Employees at Stellantis's Sterling Heights (Michigan) Assembly Plant install the 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI® V-8 engine on the chassis that will power the Ram 1500 TRX Launch Edition. (Image courtesy of Stellantis)
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Michigan, the Great Lakes State, is a major manufacturing state. For example, the automotive industry traces its roots to Michigan, where the Big Three auto manufacturers still reside. Not surprisingly, large automotive suppliers also have a strong presence in Michigan. For instance, semiconductor and EV battery manufacturers have located there, not only to shorten their supply chain but also for the state’s business-friendly climate.
Nearly half of all U.S. and Canadian population and commerce centers are within a 500-mile radius of Michigan, providing an abundant market space for manufacturing. At the same time, the state’s robust transportation infrastructure eases the passage of goods among neighboring states.
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This article will explore the state’s solid manufacturing base and describe the top manufacturing companies in Michigan.
According to MNI, compiler and publisher of the industrial data that powers IndustrySelect, Michigan currently houses 12,238 manufacturing companies with 711,807 employees, ranking it 6th in the U.S. for number of manufacturing jobs.
Given the state’s heritage, it should be no surprise that the transportation equipment industry is the largest manufacturing sector, employing 21% of Michigan’s industrial workers. Other sectors also support transportation. For example, the industrial machinery and equipment sector accounts for 19% of jobs, followed by fabricated metal products with 13%. Rubber and miscellaneous plastic products employ 8% of the industrial workforce, while food and kindred products account for 6%.
Regionally, Grand Rapids leads the pack with 47,109 manufacturing jobs. Other top Michigan manufacturing cities include:
• Auburn Hills (33,913 jobs)
• Detroit (31,182 jobs)
• Holland (19,982 jobs)
• Warren (18,451 jobs)
Read more: Top Manufacturing Cities in the U.S.
MNI reports there are 34,866 executives among Michigan’s manufacturing companies. These include 7,385 presidents; 3,962 owners/partners; 3,685 vice presidents; and 3,573 sales, marketing, and purchasing executives. ; and MNI also reports that Michigan’s manufacturing companies employ 7,479 presidents, 3,962 owners and partners, and 3,753 executives in sales, marketing and purchasing jobs.
|Stellantis US, LLC||15,000||Auburn Hills||MI|
|Stellantis US, LLC||4,267||Warren||MI|
|General Motors Global Propulsion Systems||4,000||Pontiac||MI|
|Ford Motor Co., Michigan Assembly Plt.||3,550||Wayne||MI|
|Ford Motor Co., Flat Rock Assembly Plant||3,500||Flat Rock||MI|
|General Motors Co.||3,000||Detroit||MI|
1. Stellantis US, LLC, (Auburn Hills, MI)
The Chrysler World Headquarters and Technology Center, with its 15,000 employees, serves as Stellantis’ North American headquarters and its primary research and development center.
2. Nexteer Automotive, (Saginaw, MI)
Employing 6,900 workers, Nexteer Automotive creates advanced steering systems that keep pace with today’s technology. Instead of basing its design on hard drives scattered throughout the vehicle, Nexteer relies on programming zones. As a result, upgrades will be as simple as updating a cell phone’s operating system instead of replacing hard drives.
3. Gentex Corp. (Zeeland, MI)
With its 5,700 workers, Gentex Corp. makes high-tech electronics for the automotive industry. Its electronics, microelectronics, vision systems, cameras, sensing equipment, and displays all play a vital role in vehicle safety. Gentex also provides an automated assembly of its products.
4. FCA US, LLC, Mack Engine Plant (Detroit, MI)
FCA US, LLC’s Mack Engine Plant in Detroit, Michigan produces Jeep Grand Cherokee models, including plug-in hybrid versions. Part of the Detroit Assembly Complex, which covers 178 acres, this facility was built with a $1.6 billion investment from FCA. It started production in March 2021 and shipped its first vehicles in June 2021.
5. Stellantis US, LLC (Warren, MI)
The Warren Truck Assembly Plant has been building trucks since 1938. Continuing this proud tradition, 4,267 Stellantis US workers at this plant now manufacture electric versions of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.
6. Amway Corp. (Ada, MI)
Employing 4,000 workers at its Ada headquarters, Amway Corp. is the first of the top manufacturing companies in Michigan from the food and kindred products sector. As the world’s largest direct sales company, Amway specializes in vitamins and various nutritional, beauty and personal care products.
7. Ford Motor Co., Michigan Assembly Plant (Wayne, MI)
Built in 1957, Ford Motor Company’s Michigan Assembly Plant produces Ford Ranger and Bronco models and is part of the Wayne Stamping and Assembly complex. Encompassing 5 million square feet, this massive operation has a capacity of 5,300 weekly.
8. Ford Motor Co., Flat Rock Assembly Plant (Flat Rock, MI)
The Flat Rock Assembly Plant was the primary source for the Ford-Mazda pairing. Today, the plant’s 3,500 workers build Ford cars that use the Ford CD4 and Ford S550 platforms.
9. Perrigo Co. (Allegan, MI)
The Perrigo Company is another top Michigan manufacturer from the food and kindred products sector. Perrigo’s 3,500 employees make over-the-counter cold and allergy relief products, vitamins, skincare products and other health-related items.
10. General Motors Co. (Detroit, MI)
General Motors Company was the world’s largest carmaker for 77 years. Its Detroit headquarters houses 3,000 workers. In keeping with its plan to reach carbon neutrality by 2040, GM will stop producing gas engines and hybrid cars by 2035.
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Editor's Note: This article was originally published in February 2022. It is updated annually to reflect new statistics and trends in Michigan's manufacturing sector.