Granholm Encourages German Leaders to Expand Investment in Michigan

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

Small MI

Meetings, Speech in Stuttgart Mark the Start of Five-Day Mission

November 15, 2004
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today made the case to German political and business leaders that Michigan is the best place to expand Germany’s advanced automotive and emerging technologies investment in North America. The Governor’s remarks came as she began a five-day investment mission to Germany.

“Michigan is unique because we are diversifying our economy inside and outside the automotive industry” said Granholm.  “We are not only a center of automotive production, but a global center for research and development of advanced auto technology.  At the same time we are determined to help emerging technology-based industries take root and grow in Michigan.”

The Governor said Michigan offers German companies a streamlined business climate, a skilled workforce and a commitment to attracting life sciences and advanced engineering firms.  She explained that as the automotive industry continues to expand into new, high-tech fields Michigan is perfectly poised to capitalize on that growth.

“It only makes sense that our automotive heritage would help us capitalize on those new emerging sectors of the economy, many of which have great overlap into the automotive world,” Granholm said.  The Governor pointed to finger-print identification technology that was developed for medical firms now being used in the automotive industry, as well as the potential for life science companies to develop “self-healing” components for cars, as evidence in the overlap of industries.

“The auto industry has been Michigan’s number one employer for as long as anyone can remember,” Granholm said. “Today, we are a leading center for automotive research and development.  Tomorrow we also want to be a leader in life sciences, new technologies, and other industries that will grow our 21st century economy.”

The Governor’s remarks were part of her speech at the James F. Byrnes Institute in Stuttgart that followed meetings earlier in the day with DaimlerChrysler AG Chairman Jürgen Schrempp and Baden Württemberg Minister President Erwin Teufel.

The goal of Granholm’s five-day investment mission is to help convince those German companies who are doing business in Michigan to expand and to encourage those not yet located in the state to include it in their growth plans. 

Granholm thanked Schrempp for his company’s commitment to Michigan, and discussed the possibilities for new investments in the future. 

“The state of Michigan has an excellent relationship with DaimlerChrysler, and we will continue to encourage the company’s future growth in our state,” Granholm said. “I have no doubt that, in a very competitive environment, Michigan will benefit from new DCX investments and jobs in the years to come.”

Germany is Michigan’s largest European trade partner with trade between the two countries resulting in about $2.5 trillion each year. German companies contribute an estimated $31 billion to Michigan’s economy annually, employing some 172,000 Michigan workers.

“Michigan has benefited greatly from increased German corporate investments in our state, and these investments have worked handsomely for these companies as well,” Granholm said. “We have a good track record and a strong pitch for companies looking to establish or expand their presence in North America.”

Some 610 Michigan companies are German-owned or have at least 50 percent German ownership. These companies represent a wide range of industry sectors, including manufacturing, retail and banking. 

Michigan has seen significant investments by German automotive suppliers recently, including: Eberspächer, Mahle, Karmann Manufacturing, ZF Lemforder and Behr. Many of the new facilities and expansions have been won to Michigan in head-to-head competition with other states with the assistance of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).

Teufel has been Minister President of Baden Württemberg since 1991, making him the longest-serving of Germany’s 16 governors. 

The James F. Byrnes Institute is a non-profit, bi-national institution founded to foster German-American relations through cultural and other programs. The Institute’s speaker series provides information on social, cultural, political, and economic issues in both countries.

Later in the week Granholm will be meeting with automotive suppliers focused on research and design, and emerging business leaders about growing those industries that will help drive a 21st century economy:  automotive research, high-tech engineering, and emergencies industries including life sciences and nano-technology.