Impact of Macomb County suppliers on display at NAIAS

With $7.37 billion worth of automotive investment in the last six years, Macomb County has established itself as the ideal place for businesses to thrive. Major automotive suppliers have chosen to locate their businesses here, invest in state-of-the-art facilities and employ thousands of workers. Their innovative technologies and products are leading the industry and are on display at the 2017 North American International Auto Show.

Axalta Coating Systems in Mount Clemens is a global supplier of liquid and powder coatings. They develop, manufacture and sell brilliant automotive basecoat colors and topcoats as well as corrosion protection electrocoats. They serve customers ranging from small businesses to global OEMs. In 2014 and 2015, Axalta received General Motors’ Supplier of the Year award for going above and beyond GM’s requirements, providing customers with the most innovative technologies and the industry’s best quality.

DSC_1616.JPGAs market leaders, this is the third year Axalta has chosen the automotive color of the year. After analyzing global preferences, Axalta determined the 2017 color of the year to be gallant gray – a sleek alternative to standard silver containing shades of both blue and green. Axalta invited students from Roseville High School to paint pedal cars in gallant gray which will be given away throughout the year.

“These students are getting great experience learning how to work with aftermarket paint and prepare these vehicles for a paint job,” Axalta Marketing Manager John Wray told the Detroit Free Press last week.

Gallant gray will also make an appearance at the Charity Preview, of which Axalta is the presenting sponsor for the second year in a row. The ribbon cutting will feature a gallant gray ribbon and gray accents will be incorporated into the entire event. The Charity Preview will be held this Friday at Cobo Center. Last year, this lavish event raised more than $5.2 million for children’s charities, and there is no reason to doubt this year won’t be even more generous.

Magna is another impressive supplier with a presence at the auto show. Magna Seating is a foam seating production facility in Shelby Township employing 150 people. They are innovators and leaders in the development and manufacturing of high-quality seating systems, mechanism and hardware solutions, specialty mechanism solutions, seat structures and foam and trim products for the global automotive industry.

In 2015, Magna Seating won a Macomb Business Award for energy efficiency. The company has invested in LED lighting, e-waste recycling and a variable-speed drive air compressor to make their processes and 60,000-square-foot facility as efficient as possible.

The technologies and products suppliers like Axalta and Magna are designing and manufacturing have a global impact that reaches far beyond Macomb County’s borders. Yesterday, Macomb County Executive Mark A. Hackel got a close look at the innovation happening at these companies, and you can too by attending the NAIAS.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

Truck of the Year finalist has Macomb County ties

The North American International Auto Show kicks off next week, and some of the highly-anticipated reveals will include the winners of the North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards. While Car and Truck of the Year awards have been given out for more than 20 years, Utility Vehicle of the Year is a new award added this year due to the increased demand for SUVs.

2017-NAIAS-website-carousel-newest.jpgMacomb County has had a direct connection to several of the past award winners. In 2014, the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray designed at the General Motors Technical Center in Warren won Car of the Year. In 2013, the Cadillac ATS also designed at the Tech Center won, and that same year, the Ram 1500 built at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Warren Truck Assembly Plant won Truck of the Year. This year, the Ford F-Series Super Duty is the contender with Macomb County ties.

The 2017 Super Duty features a new fully-boxed frame made from over 95 percent high-strength steel, conventional and gooseneck towing, and seven cameras for enhanced visibility. This full-size pickup truck incorporates military-grade aluminum alloy, resulting in a vehicle that is 350 pounds lighter. According to Ford’s website, “no other gas-powered full-size pickup delivers as much torque for jobs calling for rugged pulling power.”

And the engine that is capable of such impressive torque is made right here in Macomb County at the Ford Romeo Engine Plant. Romeo Engine opened in 1973 and is one of several Ford facilities located throughout Macomb County. The plant is more than 2 million square feet and employs 527 people.

ford-f-series_super_duty-2017-1280-0eThe North American Car, Truck and Utility Vehicle of the Year awards honor innovation, design, safety, performance, technology, driver satisfaction and value. The winners are determined by a group 60 professional automotive journalists who serve as judges. The process of selecting finalists began last June and included three rounds of voting. Winners will be announced Monday, Jan. 9.

Caitlin Gerds-Habermas is an associate planner in Business Outreach and Communications for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.