A posting from Luke Bonner, SPARK’s Business Development Vice President:
Last week I had the pleasure of attending the North American International Auto Show at Cobo Center in Downtown Detroit. Finding a suitable parking spot was not the easiest thing in the world, but I did manage to find one without much of a walk. Cobo was decorated in it’s typical festive style this time of year, with every Auto Maker doing its best to impress the crowds of fans, peers, and societal elite that would be walking the floors over the next two weeks.
SPARK was there to celebrate the announcement of Hyundai’s Tech Center expansion. Hyundai is investing over $15 million in the expansion project, which it anticipates will create 50 new high tech automotive research and development jobs over the next three years. Hyundai had considered expanding in several other states, but eventually decided on Superior Township because they offered a proposal that best fit their needs. SPARK is excited about the funding structure that sealed the deal with Hyundai. It’s a creative model that SPARK used to pull together the state, Superior Township, and Hyundai.
Once at the show, we had the distinct pleasure of meeting Dr. Cho, the new President of Hyundai North America’s Technology Center. Dr. Cho, a Stanford University Graduate, spent 5 1/2 years in Palo Alto. He recently gave this quote pertaining to the expansion in AnnArbor.com:
“This investment … in Michigan reinforces Hyundai and Kia’s commitment to U.S. vehicle development and American jobs,” said Won Suk Cho, president of the technical center, in a statement. “Investing in our locations, products and people is critical to Hyundai and Kia’s ability to compete with the best in the business. Hyundai and Kia are committed to doing everything it takes to work with its partners, including the state of Michigan, to be competitive in the marketplace.”
There was a ton of press, MEDC personnel, and other economic development partners at the press event for Hyundai’s announcement. Also in attendance at the event, were Governor Snyder and engineering students from 7 different universities. The Governor had some great lines of advice to this group. First, he recalled his own experience of deciding to stay in Detroit as an accountant, which obviously worked out for him! He also encouraged the young talent to stay in Detroit, a city where they have the opportunity to make a difference.
We finished our trip to the 2012 Detroit Auto Show with a photo in front of the 2012 Car of the Year, the Hyundai Elantra. It was a whirlwind couple of hours, but really nice to see the Design and Engineering Talent in Detroit on display all in one place!