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Investment Mission to Germany and Japan Promotes Detroit, Auto Industry’s ‘Roaring Comeback’

Investment Mission to Germany and Japan Promotes Detroit, Auto Industry’s ‘Roaring Comeback’

For international companies expanding operations in the United States, Detroit is a hot market.

The Detroit Regional Chamber’s Business Attraction team recently led a Michigan delegation to Japan and Germany to strengthen business relationships and attract job-creating investment.

“There is great excitement for people (in Europe and Asia) to find out what’s happening in the Detroit region and in our automotive market. They hear ‘Detroit’ and their eyes light up; that didn’t happen a few years ago,” Maureen Krauss, vice president of economic development for the Chamber said. “We’re experiencing a unique moment in time where Detroit is roaring back and the auto industry is roaring back and the international business community is taking notice.”

Making the Case for Michigan in Japan

Sandy at Toyota City Hall (email)As part of the investment mission, the Chamber, along with representatives from the city of Novi, city of Southfield, MEDC and Oakland County attended the Midwest U.S.- Japan Association Conference in Tokyo, where business leaders from the Midwest region of the United States and Japan have met annually for the past four decades to discuss the growth and progress of economic relations between the two countries. Among other issues, the Michigan delegation outlined the business case for growing Japanese investment in Michigan as the automotive and mobility capital of the world.

The delegation also met with 15 automotive, hospitality and medical companies, focusing on retention and attraction. Justin Robinson, director of Business Attraction for the Chamber, said from those meetings, the team is working with five prospects who do not have a presence in Michigan and expressed interest in the market.

“Japan is the largest source of foreign direct investment in Michigan,” Robinson said, adding that the city of Novi alone has more than 100 Japanese companies, the highest concentration in the region.

“It is important for economic developers and for our state to meet with these companies at their facilities and talk with key leaders about the Michigan market as a place where Japanese companies need to be to invest and grow,” he said.

While abroad, the Chamber participated in a concurrent trade mission in Japan hosted by Gov. Snyder and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. (MEDC), where Chamber President Sandy Baruah met with leading automotive executives and MICHauto members from Aisin Seiki Co., Denso International Inc. and Toyota Motor Co. to thank them for their continued investment in Michigan and promote the state’s leadership in next-generation mobility research.

“The Japan market is extremely important to the auto industry and Detroit. Through our partnership with the Detroit Regional Chamber, we will continue to grow our efforts to welcome Japanese investment in the region,” said Alan Weber, business development representative for Oakland County.

Leading the Automotive Discussion at the Frankfurt Auto Show

Germany1In addition to Japan, Business Attraction led a delegation consisting of representatives from Butzel Long, Clayton & McKervey, Comerica, MICHauto, Oakland County and Signature Associates to the 66th Frankfurt Auto Show. There, the team met with over 100 automotive suppliers that do not currently have a presence in Michigan and provided information on the state’s infrastructure and next-generation research and development.

Chamber partner PwC also hosted a reception on behalf of the Governor with 130 c-suite executives to promote Michigan’s business-friendly tax structure, reduced regulations and talent pool. Business Attraction is currently following up with numerous prospects, Krauss said.

Rob Luce, director of MICHauto and Automotive Retention and Growth for the Chamber, attended the show for the first time to build up international exposure of the MICHauto brand. As part of that effort, a condensed version of the Michigan is Auto report, currently in its third iteration, was provided to suppliers in attendance.

“MICHauto has great success in Michigan. This was an opportunity for the international auto community to understand MICHauto,” Krauss said.

Luce said attending key events like Frankfurt allows MICHauto to build on its overall strategy of promoting, growing and retaining Michigan’s automotive industry while also finding opportunities for MICHauto investors to become more plugged into the Business Attraction program at the Chamber.

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