Here's a sign of life in the industry. Ricardo is turning to billboards to recruit automotive engineers.
The English-based powertrain consulting firm is putting up the signs along Detroit-area highways and running radio ads touting the company as a great place to work. That's because the competition for skilled technical staffers is heating up as vehicle output recovers from more than 40-year lows.
"We're all playing in the same sandbox, competing for some of the same talent," Ricardo President Kent Niederhofer told Bloomberg. "It isn't as simple as throwing a shingle out there and saying, 'Job Opening.' Attracting this kind of talent has gotten absolutely tougher, and we're trying to raise our head above the crowd."
Among the other signs of automotive engineering action:
General Motors recently announced plans to hire 1,000 engineers to help develop electric vehicles. Chrysler is hiring 1,000 engineers and high-tech workers for small and mid-sized vehicles.
Supplier Continental AG is hiring 40 engineers in the Detroit area, and TRW Automotive plans to add about 85 engineers. Tata Technologies, a Michigan-based unit of India's Tata Motors, is hiring about 400 engineering consultants in the United States.