Governor Pitches Michigan to Japanese Automakers at 2005 World Expo in Japan

Contact: Liz Boyd 517-335-6397

July 25, 2005

Granholm Tells More Than 70 Company and Industry Representatives: “Invest in Michigan”

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today showcased Michigan’s automotive strengths and investment strategy to more than 70 senior-level executives of Japanese automotive companies and suppliers during a state-hosted seminar at the U.S. Pavilion at the World Expo in Aichi, Japan.

“Michigan is the center of the global auto industry,” said Granholm.  “Our automotive history, our unmatched research and design, and our commitment to making our business climate friendly for manufacturers make Michigan the place for automotive companies to expand and grow.  The evolving global economy of the 21st century demands that we seek out international investment in order to grow our position as an industry leader and to create jobs for future generations.”

Granholm noted that Michigan is home to over 215 automotive research and development centers.  About $10.3 billion is spent annually on automotive-related research and development in Michigan – more than the other 49 states combined.

As a sponsor of the World Expo’s U.S. Pavilion, the state of Michigan programmed an entire day, including the automotive seminar hosted by Granholm, to highlight the state’s numerous advantages and encourage international investment. 

Attendees of the seminar included top executives from Toyota, Jatco, Nissan, and Aisin, all of which have major research and development or manufacturing facilities in Michigan.  After the Governor’s presentation, Jay Baron of the Center for Automotive Research reinforced her message with an industry analysis that shows Michigan as a global center for automotive manufacturing, engineering, design, and research and development.

Earlier in the day, the Governor met personally with Toyota Motor Company President Katsuaki Watanabe to strengthen Michigan’s continuing partnership with Toyota.  Many Toyota-associated companies, including Denso, Aisin Seiki, and Tokai Rika, have already developed a strong presence in Michigan.

Granholm’s week-long investment mission to Japan includes individual meetings with senior-level executives from 14 Japanese companies, a seminar with more than 60 individuals representing the biosciences industry and academia, and a large group meeting with more than 20 company representatives.  In total, the Governor’s delegation will make contact with more than 150 representatives of business, higher education, and government during the week.  Her goal is to forge stronger alliances with the leadership of that country’s automotive and new technology industries and attract new, job-creating business development to Michigan.

The 185-day World Expo began in March and continues through November. Participants include more than 120 countries, various regions and states, private businesses, and citizens from across the globe.  It is anticipated that this year’s event will draw more than 15 million visitors.

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