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Subaru to build tech center in suburban Detroit, hire 100 workers

Subaru will receive $1.5 million from the state of Michigan to build a 60,000-square-foot tech center in Van Buren Township in western Wayne County.

The tech center will employ up to 101 people, according to state documents. Subaru said it would invest up to $48.2 million in the site.

Documents say the tech center will help Subaru “stay on the cutting edge of next-generation vehicle technology.” Subaru is also an investor in the nearby American Center for Mobility, a test center for developing self-driving vehicles and other advanced technologies.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans trumpeted the announcement, noting in a statement that the center will be “in the Detroit Regional Aerotropolis, which has seen over $350 million of investment in the last year.”

Work at foreign automakers’ tech centers frequently includes sourcing from local suppliers. Subaru is expected to work on autonomous vehicle technology at the new center.

The investment and employment figures are modest for a tech center, but many foreign automakers have started small and expanded their investments in southeast Michigan. Toyota, Nissan and Hyundai-Kia all have nearby tech centers. Nissan’s Farmington Hills tech center opened small in 1988 and now employs more than 1,200. Nissan has invested more the $250 million there over the years.

The United States is a vital market for Subaru. Its U.S. sales have been growing steadily for years. It sold a record 647,956 vehicles here in 2017, and is 6 percent ahead of that pace with 382,286 through July this year.

The tech center is to use 150,000-200,000 square feet by 2022 and sit on 76 acres of land that’s currently vacant.

The state aid will go toward work including road improvement and environmental cleanup.

Van Buren Township is expected to provide a property tax break for the project.

Subaru chose Michigan over Indiana and Ohio for the project. Subaru’s only manufacturing plant in North America is in Indiana.

Subaru is widely expected to be considering extra assembly capacity in North America to support its growing sales here. It would not be unusual for the tech center to grow to support production and development of vehicles tailored to U.S. tastes.

Subaru just launched the Ascent, a family-oriented three-row SUV it expects to be a hot U.S. seller.

 

Posted By: Detroit Free Press on August 28, 2018.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

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