Aisin World Corp. of America opened a new North American headquarters in suburban Detroit in July as part of the foreign subsidiary's growth stateside.
Aisin bought and renovated the 200,000-square-foot building in Northville, Mich. -- a $13 million development to house its U.S. headquarters and Aisin Technical Center of America after outgrowing its offices nearby.
The subsidiary of Japanese conglomerate Aisin Seiki Co. has invested a total of $3 billion in North America and more than $250 million in Michigan since 1984 as it continues to win new contracts with domestic and foreign automakers.
Aisin employs more than 700 at its five Michigan sites in Northville Township, Ann Arbor, Plymouth Township and Fowlerville.
Parent company Aisin Seiki ranks No. 5 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with estimated worldwide sales to automakers of $27.1 billion in its 2013 fiscal year.
Crain's Detroit Business reporter Dustin Walsh spoke with Aisin World Corp.'s top local executive, John Koenig, president of sales and marketing, about foreign investment and the transmission and engine parts supplier's growth in the region. Crain's Detroit Business is an affiliate of Automotive News.
Why invest in a new technical center and headquarters?
The expanded Aisin Technical Center of America enables us to add equipment, i.e., the first in-house engine dynamometer for Aisin in the U.S. -- and engineering resources. This will help us grow our regional capabilities, lead local product development, bring new technology to the industry and handle a larger share of design duties for the North American market, all under one roof. We plan to continue to grow by adding new facilities and investing in current plants in order to provide ongoing support to our customers.
What customers do you support from those offices?
Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota and others.
Do you see potential for M&A activity?
In order to stay competitive in a market that is constantly evolving, we explore all opportunities for growth of our business capabilities.
Why has the region seen so much foreign investment?
Michigan is home to 63 of the top 100 suppliers in North America, and ranks first in the country in concentration of engineers, designers, r&d professionals and skill-trade workers. We're here because our customers are here -- hence the location of our sales and marketing headquarters, our technical center and our proving ground in Fowlerville. Being near our customers enables us to take advantage of the great automotive human resources in the area, as well as proximity to major universities.