©2018 Michigan Economic Development Corporation

Michigan auto adviser travels to China to strengthen relationships with Chinese auto companies

Friday, October 11, 2013

Kathy Fagan

LANSING, Mich. – Building upon Gov. Rick Snyder’s investment mission to Asia last month, the state’s newly appointed Automotive Adviser Nigel Francis will lead an automotive-focused delegation on a nine-day mission to China beginning Oct. 14 to accelerate co-investment and trade between Michigan and Chinese automotive companies, Snyder announced today.

“More than 100 Chinese auto-related companies have established operations in Michigan, and my recent mission to China reaffirmed there are great opportunities to open doors for Michigan auto suppliers and attract more Chinese auto companies to invest and create more jobs here,” Snyder said. “Nigel and his team will build on and strengthen relationships we developed and carry the message that Michigan is the location of choice for automotive investment in North America.”

The mission will include two days at the Global Automotive Forum in Wuhan China, with executives from nearly all of China’s automotive OEMs and top Tier I suppliers. The delegation will also visit the automotive clusters of Shanghai and Ningbo. At each stop, the delegation will be hosted by local governments, attend meetings with companies, give presentations and conduct tailored matchmaking meetings.

The delegation will include executives from these Michigan companies: 

  • Clayton & McKervey: International tax and accounting services (Southfield)
  • KC Mehta Consulting: Automotive consulting services (Rochester Hills)
  • Dow Corning Corporation: Silicone and specialty lubricants (Midland, office in Shanghai)
  • Mark One Corporation: Automation and surface preparation equipment (Gaylord)
  • Pilot Systems International, LLC: Powertrain controls systems engineering, regulatory compliance management, alternative fuel systems, product lifecycle management (Farmington Hills)

Also joining Francis on the mission will be MEDC Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Hilfinger, MEDC China Business Development Manager Brian Connors, and China Association of Greater Detroit President Lisa Gray.

“Michigan’s strategic priorities for success in our automotive industry are directly connected to global outreach, and China is our highest priority and greatest opportunity,” Francis said. “Michigan can partner with China on every step of its automotive industry evolution and growth – from R&D and prototyping to clean tech and connected vehicles.”

As China’s automotive industry grows, many companies are coming to Michigan. More than 100 Chinese auto-related companies currently have operations in the state. Total Chinese investment here is $1 billion, with 95 percent of that automotive related. Michigan ranks ninth in the U.S. in Chinese investment and third in number of deals.

Michigan’s auto industry is getting stronger every day, with numbers in employment, production and sales surging:  

  • U.S. vehicle production volume is projected to be 15.3 million in 2013, and Michigan’s share is estimated to be more than 21 percent of the total.
  • New vehicle spending in the U.S. is up 48 percent since 2009, nearly $500 billion.
  • Michigan automotive employment has increased 31 percent between 2009 and 2013.
  • From January to May of this year, Michigan-based auto companies have announced nearly $760 million in new investments and are expected to create approximately 6,000 jobs.

Francis was appointed Michigan’s auto adviser and senior vice president of the Automotive Industry Office by Gov. Snyder on Sept. 1. The Automotive Industry Office and automotive adviser position are housed within the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to actively support and collaborate with Michigan’s business attraction specialists to define Michigan as the global center for automotive activity.

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, 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

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