Posted on Leave a comment

Detroit is Still the Motor City

Since the economy crash and following government bailout of the automotive Big Three in 2008 and 2009, there has been a lot of speculation as to the state of the auto industry in Detroit. Combine these factors with a seemingly constant growing number of imports and foreign competition flooding Michigan’s highways, and it doesn’t come to much of a surprise that some people are questioning whether or not Detroit is still the Motor City. In this article, however, I hope to shed some light on recent automotive production statistics in order to prove that Detroit still is, in fact, the Motor City.

A Look at the Numbers

When it comes down to automotive production, the numbers certainly don’t lie. Nationwide, Michigan is the leading state in the number of patents in fields related to mobility with a whopping 2,600 patents awarded in the past five years. To put that into perspective, the runner up is California with only 1,500 similar patents awarded within that timeframe. The state of Michigan also leads the nation in regard to progressive ideas in the automotive industry. The National Council of State Legislatures has identified eight core areas of legislature that they believe should be addressed as states produce rules and regulations surrounding current and future automotive technology (such as autonomous driving, testing on real roads, etc.) and Michigan is currently the only state that has addressed all eight core areas.

Michigan doesn’t just lead the nation in innovative automotive thinking. DBusiness looked at a list of over 5,000 business records across the state, and you may be surprised at the numbers that came back in the auto industry. They found that, statewide, Michigan has more than 2,200 automotive facilities, including manufacturers, suppliers, tool shops, research facilities and the like. Further, they found that 16 OEMs are headquartered in the state, and a whopping 76% of automotive research spending in the nation is spent here in Michigan! Finally, 62 of the top 100 automotive suppliers in the country are headquartered in the Mitten!

Power to the People

With such an incredible industry presence in Michigan, it’s no surprise that we have an equally astonishing workforce to support these companies. Michigan has the greatest concentration of engineers in the country, with 42,080 mechanical and 26,660 industrial engineers statewide. Our state boasts 20 institutions with nationally ranked programs in these engineering fields with over 6,600 combined students graduating from these institutions annually. In fact, according to an article from MLive, employment in the automotive sector has grown over 31% since 2010! Mechanical and industrial engineers saw over 18,000 new jobs open up within the same time frame.

The large automotive workforce and business presence in and around Detroit has led to some astonishing production numbers over the past few years. In 2016, vehicle OEMs in Michigan produced 21 different vehicle models in the state and Michigan is credited for 19.4% of North America’s vehicle production that year! For anyone who thinks that Detroit peaked decades ago during the birth of the auto industry, U.S. automakers sold more cars in 2015 than any other year in history up until that point. During that year, Fiat Chrysler reported their best sales year since 2005 and Ford reported their best year since 2006. GM reported a big 5% increase in sales over the year before. With all that being said, the average transaction price of a car that year was 20% higher than it was 10 years before- an indication of the improving health of the industry over the years.

At the speed automotive technology is changing and improving, it’s clear we can’t base the health of the Motor City completely on current and past production numbers. Luckily, Detroit is just as invested in the future of mobility as it always has been. At this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, the entire second floor showcased startups introducing the new driving technology of tomorrow to consumers. These included things like autonomous driving, alternative fuel and power sources, robotic logistics solutions and more. In fact, Chinese- based GAC Motors announced that it will begin selling cars in the American market this year and is opening R&D centers and dealer networks in Detroit.


Despite some ups and downs and a major economical crash in the past, Detroit most certainly remains the Motor City. Not only has Detroit and Michigan boasted incredible production numbers in recent years, the Motor City also houses the largest concentration of the industry’s workforce in the country. Detroit is just as invested in current automotive technology as it is future technologies, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by corporations around the globe. More and more companies are moving their headquarters to Detroit and its surrounding areas in order to be on the cutting edge of the industry.

Holbrook Auto Parts has always been a cornerstone in Detroit’s automotive industry. For over 75 years we have provided affordable, high-quality parts to individuals and companies both big and small, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the industry and community.

Images from

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© Holbrook Auto Parts, Inc, 2021
Simple modal box
Part Inquiry Form
[contact-form-7 id=18 title='partrequest']