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JCI, Chinese auto supplier form JV

Written by | Sunday, 25 May 2014 22:00 |

By early 2015, the largest automotive supplier operation in West Michigan will likely be under Chinese ownership.

A recent decision by Toyota to move its North American purchasing department from Erlanger, Ky. to the Ann Arbor area clearly excited state officials who touted the selection as an affirmation of Michigan’s role as the center of decision-making in the automotive industry.

A focus on being a one-stop shop for contractors has positioned a supplier of architectural products for growth in West Michigan.

West Michigan e-cigarette company Victory Electronic Cigarette Co. has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $149.5 million in a follow-on offering of its publicly traded shares.

Many questions remain about what Johnson Controls Inc.’s spinning out its automotive interiors division to a Chinese-controlled joint venture will mean for operations in West Michigan.

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.

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