Bringing business in: European high-tech companies are looking at the Detroit Region.

Author:Johnson, Dean

A recent visit to Europe confirmed that European companies in emerging sectors such as advanced materials and alternative/renewable energy are increasingly looking at the Detroit Region for their North American business. The increased interest stems from growing market opportunities in the U.S. and the competitive disadvantage these companies face due to the strong Euro. As a result, European companies recognize that they need to operate from a U.S. dollar cost base. And these are non-automotive high tech companies. So, why Detroit?


Actually, there is an automotive connection, although remote. TARDEC, the U.S. military R&D and purchasing center in Warren--the former tank automotive command (TACCOM) is drawing a growing interest from European companies that have technologies with military applications. The demand initially came from the need to provide better protection to American soldiers in Iraq, especially from IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) that pierce through military vehicles. More recently, the renewed emphasis in the U.S. on advanced military technology development has expanded globally, especially Europe, opening the market to non-U.S. companies. Advanced materials comprised of strong, light and flexible properties are of particular demand given the military's goal for smaller but more complex and mobile armed forces. European companies have the advantage of being from "friendly" countries, helping them to pass the security threat concerns. I visited several companies in the Netherlands that had specific plans to establish a presence in the U.S. and are seriously looking at the Detroit Region. If they...

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