Glitz and Camo at the 2016 North American International Auto Show

 

In the coming days, thousands of members of the media, industry and car enthusiasts will converge on Detroit to check out the shiny new vehicles, glitzy displays and cutting edge prototypes we’ve come to expect at this annual extravaganza.

But, there’s even more to see at this year’s Auto Show. Head down the main escalator to the Garden Level for an eye-opening learning experience and find out why the U.S. Army has called southeast Michigan home for 75 years.

U.S. Army TACOM LCMC (Tank Automotive Command) and TARDEC (Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center) located at the Detroit Arsenal in Warren, MI will exhibit some of the many vehicles and systems that serve the men and women who serve our nation.

Army TARDEC, responsible for the research and development of fuel technologies and the other integral technology solutions for the Army and their other DoD affiliates, partners with Michigan’s stellar universities and state of the art technology firms to develop the vehicles and systems used by our soldiers around the world. In return, TARDEC offers talent, experience and one-of-a-kind testing facilities to the military, defense industry and domestic automotive companies and suppliers.

Dr. Paul Rogers, Director of U.S. Army TARDEC says, “We bring the best of the automotive industry to the warfighter with some of the most talented engineers and scientists in the industry who have a passion for their work as well as the success of the U.S. Army mission to which they contribute.”

The Army is able to leverage the auto suppliers, logistical expertise and cutting edge technology development available in this region to field the most technologically advanced military vehicles in the world.

The cars we drive everyday share DNA with military vehicles. On board computers, drive systems and fuel technologies developed and produced in Michigan power both. Working with Michigan’s auto suppliers and companies benefits auto buyers, the military and the American Taxpayer.

So, after you’re finished kicking the tires on those glitzy new cars upstairs, head downstairs to see the camo and learn about the military missions that depend on the vehicles and technologies that come together, here in Michigan.

Time:                     January 11 – January 24

Location:              NAIAS Cobo Hall, Garden Level, right of Atrium stage.

Details:                 U.S Army Vehicles and systems Exhibit

Creative Design displays

System Experts to answer questions

About the Author: Vicki Selva is the Executive Consultant at the Michigan Defense Center, MEDC

 

 

Progress is standard at AGM Automotive

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) means it’s that time of year again to think about the prospect of what possibilities lie ahead. What will this year bring, and how will we progress? But at AGM Automotive, progress is not something new to think about at the beginning of the year – it is a constant, ever-present goal and a core value of the company.

What started as a small lighting company in 2001 has progressed to include a product range featuring ambient lighting, courtesy lighting, overhead consoles, electronic assemblies and plastic components. We serve OEM, Tier 1 and Tier 2 customers within a global network including locations in North America, Central America, Europe and Asia. AGM’s global headquarters are based in Troy, Michigan. AGM’s expansion included the recent acquisition of Durmont, which brought carpets and floor mats to our product line.

AGMAGM’s ninth and newest 80,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, which recently opened in Sterling Heights, is all about progress – it is located on Progress Drive, will provide opportunities for nearly 50 new employees, and was chosen for its location in Macomb County to provide progressively expanded capabilities to better serve our customers. A ribbon cutting ceremony and reception sponsored by the Sterling Heights Chamber of Commerce was held at the facility in September 2015 and included remarks from Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel and Sterling Heights Mayor Michael C. Taylor.

Progress has also been something to strive toward for our products. Our product range has expanded to include the exterior environment. We are also progressing behind the scenes with a newly expanded R&D department to increase the pace of innovation. New investments have brought rapid prototyping capabilities in-house, and we have expanded the use of electronic sensors in engineered optics.  AGM now has products in 26 vehicles featured at the NAIAS.

The automotive industry has shown tremendous progress in the past year as well. New innovations in lighting, particularly with ambient lighting, show that innovation and technology are on the forefront and high on the radar for AGM’s customers.  Interior electronics are becoming smarter, and the shift toward smart technology pushes us to look for ways to lead the industry with niche technology and products which will add functionality and grab the attention of the customer.

AGM looks forward to the NAIAS each year, not only to see the new models that will be presented, but to see how vehicles have progressed from last year’s show and what lies ahead for the future. We are proud to have our products included at the NAIAS and are excited to attend this year’s events.

Erica Dovitz is the marketing specialist at AGM Automotive.

Macomb County’s Axalta Coating Systems turning NAIAS blue

Axalta Coating Systems, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, is the presenting sponsor of the NAIAS Charity Preview this Friday. Since Axalta recently announced its North American Automotive Color of the Year 2016 – Brilliant Blue, it only makes sense to give the Charity Preview a little color.

“The start of the New Year is a perfect time to introduce Brilliant Blue,” said Nancy Lockhart, Axalta color marketing manager. “This new beginning is charged by optimism and fresh thoughts, and Axalta’s new hue represents positive energy and vibrance.” Lockhart works out of Axalta’s worldwide transportation headquarters in Macomb County.

Axalta
Brilliant Blue is Axalta Coating Systems North American Automotive Color of the Year 2016

Brilliant Blue is a mid-shade blue that has both depth and vividness with slight turquoise highlights. It is made with Axalta’s high chroma Vermeera™ technology using a multi-layer process to achieve both an intense blue color and a unique sparkle effect.

 

For the Charity Preview, the largest one-night fundraiser in the country, Axalta is bring Brilliant Blue to the front in a number of ways. Greeters at the show will have blue ties and scarves, the banner that is cut to open the show is blue, and attendees will be able to purchase a new cocktail, Blue Frost.

“At Axalta, we take pride in being able to support such an exceptional, international event that provides so much to numerous local charities,” said David Fischer, Axalta vice president for strategy and growth. “As a trusted partner in helping automakers develop the appearance and character of their vehicle brands, the Axalta team looks forward to adding a little color to this black-tie affair.”

Axalta is a leading global company focused solely on coatings and providing customers with innovative, colorful, beautiful and sustainable solutions. From light OEM vehicles, commercial vehicles and refinish applications to electric motors, buildings and pipelines, our coatings are designed to prevent corrosion, increase productivity and enable the materials we coat to last longer. With 150 years of experience in the coatings industry, the 12,800 people of Axalta continue to find ways to serve our more than 120,000 customers in 130 countries better every day with the finest coatings, application systems and technology. For more information, visit axaltacoatingsystems.com and follow us @axalta on Twitter and on LinkedIn.

About the Author: John Wray is the Global Marketing Manager for Axalta Coating Systems 

 

 

 

Macomb County brakes for positive effects from auto show

 

The North American International Auto Show is a world-renowned event bringing thousands of industry experts, business people and individuals who plain out just have enthusiasm for automobiles to Detroit every January.

 

And why not? The automobile industry is big business in Detroit. But its impacts are also felt significantly in Macomb County. In fact, the automotive industry is an instrumental component of Macomb County’s economy. Here, the industry is made up of nearly 500 companies, employing more than 44,000 individuals. That is a huge impact locally.

 

According to Russell Maisano, general manager of Sterling Heights Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM, a dealership that in 2015 marked its 50th anniversary in business here in Macomb County, the impacts of the auto show have become even more immediate in the past couple of years. He said attendees are really responding to what they see at the event.

 

“It has a tremendous impact on business,” he said. “Once people go down there, it makes them really enthused.”

 

RenegadeMaisano said in years past, the dealership would stock about 150-200 cars to accommodate auto show buyers, but this year, they have just over 1,200 on the lot.

 

Most of the models being shown at the auto show can be purchased at local dealerships, but there are a few that aren’t available until late spring. Maisano said there’s a “big pickup in high-end luxury models” in Macomb County, which trends with national statistics. For example, in 2015, the average new car transaction price was $33,188 – up 20 percent since 2005 when the average price of a new car was $27,655. Current low interest rates and stable gas prices also have industry experts predicting sales in 2016 to grow to 18 million.

 

“Last year, we broke all records,” said Maisano about the sales directly made at the dealership both during and after the auto show. “They see the new cars and it gives them a little spark.”

 

Sterling Heights Dodge is located at 40111 Van Dyke Avenue, Sterling Heights.

 

Sarah Cormier is a contributor to the Make Macomb Your Home blog and works in the Macomb County Executive Office.  

Plenty to celebrate: Macomb County driving auto industry success

NAIASind.JPGMore than 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ countries will come to Metro Detroit and attend the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this year, exposing our automakers and suppliers at the NAIAS to greater global visibility.

Macomb County has established itself as a premier location for the resurgence of the U.S. automotive industry. Last year, the county ranked third in the nation for manufacturing job growth. As the NAIAS is set to take place this month at the freshly renovated Cobo Convention Center, there is reason to celebrate.

Since 2010, through 109 separate investments greater than $1 million, the auto industry has invested more than $5.3 billion in Macomb County. These investments and commitments made in Macomb County are paying dividends for the automakers. U.S. new-car sales continued showing growth December resulting in automakers reporting their highest annual sales ever, speeding past the previous record that was set before the recession began back in 2000.

These refinements in facilities and operations have led to substantial gains in new car sales. This past year, U.S. automakers reported their highest annual sales ever, speeding past previous records that were set back in 2000. Industry analysts estimate 17.5 million vehicles were sold in 2015, surpassing the 2000 record of 17.4 million. General Motors sold 3,082,366 vehicles, for a 5 percent gain. Fiat Chrysler posted a 12.6 percent annual gain to 2,200,834, pushing their sales gain streak to 69 straight months. Ford Motor Co. also reported their best December and sold 2,603,062 vehicles in 2015.

The “Big Three” (Ford, GM, Chrysler) employ more than 35,000 individuals within Macomb County, operating 10 facilities totaling more than 25 million square feet. Overall, in Macomb County the automotive industry is made up of nearly 500 companies that employ more than 44,000 individuals.

Not only are volumes increasing, but so are car prices. According to Kelley Blue Book, estimates for the average transaction climbed $297 (0.9%) from 2014 values to $34,428.

It’s not just the “Big Three” that are on display. Many of Macomb County’s automotive companies are celebrating the event. Axalta Coating Systems of Mount Clemens, a leading global supplier of liquid and powder coatings, is the presenting sponsor of the NAIAS Charity Preview, which is consistently the largest single-night fundraiser in the United States.

At the 2015 show, 55 vehicles made their worldwide debut, bringing the total to 1,467 premieres since the show began back in 1984. As show attendance continues to grow and U.S. auto sales are expected to break their all-time annual record, the 2016 event is expected to be a massive celebration of the automotive industry.

If you have never been, this is a great year to check it out. Even the Detroit Tigers will be on hand to marvel at our region’s innovation!

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a Senior Planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business & Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.

Chinese delegation tours Macomb County

 

Jack 1On Monday, Nov. 30, the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development had the pleasure of showcasing Macomb County’s assets to a visiting Chinese delegation from Hai’an County in the Jiangsu Province.

I specialize in working with businesses from Asia that are interested in investing in Macomb County as well as with local businesses trying to get their products into Asia. Through our department’s partnership with the Detroit Chinese Business Association (DCBA), I was able to arrange a tour for Mr. Zhang Yinglai, the party secretary of the CPC Qutang Town Committee in Hai’an; Mr. Guo Hengjun, the chairman of Hai’an Qutang Chamber of Commerce; and Mr. Mao Shihong, the director of the Hai’an Qutang Business Development Department.

The first stop of the tour was at the Michigan Technical Education Center at Macomb Community College. The delegation was able to see students training for skilled manufacturing jobs, ensuring Macomb County will continue to have a very skilled workforce.

Our next stop was the Macomb-OU INCubator at the Velocity Center. They learned about how small businesses can rent space at a very reasonable rate until they grow enough to move out and into their own facility. The incubator provides all the services small businesses need, including assistance with business plans and financing. The delegation had time to talk to one of the businesses there to see if there was a way to work together in the future.

Jack 2The last stop was at COMTEC, which really impressed the Hai’an delegation. They were very interested in how all of the services were housed under one roof because they are in the process of building a facility in Hai’an to bring multiple departments together, just like how Macomb County did.

The day ended with a very nice dinner reception where I had the opportunity to speak to more than 65 business professionals, DCBA sponsors and guests about the business-friendly environment Macomb County offers. Oakland County Deputy Executive Matthew Gibb and Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority CEO Tom Watkins were also in attendance and addressed the delegation before Mr. Zhang gave a keynote presentation detailing the Hai’an investment environment.

Our department reaches out to foreign businesses to bring investment to Macomb County. We can also help local manufactures sell their products in Asia. There are many global opportunities available in Macomb County.

Jack Johns is a senior economic development specialist for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

 

Employers hiring for top jobs feeling the pressure: Part 1 of 2

Originally published in Crain’s Detroit Business on December 8, 2015

Southeast Michigan workers are benefiting from strong employer demand, which is at a record high following the Great Recession, but employers are having trouble finding the talent they need for success.

In quarter three (Q3) 2015, the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) found that regional employers posted over 137,500 online job ads—a 12.5 percent increase over the previous quarter, and a 60.1 percent increase compared to the same quarter one year ago. For more information, see WIN’s recently released quarter three labor market reports.

While demand for workers has continued to increase for over a year, the lack of aligned worker supply has employers struggling to fill many key open positions. This is in part because the labor force in in southeast Michigan (and the rest of the nation) plummeted during the recession but has failed to recover. Workers have either retired, decided to go back to school/stay in school longer, or otherwise stopped looking for traditional employment. Another reason is that there are simply not enough workers with education and skills that match top-demand occupations.

Some jobs feel the pinch of these dynamics more than others. The supply-and-demand occupation report from Career Builder includes a hiring indicator measuring labor pressure, which determines the difficulty of recruiting for a particular occupation in a specific location compared to all other occupations and locations.[1] Just six of the top 25 of the top in-demand occupations in southeast Michigan had a rating high enough for recruiting to be considered moderately easy or better, meaning that 19 of the remaining top 25 are difficult to hire for. Below are a few examples of the labor pressure metric, highlighting three of the top jobs in southeast Michigan. NOTE: The Career Builder tool examines the ratio of job postings and jobseekers using paid online job ads only.

truck driverssecretariesMech engineersMech engineers (1)

A hiring indicator score in the yellow or red area signals that the occupation is experiencing more hiring difficulty than an occupation with a number in the green. Secretaries and administrative assistants have a hiring indicator of 84, meaning that 84% of all other occupations and locations have more difficulty recruiting talent. In contrast, truck drivers have a hiring indicator of 21, meaning that just 21% of all other occupations and locations have more difficulty recruiting. Nine of the top jobs in southeast Michigan, highlighted in WIN’s Q3 2015 report, had a hiring indicator score lower than 50, signaling that recruiting for these positions was relatively difficult in southeast Michigan compared to all other occupations.

Labor Pressure Q3 2015The table below highlights the labor pressure detail for the top 25 posted jobs in southeast Michigan during Q3 2015.

Hiring for the top in-demand jobs in southeast Michigan may be made more difficult for several reasons, including technical skill and higher qualification requirements. For example, two-thirds of the top 25 occupations during Q3 2015 required a bachelor’s degree, a credential that just one-fourth of Michiganders hold. Of the six occupations with relative ease in recruiting, just one—sales representatives, non-technical non-scientific products—required a bachelor’s degree.

Quarter three is historically when employment and employer demand peaks for many counties in southeast Michigan, and the data collected often points to upcoming trends. In this case, anticipated trends include continuously high and growing employer demand and relatively low labor force participation. Should the labor force in southeast Michigan (and the nation, for that matter) continue to maintain lower education levels and a mismatch in technical skills and experiences, employers will continue to have difficulty finding talent to fill their open positions and employment growth with slow.

***The follow-up blog in this series will dive deeper into the educational attainment and training requirements of the top jobs in the region.

This blog was developed with data and research compiled by Hector Acosta, research and data analyst at WIN.

[1] The hiring indicator score is calculated using data from CareerBuilder, a third party aggregator, and Economic Modeling Specialists, Intl (EMSI).