August 4, 2014 at 6:25 pm

American Axle to build advanced technology center in Detroit

Acme — American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. will build a $15 million to $20 million advanced technology center on its Detroit campus.

Speaking at a Monday session at the Center for Automotive Research’s annual Management Briefing Seminars near Traverse City, President and CEO David Dauch said the new center will break ground this fall and take two to three years to build. It will add 75-100 engineering and manufacturing jobs.

Dauch told reporters after his speech that the auto supplier is committed to Detroit, and wants to have the same type of impact on the city as billionaire businessmen Dan Gilbert and Mike Ilitch.

“There’s a lot of great things going on in the city of Detroit right now,” Dauch said. “We want to do a similar thing (as Gilbert and Ilitch) from an engineering and manufacturing standpoint. We’re going to do our part to be an anchor tenant and see what we can do to attract other suppliers and OEMs to put business back the city.”

The new center will be built near its headquarters on about 350,000-square-feet of space, Dauch said. The area is currently being used for storage. The complex is located east of Interstate 75, off Holbrook.

American Axle will use the site for prototype development, testing new systems, integrating suppliers, advancing new technological developments and training associates. The complex will include an energy-efficient manufacturing center, Dauch said.

“The market demands we implement new technology and new methods,” he said.

He said there’s a shortage for skilled trades workers, and he hopes the new center will help bridge that skills gap.

The center marks a step toward adding more manufacturing jobs, after American Axle cut many during the recession.

American Axle closed the manufacturing part of its Detroit campus in February 2012, affecting a few hundred workers. In 2008, that facility housed about 2,000 workers and was the site of an 87-day strike that ended when the union agreed to wage cuts.

Last February, American Axle sold that 108-acre parcel to California-based Industrial Realty Group LLC, which plans to redevelop the land for “industrial purposes.”
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