Automotive Research, Development & Manufacturing

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The Ann Arbor area is part of the automotive cluster surrounding Detroit. Ann Arbor’s deep engineering talent base makes it a natural location for OEMs engaged in automotive research. Approximately 90 firms employ 8,200 people in automotive research, emissions and powertrain testing and manufacture of assemblies.

A consortium led by Ann Arbor SPARK that includes RACER Trust, Devon Industrial Group, and Walbridge Development, is focused on transforming the former Willow Run Powertrain plant into a technologically advanced connected vehicle research center. This facility will become a hub of research and development for the vehicles of tomorrow and a catalyst for jobs in innovative automotive research. 

The Ypsilanti based connected vehicle research center will be a place where precautionary testing is done before vehicles are deployed on the road and a proving ground for collaborative safety technology demonstrations.  It will also serve as a high technology research and development facility that will allow companies to lease space for office and research use, garages, and other amenities, ultimately expanding the region's business incubation and acceleration capabilities around automotive technology. 

In addition, nearly 3,000 wirelessly connected cars, buses, trucks, motorcycles and bikes are operating throughout Northeast Ann Arbor as a part of a research project conducted by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute and funded in large part by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The largest automotive employers are Automotive Components Holdings (1,300), Toyota Technical Center (1,036), and Ford Motor Company (800). In addition, Hyundai, Subaru, and Mercedes Benz established research divisions in the Ann Arbor area.

To view the full automotive industry guide for the Ann Arbor region, please click on the link below:

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