GM CEO Mary Barra

In response to Silicon Valley’s growing advancement on the automotive front, a new group named MICHauto has emerged, with an aim to place Detroit and Michigan in race of developing next generation of mobility that includes self-driven cars. A coalition of Michigan business leaders and politicians has been formed to contain the Silicon Valley’s growing influence in the automotive space. The coalition comprises of Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F)’s Bill Ford and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM)’s Mary Barra.

Silicon Valley’s influence

Citing the presence of some of the talented automobile innovators in Detroit and Michigan, Doug Rothwell, President of Business Leaders for Michigan, said that there is need to maximize the existing automotive resources towards new generation of mobility. The decision to form a coalition came after Rick Snyder, Governor of Michigan expressed concerns of losing public-relations to Silicon Valley. If left unarrested, the situation is threatening the state, with unemployment and loss of potential billion dollars investments. According to Snyder, the only shortcoming for the State is its poor performance in the field of marketing.

Using the advantage

As of now, Southeastern Michigan, which comprises of Detroit, is the center of advanced auto industry jobs with that boasts of 462 businesses. Hence, the State has to look aggressively to maintaining and grow from its advantage, said Kevin Kerrigan, senior vice president at Michigan Economic Development Corp.

The coalition stressed the growing involvement of technology in the auto industry. The fact is evidenced from the employment of nearly 32,000 people in computer systems design in Metro Detroit alone.

Computers control everything in motor vehicles from engine to entertainment and from braking systems to communications. Moreover, 39% of the car buyers place greater emphasis on technology while only 14% care about handling and horsepower, revealed a 2013 survey from the Accenture consulting firm. At the same time, IHS, a research and consulting firm has estimated that the internet connected cars will surge to 152 million in 2020 from 36 million in 2014.

In light of these developments, there is a greater need for Detroit to realign itself with the changing aspects of the auto industry, which is fast moving towards self-driving cars and shared mobility.

Sources: bloomberg.com

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