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Multinational automotive company invests $22.3M in Oakland County facilities, creates 105 jobs

The North American subsidiary of India-based Mahindra, Mahindra Automotive North America Manufacturing, is expanding in both the cities of Pontiac and Auburn Hills. The company has invested $22.3 million in facilities in each city, creating a total of 105 jobs.

In Pontiac, Mahindra will lease and transform a former General Motors facility into a warehousing and parts distribution center.

In Auburn Hills, the company has announced that its pre-existing facility will be upgraded to become its North American automotive headquarters. The facility will also include an engineering center. Three of its off-road utility vehicles and prototypes will be manufactured there.

As a result of its investment, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has awarded Mahindra an $850,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. According to MEDC officials, Michigan beat out Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, North Carolina, and Texas in competing for the jobs and investment.

"When an international company with a reach like Mahindra chooses Michigan for the third time in four years, that is a statement about our state’s business attractiveness, talented workforce, and leadership in automotive manufacturing," Jeff Mason, CEO of MEDC, said in a statement. "We’re pleased to support this global powerhouse as it further expands in Michigan and brings high-paying jobs to Michigan residents."

The 105 new jobs created by the development brings its Michigan employment numbers to 250. What's more, officials from Mahindra say the company plans on creating an additional 400 jobs and $600M in investment through 2020.

This is the first new OEM operation in Southeast Michigan in over 25 years, according to a release from Mahindra.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

Legal street racing registration open for Dodge's Roadkill Nights


Auburn Hills automaker FCA US announced that registration is open for legal drag racing on Woodward Avenue as part of the Roadkill Nights event, sponsored by Dodge and TEN: The Enthusiast Network, which will take place on Aug. 12 at the M-1 Concourse in Pontiac. The drag racing event and car festival has a total cash purse of $29,000, with $10,000 awarded to the fastest Dodge car.

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Roadkill Nights powered by Dodge returns to Pontiac's M1 Concourse


Roadkill Nights Powered by Dodge, a drag racing event and car festival, today announced it will return to the M1 Concourse in Pontiac for its second year on Aug. 12.  

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Dodge partners with Universal Studios on The Fate of the Furious


Auburn Hills-based automaker FCA US announced that Dodge has entered a promotional partnership with Universal Pictures for The Fate of the Furious, which will arrive in theatres on April 14. Dodge has been part of the Fast and Furious franchise since its inception, and is launching a multitier marketing campaign including television ads, social media and digital extensions, and licensed products in advance of the film.

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300 businesses in region receive job survey to Create Profiles for employment in autonomous vehicles

Businesses in Southeast Michigan this week are being asked to identify the skills and abilities employers require of potential hires wanting jobs in the rapidly evolving connected/autonomous vehicle industry.

About 300 employers from Oakland County and surrounding counties in Southeast Michigan were sent the Skills Needs Assessment Project (SNAP) Connected Mobility survey to help determine what knowledge, skills and abilities – from the employer’s perspective – are necessary for job seekers to succeed in the industry. Original equipment manufacturers, suppliers and information technology are among the companies being surveyed.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said information gleaned from the survey will be used to create customized job profiles for educators to help develop curriculum and content, give real-time employer-driven information to students and adults to help them make important career decisions and to create a pipeline of qualified job applicants for employers. Businesses have until Nov. 30 to complete the survey.

“This is a highly technical and rapidly changing field and we’re asking these employers what they are looking for when hiring instead of us guessing what they might need,” Patterson said. “This survey – the first of its kind in the nation – is creating the framework to define the jobs that are not yet defined, the jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago.”

The SNAP Connected Mobility survey is the fourth in a series of employer job surveys commissioned by Oakland County and the Oakland County Workforce Development Board. SNAP began in 2009 with a study of skills and knowledge required for jobs in the Emerging Sectors®, which identifies top growth sectors in the region such as medical, communications, information technology and advanced materials. A second study was completed in 2013 on advanced manufacturing. The most recent was completed in 2014 identified the challenges and job opportunities facing area health systems. The first three reports are available online at under the BUSINESS section of www.AdvantageOakland.com.

Oakland County has been at the forefront of the movement towards connected car/autonomous vehicles. Patterson’s connected vehicle task force is beginning to implement a countywide connected vehicle ecosystem that will act as a pilot for the entire region. The county is home to dozens of major research and development facilities for many of the global companies operating in mobility including Autoliv, Continental, Denso, Delphi, Google, Lear, Nissan, P3 and Valeo.

“The technology and the workforce for the future of mobility are all right here,” said Deputy County Executive Matthew Gibb. “The study results will give us real-time employer-driven information to keep Oakland County and Michigan in the driver’s seat.”

The survey is being conducted by EdEn Inc., a Rochester-based research firm which produced the first three surveys. The project emanated from a recommendation of the Oakland County Business Roundtable Workforce & Education Committee and is funded by Oakland County, the Oakland County Workforce Development Board/Oakland County Michigan Works! through a grant from Michigan’s Workforce Development Agency and the U.S. Department of Labor.

The survey results are expected in early 2017, said Jennifer Llewellyn, manager of the Oakland County Michigan Works! division. Employers who did not receive the survey but wish to participate can do so at www.OaklandCountySkillsSurvey.com. Those with questions about the project should contact Llewellyn at llewellynj@oakgov.com.

Orion Township auto plant ranked eighth in nation for renewable energy usage

Workers at the General Motors Orion Assembly plant are readying the Chevrolet Bolt EV for its debut, and they're doing so in one of the nation's top facilities for renewable energy usage.
Orion Assembly was recently ranked eighth among users of renewable energy generated onsite among a group formed by the U.S. EPA, the Green Power Partners. It's news that fits for the Bolt EV, GM's new all-electric vehicle.

According to the company, 54 percent of the General Motors Orion Assembly plant is powered by clean energy. GM accomplishes this by capturing and using the methane gas emitted from a nearby landfill, turning the decomposing garbage into energy. Renewable energy accounts for $1 million in savings a year for the plant in Orion Township.

In addition to utilizing methane gas from a nearby landfill, Orion Assembly also sends energy back to the grid with its 350-kilowatt solar array. While it has a goal of promoting using 125 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020, the company says it will have already exceeded that goal before the end of 2016.

The plant also cuts down energy costs through its three-wet process, where three layers of paint are applied before running the Bolt EV for just one trip through the drying oven, rather than three. 

"EPA applauds Orion Assembly for its innovation in generating green power from an onsite landfill gas energy system and for taking a leadership position on the environment," says James Critchfield, manager of the Green Power Partnership.

The Green Power Partnership is a program launched by the EPA in 2001, encouraging companies to embrace renewable electricity through technical assistance and recognition. According to the EPA, green power is that of the highest environmental benefit.

In 2013, Orion Assembly met the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Challenge for Industry when it lowered its energy intensity by 67 percent, avoiding 42,758 tons of CO2 emissions.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

FCA U.S. launches public cybersecurity program


FCA U.S. in Auburn Hills has launched a public bug bounty program, which gives customers the opportunity to receive between $150 and $1,500 for reporting potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the auto manufacturer’s vehicles and connected services.

“There are a lot of people that like to tinker with their vehicles or tinker with IT systems,” says Titus Melnyk, senior manager of security architecture at FCA. “We want to encourage independent security researchers to reach out to us and share what they've found so that we can fix potential vulnerabilities before they're an issue for our consumers.” 

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Performance driving instruction event comes to M1 Concourse


Katech Inc., a Clinton Township-based high performance engine developer, will hold a driving event for local performance drivers to gain track experience and training at the newly established M1 Concourse track in Pontiac. 

Track Attack is one of the first public instruction-oriented events to be held at the new motorsports venue.

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Dodge's drag racing event returns to Pontiac ahead of Woodward Dream Cruise


The Dodge brand is once again sponsoring Roadkill Nights, a pop-up car festival and drag racing event, to be held in August in Pontiac before the Woodward Dream Cruise, Presented by Chevrolet.

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BASF: Changes in society, technology inspire future vehicle paint colors


The digitization of daily life will soon inspire new paint colors, with metallic blues, silver, and white hues becoming more popular, according to BASF in its annual automotive color trend report released today.

BASF, a global automobile supplier of industrial coatings and decorative paints and operates a large technical center in Southfield, offers predictions for 2020 and beyond, based on research by the company’s designers.

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Check out these classics and concepts at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, reopening next month


The museum that showcases the beginning of Walter P. Chrysler's namesake automobile company and its subsequent evolution reopens to the public next month. 

The museum traces the roots of Chrysler Corporation, which Walter Chrysler launched in Detroit in 1925 after successfully leading Buick for General Motors and then turning around Willys-Overland Motor Company. 

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Valeo Innovative Electric Supercharger and Water-cooled Condenser win 2016 Automotive News PACE Awar

Valeo has won 2016 Automotive News PACE (Premier Automotive Suppliers' Contribution to Excellence) Awards for its Electric Supercharger and its Water-cooled Condenser. 
The Electric Supercharger is driven by an electric motor that allows faster response time and eliminates the lag effect associated with turbocharging. It is the first electric-driven compressor that will be in mass production and it is designed for 12-volt and 48-volt systems.
The Valeo Water-cooled Condenser uses water instead of air to condensate the conditioning refrigerant vapor. In comparison with conventional condensers, it reduces pressure fluctuations of the refrigerant in the air conditioning system thanks to the inertia of the liquid. Ultra compact, it does not need to be located in front of the radiator allowing free space for additional components, and reducing fan system electrical consumption, while minimizing refrigerant quantity in the air conditioning loop.
Additionally, Ichikoh, a lighting provider based in Japan, in which Valeo Group holds a stake, won a PACE Award for its innovative LED Light Source Module, which fits into a standardized socket, lowering cost and allowing the replacement of the LED alone.
Valeo accepted the honors at the 2016 Automotive News PACE Awards ceremony on April 11, at the Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit. For more than 20 years, the Automotive News PACE Awards have honored superior innovation, technological advancement and business performance among automotive suppliers. This prestigious award is recognized around the world as the industry benchmark for innovation.
In the past, Valeo has won PACE Awards in 2015 for its EG Efficiency Alternator, 2014 for its Back-Over Protection System, 2013 for its Air Intake Module, 2012 for its VisioBlade® wiper system, 2008 for its Park4U® park assist system, 2007 for its Multi-Beam Radar (MBR) blind spot detection system, 2006 for its StARS micro-hybrid system and 2005 for its LaneVue™ lane departure warning system.

Valeo is an automotive supplier, partner to all automakers worldwide. As a technology company, Valeo proposes innovative products and systems that contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions and to the development of intuitive driving.
In 2015, the Group generated sales of 14.5 billion euros and invested over 10% of its original equipment sales in research and development. Valeo has 134 plants, 17 research centers, 35 development centers and 15 distribution platforms, and employs 82,800 people in 30 countries worldwide. Valeo is listed on Euronext Paris and is a member of the CAC 40 index. For more information about the Valeo Group and its activities, please visit our website, www.valeo.com.

Faurecia presents behavioral research on autonomous vehicles at LA Auto Show


Faurecia, a global automotive supplier with offices in Auburn Hills, will share research on behavioral changes that it believes will impact occupants of autonomous vehicles at the Connected Car Expo during the Los Angeles Auto Show.

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Community partnership helps get 'clean diesels' on the roads of Michigan

As part of a collaboration to help address air pollution from diesel engines, the State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), a member of Michigan Clean Diesel Initiative (MiCDI), recently awarded “Clean Diesel” grant financial assistance to Southwest Detroit Environmental Vision (SDEV). This grant will partially fund improvements to three private vehicle fleets, including partial funding to help replace two older refrigerated box trucks in Forgotten Harvest’s fleet.
For Forgotten Harvest’s improvements, MDEQ’s financial support required at least a 75 percent funding match, leading to a broader collaboration to meet the program’s clean air goals. Southfield-based Real Estate One donated the majority of the matching funds to replace one of Forgotten Harvest’s refrigerated box trucks. Troy, Michigan-based Meritor, Inc., a leading global supplier of drivetrain, mobility, braking and aftermarket solutions for commercial vehicle and industrial markets, also contributed matching funds to acquire this new truck. 
The truck dedication will take place at Real Estate One, 25800 Northwestern Highway, Southfield, Michigan, on Friday, September 11 at 3:00 p.m.
MDEQ administers MiCDI funds, which are authorized by the federal Diesel Emission Reduction Act (DERA) and released by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). MDEQ awarded funds to SDEV’s Clean Diesel Program for the purpose of improving air quality by reducing diesel emissions. The diesel equipment on the new replacement trucks will meet or exceed the current highest EPA emissions standards, reducing harmful diesel air pollutants. The new replacement trucks for Forgotten Harvest’s fleet will replace trucks operating primarily in Detroit and in Western Wayne County.
“We are honored for the ‘Clean Diesel’ collaboration with MDEQ and SDEV, which reinforces the environmental benefits of Forgotten Harvest’s mission: rescuing surplus healthy food for distribution to people in need and, thereby, reducing food waste and its associated environmental harm,” said Kirk Mayes, CEO, Forgotten Harvest. “We are humbled and grateful for our involvement with MDEQ, SDEV, Real Estate One and Meritor – for our first new replacement truck under this Clean Diesel Program.”  
Real Estate One is a long-time generous supporter of Forgotten Harvest’s work. “Helping feed people in need while also improving Michigan’s air quality is a double honor for us,” said Stuart Elsea, president, Financial Services. “We regularly have teams volunteer at Forgotten Harvest’s warehouse, and we raise funds along with awareness in support of giving back as part of our corporate social responsibility.  Contributing a major share of the matching funds to purchase this new, replacement truck with ‘clean diesel’ equipment enhances our commitment to the thousands of people Forgotten Harvest serves while providing environmental benefits to our community.”
“We are proud that a Meritor rear axle is the backbone of this new clean diesel truck that will make a difference in so many people’s lives,” said Krista Sohm, vice president, Marketing & Communications for Meritor.
SDEV is one of Detroit’s longest running environmental non-profit organizations, serving the community for over 25 years. “Our Clean Diesel Program began in 2009 and is focused on reducing negative public health and environmental impacts from the significant diesel vehicle traffic in and around Southwest Detroit,” said Kathy Stott, executive director, SDEV. “Our truly collaborative program eliminates over 4,500 tons of diesel pollutants annually. We are proud that this project with Forgotten Harvest, and by extension their supporters, has allowed us to benefit another nonprofit organization, ensuring that their important operation to eliminate food waste and feed people in need can do so while also reducing air pollution from their fleet.”
About Forgotten Harvest 
Oak Park, Michigan-based Forgotten Harvest was formed in 1990 to fight two problems: hunger and waste.  Forgotten Harvest “rescued” nearly 41 million pounds of food last year by collecting surplus prepared and perishable food from over 800 locations, including grocery stores, fruit and vegetable markets, restaurants, caterers, dairies, farmers, wholesale food distributors and other Health Department-approved sources. This donated food, which would otherwise go to waste, is delivered free-of-charge to 280 emergency food providers in the metro Detroit area.  Forgotten Harvest has been ranked as a four-star charity by Charity Navigator for nine consecutive years.  Learn more about Forgotten Harvest and how to help drive hunger from our community at www.forgottenharvest.org.

LTU exhibit on mid-century automotive design opens April 17

“American Dreaming: Detroit’s Golden Age of Automotive Design,” the first comprehensive exhibition to offer a look inside the design studios of Detroit’s automakers from 1946 to 1973, will run from April 17 to May 2 at Lawrence Technological University.
The exhibition will be open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays in the gallery of LTU’s University Technology and Learning Center, 21000 West Ten Mile Road, Southfield. Admission is free.
The exhibition kicks off with an opening reception on Friday, April 17, from 4-8 p.m. in the UTLC Gallery and lobby. Many retired automotive designers who have loaned their original art will be in attendance. This event is open to the public at no charge.
On Wednesday, April 29, from 7-9 p.m. Keith Nagara, director of LTU’s transportation design program, will lead a panel of retired automotive designers and art historians in a discussion about the art of the automotive industry and its place in American art history. Admission is free to this program in the Architecture Building auditorium at Lawrence Tech.
In an effort to gain market share in the post-World War II era, Detroit-based automakers hired university-trained artists to produce the most visually appealing cars. This was a time when styling and design were highly valued by automakers, and artists had the opportunity to shape the industry and change the look of the entire country. What makes this exhibition particularly remarkable is that the car company policies mandated preliminary artwork to be destroyed when the final designs were selected for production, so the vast majority of this artwork has disappeared. 
Sponsored by LTU’s College of Architecture and Design, the exhibition has been organized and curated by Robert Edwards and Greg Salustro, co-producers of a feature-length documentary film, “American Dreaming,” now in production. Salustro and Edwards, both native Detroiters, have been fascinated by these artists and their artwork and want share what they’ve discovered with fans of graphic art everywhere. Their forthcoming film features interviews with the designers whose creative imaginations launched the golden age of automotive Americana.
“We want to shine a bright light into the world of Detroit’s automotive design studios and recognize the artists of this golden age of car design,” explained Edwards of Salustro/Edwards Productions. 
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers more than 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and Management. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 100 universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus include over 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.
39 Automotive Articles | Page: | Show All
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