GREENVILLE, S.C. -- "There's a lot of automotive manufacturing in the South, but not much r&d going on," says Robert Geolas, executive director of Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research.
"If we want to build a base for innovation, where's that going to take place? We could be the place where manufacturers and suppliers get together in a way that hasn't happened in the South before."
Today, North America's undisputed center for automotive research is southeast Michigan. Automotive factories may have closed in the region, but r&d thrives there.
The critical mass of the Detroit 3, their suppliers and schools such as the University of Michigan and the College for Creative Studies, draws automotive companies from abroad. Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co., Denso Corp. and Robert Bosch GmbH are just a few of the foreign companies that have built r&d centers in southeast Michigan.