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Johnson Controls Inc. announced today that it planned to spin out its $3 billion (annual revenues) automotive interiors business with a significant manufacturing and engineering presence in West Michigan into a new joint venture led by a Chinese firm.

Mergers and acquisition activity in the automotive industry in 2013 declined to its lowest volume in more than a decade, according to a new analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Gentex Corp. has technology that fulfills the long-awaited federal mandate for vehicle rearview camera systems, but the company says its mirror-based application is falling out of favor with automakers.

Jason Markham says he’s learning many lessons these days about running a long-standing business in a highly competitive industry.

Zeigler Auto Group has secured two franchises of the 35 or so Alfa Romeo dealerships across the country and plans to locate one of them adjacent to its new Maserati store in Grandville, President Aaron Zeigler announced at a grand opening last week.

Steelcase Inc. plans to close a production plant in High Point, N.C. within two years and consolidate the work elsewhere.

Grand Rapids-based Kindel Furniture Co. has acquired the assets, intellectual property and operations of Karges Furniture of Evansville, Ind.

West Michigan’s fledgling medical device manufacturing cluster collectively offers the capabilities OEMs and startups need to commercialize new products, but no one company has all the solutions under one roof. For the sector as a whole to grow, the manufacturing executives say they’ve needed to embrace a spirit of collaboration with their competitors.

Former three-term Michigan governor John Engler has been a long-time advocate for manufacturing — both in the state and around the country. He served for six years as president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers and is now president of Business Roundtable.

Signs of safety in rising recalls

Written by | Sunday, 27 April 2014 22:00 |

General Motors’ ignition switch problem is triggering flashbacks to the last major automaker recall debacle: Toyota’s crisis with unintended acceleration four years ago.

The combination of an improved business climate and an aging workforce has a number of West Michigan companies partnering with educational institutions and one another to ensure their future supply of talent.

The forecast for significant growth in the office furniture industry could bring some rewarding and potentially challenging times for the West Michigan base of suppliers.

As automakers look to shed weight from their vehicles in the pursuit greater efficiency, they’re increasingly turning to alternatives such as aluminum to replace steel throughout the supply chain.

When automotive suppliers think about locations for foreign operations, their conversations often turn to Mexico, China, South America or eastern Europe.

The state’s top economic development agency has turned to a Holland-based office furniture manufacturer for an office upgrade this spring.

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