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Gov. Whitmer at NAIAS: Michigan continuing to lead in automotive innovation


January 15, 2019

Gov. Whitmer at NAIAS: Michigan continuing to lead in automotive innovation

Detroit, Mich. – Governor Gretchen Whitmer attended the 2019 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit today, touting both the state’s continued strength in automotive manufacturing and leadership in transportation innovation through technology and connected autonomous vehicles.

“Michigan put the world on wheels, and its automotive future continues to burn bright,” Whitmer said. “Automotive leaders, international partners and technology startups attending this year’s show have sent a strong signal they are committed to working with Michigan, and in Michigan, as we enter this next transportation revolution.”

While at NAIAS, Governor Whitmer held a number of business meetings with high level executives from foreign and domestic OEMs. She also visited more than a dozen company booths as part of a two-hour floor walk that included stops at Ford, GM, FCA Group as well as automotive suppliers including Mahindra, ZF and Aisin.

Joining Whitmer on the floor walk were Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, Paul Ajegba, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation, Stephanie Beckhorn, acting director of the Department of Talent and Economic Development and Jeff Mason, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Strengthening relationships with key international business partners was another focus of the day, including meetings with Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains; Ontario Premier, Doug Ford; and, a roundtable event with key Japanese automotive businesses including some of the largest Japanese suppliers in Michigan as well as The Honorable Tsutomu Nakagawa, Consul General of Japan in Detroit. Lt. Governor Gilchrist participated in the Michigan China Auto Reception the previous evening.

Michigan’s leadership in mobility was also on display throughout the day, with Whitmer announcing four new projects to help increase accessibility in Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, the Central Upper Peninsula and Southeast Michigan as part of the $8 Million Michigan Mobility Challenge.  The Michigan Mobility Challenge grants address core mobility gaps for seniors, persons with disabilities and veterans across the state using new technology and innovative service models.

Lt. Governor Gilchrist served as a guest judge for the 2019 PlanetM Pitch Competition and both Governor Whitmer and Lt. Governor Gilchrist will participate in the PlanetM Awards, recognizing top startups at AutoMobili-D in categories of Autonomous Driving, Connected Cars, eMobility, Mobiility Services and Smart Cities.

“In Michigan we honor traditions, but also believe in the importance of innovation – whether we are talking about cars or car shows,” Whitmer said. “We look forward to building a new tradition of automotive innovation and showcasing the best our state has to offer right here in Detroit at the June 2020 North American International Auto Show.”

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