Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder taking business trips to Japan, Germany

Gov. Rick Snyder leads investment mission to Japan, Germany to strengthen relationships, boost investment

Focus on growing markets for Michigan-made goods

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder is leading an investment mission to Japan and Germany focusing on strengthening trade relationships and attracting job-creating business investments and looking to expand markets for Michigan-made goods.

Snyder is meeting with government and company leaders, departing for Japan on Wednesday, Sept. 9 and returning from Germany on Thursday, Sept. 17. This will be his third mission to both countries.

“The world is increasingly interconnected and it’s important for leaders in other countries to hear about what Michigan has to offer,” Snyder said. “We’re the leader in automotive research and design, we have a strong manufacturing base and we have a talented workforce. Those qualities are attractive to businesses considering expanding in the United States, and we want them to create those jobs here.”


Snyder is meeting with Japanese auto company leaders, and visiting Michigan’s sister state, the Shiga Prefecture, and will tell the Michigan story at the Midwest U.S.- Japan Association meeting in Tokyo on Monday.

Snyder then heads to Germany and the 66th Frankfurt Auto Show, where he will meet with executives from automotive supply chain companies and European auto part suppliers and delivering the message that Michigan is the premier automotive business location in North America.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Auto Sector Senior Vice President Kevin Kerrigan and representatives from local economic development agencies including the Detroit Regional Chamber and the Right Place, Inc. are also joining the trip.

The Michigan delegation also includes:

  • Tony Vernaci, MEDC’s vice president for business attraction
  • Martina Schlagwein, MEDC’s manager for European business development
  • Lindsay Eister, MEDC’s senior protocol officer
  • Emily Guerrant, MEDC’s vice president for marketing, communications and public relations
  • Beth Emmitt, Governor’s scheduling director

Since the governor’s first trade mission to Japan, investment in Michigan from the country includes:

  • DENSO Manufacturing Michigan: The company in July announced plans to expand in Battle Creek, investing $53.6 million and creating 100 jobs.
  • Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing NA: The company announced in January it would invest up to $32.5 million to expand its York Township facility and create 250 jobs. It will also expand its Ann Arbor Township facility, investing $75 million and creating 85 jobs. In April 2014, it invested $141.7 million in its York Township technical center, creating 250 jobs. The jobs were relocated from the company’s Erlanger, Kentucky location following a consolidation.
  • NHK International: In January it announced it would invest $9 million to acquire a new building to grow its headquarters, R&D and engineering center in Novi. It will create 26 jobs related to automotive research and engineering.
  • Toyoda Gosei North America: In June 2014, the subsidiary of Toyota Motor – Toyota, Japan invested $7.9 million in an expansion of its North American headquarters in Troy, creating 51 jobs.
  • SMK Electronics: The subsidiary of SMK Corporation in February 2014 invested $2.4 million in a new Detroit office, creating 80 jobs. The office serves automobile manufacturers in Detroit and throughout the country with its automotive vision systems and in-dash touch-panel display systems.

Recent German investment to Michigan includes:

  • ZF North America: In June the company announced plans to expand its Michigan tech center operations in Northville Township, investing up to $71 million to add almost 210,000 square feet and create 571 jobs.
  • Schwarze-Robitec: In April, the company established a new subsidiary in Big Rapids to serve customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico. It will invest $18.1 million and create 86 jobs.
  • Kuka Systems: The company in April expanded its Clinton Township facility to support growth of its aerospace business. Estimated investment is $18.1 million that will create 86 jobs.
  • Daimler: The company in March announced its Detroit Diesel subsidiary will expand its Redford manufacturing operations with a $208 million investment that will create 245 jobs.
  • Lenze Americas: The subsidiary of Germany-based Lenze in January opened a new office in Novi, with an investment of $4.6 million that will create 16 jobs.
  • Van Rob: The subsidiary of Kirchhoff Group in December announced it is investing $25 million and created 125 new jobs in Watertown Township to manufacture components for the Chevy Camaro being built in Lansing.
  • Brose NA: In December the company announced it is investing $97.6 million to create 475 jobs in Auburn Hills, Warren and Huron Township.
  • Bosch: In August 2014 the company announced it will invest $40 million and create 200 new jobs at its expanded Plymouth manufacturing facility.
  • Eissmann Group Automotive: The company in July 2014 announced it was investing $13.55 million to establish its North American headquarters and a new manufacturing facility that will create 233 jobs in Port Huron.
  • WKW Roof Rail Systems: In June 2014, the manufacturer of aluminum automotive parts invested $23 million and created 186 jobs in Battle Creek.

In addition, leaders from 11 Michigan companies are traveling to Europe next week to meet with potential partners, distributors and buyers to increase export opportunities from Michigan to Europe.

“Our innovative technologies in manufacturing, computers and electronics, alternative energy, homeland security and agriculture have global appeal and we welcome the opportunity to explore smart trade partnerships,” Snyder said. “Diverse industries and ease of entry into other European Union countries provide an excellent opportunity for Michigan companies to increase their exports.”

The first trip, taking place in Mannheim, Germany Sept. 13-19, will include eight companies. The second trip, taking place in London, Sept. 20-24 will include six companies, three of which are also taking part in the Germany mission.

Companies participating in both missions:

  • Akervall Technologies (Saline) – High-tech athletic mouthguards
  • Morbark (Winn) – Full line of flails, tree chippers, stump grinders and more
  • Peterson Spring (Southfield) – Springs, wire forms, retaining rings, spring clips and special services

Companies participating in the Germany mission:

Companies participating in the United Kingdom mission:

MEDC’s International Trade Office has facilitated $242.7 million in export sales for Michigan companies this year, up from $229.7 million the prior year. The office assisted state companies with 23 new market entries into the U.K. and 21 into Germany.

MEDC was recently awarded $750,000 in State Trade and Export Promotion funds from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The program helps companies with export-related activities, ranging from market research to trade missions. MEDC has approved 436 STEP grants to assist Michigan companies this year, with 229 companies entering 86 new global markets.

Other missions led by Snyder or Lt. Gov. Brian Calley have included China, South Korea, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Chile, and Columbia.