State of the global automobile industry and the rise of Detroit in 2016
March 1896 – the first horseless carriage is steered through the streets of Detroit , Michigan , and this historical moment makes this city the epicentre of a global industry – automobile manufacturing.
At about the same time that the United States started developing its first automobile prototypes in the late eighteenth century, so did Europe. In 1890 the first car was build by two French machinery makers, with a German designed engine. The same engine was licensed one year latter by Carles Benz and the first four wheels car was born. In 1893 the first gasoline-powered car was build in the USA and in 1914 Mitsubishi started its mass-produced cars in Japan. The rise of this new industry created a lot of workplaces and until 1950 Detroit became the fifth largest city in the USA. And then, with the start of the ‘automation‘many of the factories started replacing assembly-line jobs with new machinery. This went on, until most of the early twentieth-century factory buildings in the city almost became empty.
Then in 2008, when the nation’s largest automaker General Motors collapsed, Detroit became a ghost city.
Around 2009, the industry slowly started to recover leading to a rise in auto sales. With the advancement of technology and market diversity more and more jobs opened and the automobile industry started to wake up and stretch out. A growing need for research and development of ‘green’ vehicles and fuels was raised and it gave room to more competition and increasing manufacturing needs, not only in the USA but also in Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Today Detroit is back in business.
Considering the fact that since 2009, 45000 automotive manufacturing jobs were added and over 89000 engineers are employed in Michigan today, it is just obvious to see that the ‘Ghost City’ is very much alive… the Detroit area is home to 61 of North America’s top 100 automotive suppliers. The former Willow Run Powertrain Plant is a proposed home for a research canter which will focus on development of technologically advanced connected vehicles of the near future.
And by the way things are going in the global automobile industry; it is not so far in the future when Detroit will regain its former place as a leading entity in this industry.