in today's Pure Michigan Automotive Summit. As we move our procurement operations to Michigan, we look forward to an even stronger connection and collaboration with organizations like MEDC to build economic opportunity in the state.”

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.