By 2020, the global automotive industry is projected to expand by 31 percent as the world’s growing middle class acquires personal transportation. In addition, the industry is rapidly transforming to enable the automobile to serve as an extension of an individual’s office or home while becoming more energy efficient.
For more than a century, Michigan has been the center of the American automotive industry, and the center of the global industry for almost as long. Michigan is the number one state for vehicle research and development, the number one state for vehicle production and home to 47 of the top 50 automotive suppliers. It is now uniquely equipped to broaden its unmatched network of suppliers, talent, and R&D capabilities and become the global center of mobility – everything that helps people move from place to place.
We should aspire to make our existing automotive cluster the hub of many more, related clusters in areas we know will emerge given the demands of the global mobility market. For instance, Michigan should be home to the greatest concentration anywhere of R&D and manufacturing of the most technologically challenging parts of electric vehicles.
Similarly, this should be the place where the cutting-edge research occurs on connected vehicle technologies, such as GPS-assisted parking. With proper support and planning, there is no reason why Michigan shouldn’t be the location where game-changing, driverless automated vehicles become a commercial reality. Finally, our automotive expertise can also be leveraged into developing multi-modal systems of transportation for an increasingly urbanized world. For example, solutions that allow personal forms of transportation to integrate seamlessly with public transit systems would minimize congestion and reduce emissions.
In short, Michigan has the history, the know-how and the opportunity not only to remain the world leader in designing and building cars and trucks, but the global leader in developing the most innovative solutions to devising new forms of personal transportation for a growing, more urbanized and connected world!