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January 13: Ford, Volkswagen Win 2015 North American Truck, Car of the Year

Ford, Volkswagen Win 2015 North American Truck, Car of the Year

The North American International Auto Show got off to an exciting start on Monday with the 2015 North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year awards.

Ford Motor Co. won Truck of the Year for its innovative all aluminum-bodied F-150. In accepting the award, Ford Executive Vice President Joe Hinrich said the company is honored to be named a North American Car and Truck/Utility of the Year award recipient for an eighth year. Hinrich described the truck as the “smartest, toughest, most capable F-150 ever.” Read about Ford’s lineup, including an interview with CEO Mark Fields, in the Detroiter.

Volkswagen Group of America’s compact Golf won the Car of the Year award for its refinement, consumer cost and fuel efficiency. The awards are voted on by a panel of 57 jurors representing journalists in print, online and broadcast publications. For additional coverage of the awards, click here.

Action Packed Opening Day at North American International Auto Show

Global automakers looking to make a big splash at the opening of the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) yesterday didn’t disappoint. Below are some highlights from the first of two Press Preview Days on Monday.
Audi unveiled its new full-size luxury SUV, the Q7, which is 716 pounds lighter than its predecessors and boasts increased passenger space and three rows of seats.
General Motors Co. unveiled its all-electric Chevrolet Bolt. The car will have 200 miles of electric range and will cost around $30,000.
Ford Motor Co. kicked off its year of innovation by announcing the 2016 Ford GT, an ultra-high-performance supercar with a lightweight carbon fiber body, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine and more than 600 horsepower. The automaker also announced the new limited edition Shelby GT350R Mustang.
Toyota Motor Co. unveiled its new 2016 Tacoma midsize pickup truck with a new rugged, tough appearance and 4×4 four-door double cab design.
Volkswagen Group of America announced its new Cross Coupe GTE line of sport utility vehicles. Among its highlights, the mid-size SUV uses a V6 plug-in hybrid drivetrain, with 276 horsepower, two electric motors and all-wheel drive.

Press Preview Days continue today, and the NAIAS will open to the public Jan. 17-25. Click here for additional news coverage from the NAIAS. Coverage of the auto show will continue in next week’s eDetroiter.

#MichiganIsAuto Campaign Promotes State’s Automotive Industry

As the global automotive industry heads to Detroit for the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), MICHauto, an economic development initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, is using this gathering of industry leaders and stakeholders as a platform to reinforce why Michigan is the epicenter of the auto industry.

From now through Jan. 23, MICHauto will award a $500 VISA gift card to two lucky participants who post the best, most creative reason why #MichiganIsAuto. To enter, post your submission on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #MichiganIsAuto. Winners will be announced on Jan. 16 and Jan. 23. Click here to learn more about the #MichiganIsAuto campaign.

Ford, Magna Execs Highlight Industry Challenges, Praise MICHauto’s Efforts at Annual Meeting

Attracting and retaining talent and investing in innovation remain two key priorities for the global automotive industry in 2015. That was the message industry executives conveyed to almost 230 attendees at the MICHauto Annual Meeting and Reception last week at the Detroit Athletic Club.

The event included keynote speakers Hau Thai-Tang, group vice president of global purchasing at Ford Motor Co., and James Tobin, chief marketing officer and president of Magna Asia at Magna International Inc. Highlighting Ford’s new F-150 all aluminum-bodied pickup truck manufactured in Michigan, Thai-Tang said demand for talent is at an all-time high as the automaker continues to pair consumer demand with innovation.

Tobin said suppliers are also struggling to market the industry to recent engineering graduates, adding that Magna International prides itself in embracing entrepreneurs and giving them a platform to develop new ideas. Both Thai-Tang and Tobin said they were pleased that MICHauto continues to advocate on behalf of the automotive industry in order to keep local talent in the Detroit region.

During the Annual Meeting, MICHauto also recognized Gayle Joseph, executive vice president of Edelman, as Volunteer of the Year for her work in the automotive industry and MICHauto awareness committee. Sen. Mike Kowall (R-White Lake) was named Legislator of the Year for his work in developing the Legislature’s automotive caucus in order to build a stronger partnership between Lansing and the automotive sector. Click here to read a column about the auto caucus in the January issue of the Detroiter.

Cindy Pasky of Strategic Staffing Solutions to Share Leadership Insight at Inside the CEO Mind, Jan. 29

Join the Detroit Regional Chamber on Jan. 29 for the next installment of its Inside the CEO Mind series and hear from Cindy Pasky, CEO of Strategic Staffing Solutions.

Pasky, a former Chamber Board chairwoman, will share her unique perspective on leadership from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Detroit Athletic Club. Following the presentation, attendees can participate in a question and answer session and network with fellow business leaders. Click here to register for the event.

Member Appreciation: Global Productivity Solutions Supports Mayor’s ‘Project Lean’ Initiative

Global Productivity Solutions (GPS), an industry leader in productivity improvement and business turnaround, played a key role in Mayor Mike Duggan’s “Project Lean” initiative in 2014. GPS led the project to improve the city’s purchasing processes, measuring and analyzing procedures and protocols and recommending changes that were quickly and efficiently implemented.

“This was a significant engagement because the results impacted all departments and functions for the city,” said GPS CEO Gary Cone.

Cone personally trained a number of city employees in operating their respective departments more efficiently and made recommendations for immediate improvements. As part of its service, GPS professionals donated more than 200 “man days” of support to the city of Detroit for the Project Lean initiative.

“It was an honor to assist Mayor Duggan, whose ultimate goal is to better serve Detroit residents and employees,” added Cone. “The Mayor also assured city employees that this effort would not eliminate any jobs, which is completely consistent with how GPS works with all its clients and is part of our company philosophy.”