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How MichAuto is Redefining Its Mission to Meet Today’s Industry Challenges and Do More

May 28, 2024 Glenn Stevens Jr.

Glenn Stevens Jr. | Executive Director, MichAuto; Vice President, Automotive and Mobility Initiatives, Detroit Regional Chamber

MichAuto has spent the past several months reflecting on our progress as an organization while also evaluating our mission, our actions, and how we can have the most impact.

Today’s automotive and mobility industry is vastly different than it was when we were founded in 2007, so we want to make sure we are serving the evolving needs of our investors and partners, as well as the broader automotive industry across Michigan.

MichAuto held focus groups, conducted a survey, and conducted one-on-one interviews with many of our investor companies to ask for ideas and solicit feedback.

The results reaffirmed the need for a singular, statewide voice for the industry.

We were told that MichAuto’s advocacy efforts in Lansing are greatly appreciated – but many of our investors and partners would like us to do more.

We were told that MichAuto’s willingness to speak up publicly for the industry on issues, like UAW contract talks with the Detroit Three last year, was greatly appreciated and that stepping up as the voice for Michigan’s signature industry is what our stakeholders need.

We heard that our efforts to develop, attract, and retain high-tech talent – along with our ongoing efforts to build awareness around this important issue – are also greatly appreciated.

We have made significant progress over the past two years with our You Drive the Future project and Square One Education Network program support, which are both aimed at connecting youth to the automotive and mobility industries. You Drive’s influencer campaign has generated more than 5.2 million views combined on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.

Additionally, Square One’s commitment to equity directly supports Michigan’s rural and urban students. Currently, Square One reaches nearly 10,000 students on 150 teams spanning 70 schools throughout the state.

But here again, MichAuto was encouraged to increase our impact by doing more.

Finally, we heard that MichAuto’s efforts to connect people and companies to the resources they need are greatly valued. Through our networking events, such as MichAuto on the Island and MichAuto by the Bay, we provide essential places to gather, reconnect, and discuss trends as the industry faces extraordinary challenges and a historic transition.

But once again, MichAuto was encouraged to do even more of this.

The common theme here is that our investors and partners want and need more. So MichAuto has redefined our mission and our strategic vision to be more focused and, hopefully, even more impactful and effective. We also developed a fresh new visual identity that better reflects our organization’s role in the industry.

MichAuto’s new mission statement may not look much different from our prior statement, but we made some changes that better reflect our priorities.

  • MichAuto’s Mission: To promote, retain, and grow Michigan’s automotive and mobility industry by serving as the only statewide voice.

Going forward, MichAuto will focus its efforts on the following four areas:

  • Talent: Attract and retain high-quality automotive and mobility talent in Michigan.
  • Advocacy: Influence and serve as a champion for policies that foster a positive environment to do automotive business in the state and serve as the industry’s voice in Lansing.
  • Industry Transition: Serve as the voice of the industry and help investors navigate the transition to new products, new manufacturing processes, a new support and service infrastructure, and a workforce with new and different skills.
  • Economic Development: Operate as a resource for companies looking for information about the state’s automotive industry, the benefits of locating to Michigan, and assistance with introductions to the right partners, regulators, and policymakers.

This means MichAuto is boosting our efforts to truly serve the industry’s interests across the entire state by increasing our presence and activities in western and northern Michigan. We also hope to increase the number of investor companies and partners from those areas.

MichAuto will also continue to help cultivate Michigan, not just as a historical global automotive hub but as a place where innovation is celebrated, and start-up companies are embraced.

At the same time, we also know that the automotive and mobility industry must work more closely with the new energy industry, tech industry, education, governments, and municipalities as we build out the policy and talent initiatives for the EV and clean fuels transition and infrastructure and the acceleration of the digital economy.

As MichAuto’s team emerges from this process, we are grateful for the feedback we received along the way and are energized by our clarified and refined mission.

We know that these challenges are not going to be easy to solve, but we are encouraged by the feedback that we received and eager to continue to work together with our investors and partners. MichAuto is focused on the growth and transition of our signature industry, Michigan’s economic future, and the future of our population.