Continental Automotive Plans Big Investment

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

A few years ago they said we were dying.  Some jokingly said, “Will the last person in Michigan turn off the lights when they leave?”  Hogwash!  Those folks were so wrong.

A new wave of investment is sweeping through the auto industry and Michigan is working hard to capture it.  The City of Auburn Hills understands business and is riding this giant wave on its surfboard and lovin’ every minute of it.

Next Tuesday, the 3rd largest auto supplier in North America touting annual sales around $5.8 billion – Continental Automotive Systems, Inc. – will appear before the Auburn Hills Planning Commission to seek its support for approval to expand its “South Campus”  building located at 2400 Executive Hills to 213,296 sq. ft.   Why?  They need more office and vehicle laboratory testing space to keep up with major automaker’s projects.  Wow!

Computer Rendering of the Planned Addition to Continental Automotive’s South Campus Building

Continental Automotive has a huge R&D footprint in Michigan.  They occupy three facilities in Auburn Hills with a total employment of approximately 1,500 people.  This building addition is part of a comprehensive expansion initiative, which also includes a separate $1.5 million interior renovation project at its North American Headquarters located at One Continental Drive.  Both projects combined will increase the company’s presence in the City of Auburn Hills to almost 1,800 people.

The total new investment in this South Campus building is estimated at $4.8 million.  Approximately 170 new people will be added to this facility alone.  Continental Automotive anticipates that approximately 95% of the new jobs will be full-time engineers.

What do they do here?  The South Campus building houses the company’s automotive powertrain division.  This division focuses on developing innovative and efficient solutions for reducing CO2 emissions, optimizing fuel consumption for diesel and gasoline engines, and improving vehicle control and handling.

Continental Automotive has 14 business units in its portfolio.  They do everything from the Ford Sync system to braking systems, powertrain products, and instrument panels.  The company is a subsidiary of Continental AG based in Hanover, Germany.  The bulk of Continental Automotive’s Michigan employees work here in Auburn Hills, with some in offices located in Troy and Dearborn.

So, excuse us if we’re a little excited.  Someone said a few years ago that we were on the brink.  Hogwash!  More jobs and investment are coming to Auburn Hills and Metro Detroit.  Turn off the lights?  I don’t think so, we have some more work to do here.