When you hear the words “automotive industry”, the first place that comes to many people’s minds is Detroit, Michigan. Since the 20th Century, Detroit has widely been considered the automotive capital of the world, after Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903. After that Detroit, quickly became a heavy hitter in the automotive industry.
Henry Ford, a native of Dearborn, Michigan, was initially an engineer for the Edison Illuminating Company before he founded the Ford Motor Company. After founding the unsuccessful Detroit Automobile Company, Ford set his sights on building the Ford Motor Company, with the intent of creating an automobile he could market to the public. In 1908, the Ford Model T was introduced to the public. The Model T was marketed as the first affordable automobile and was originally sold at around just $850. In 1925, the price of a Model T was lowered to less than $300, due to the car’s assembly-line production. Automobile manufacturing has come a long way since its early days, and today almost every factory uses i beam conveyor systems and other equipment to produce vehicle parts at a fast pace.
By the early 1920s, three main Detroit automotive companies seemed to dominate the industry- Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler. Due to the influx of automotive companies, jobs in the auto industry were becoming easily available. By 1950, there were approximately 296,000 manufacturing jobs available in Detroit, making Detroit the fourth-largest U.S. city at that time. Shortly after, Motown Records was founded, which increased Detroit’s popularity even more.
Unfortunately, the success of Detroit’s booming auto industry didn’t last long. In the late 1950s, factories started to be built in the city’s suburbs, moving job opportunities out of the city. Another thing that negatively impacted the job market at that time was the integration of machinery into assembly line jobs. Because of this, tens of thousands of jobs were lost, causing people to move out of Detroit in search of work. Detroit was also hit hard during the energy crisis in the 1970s because up until that point the city had been producing large vehicles, but now had to compete with Japanese manufacturers who were producing smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. The city of Detroit was also hit with a devastating during the economic recession of the early 1980s, and unemployment numbers began to rise again at this time.
Today, the city of Detroit has improved significantly. The city is currently home to the Big Three auto manufacturers- General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and, of course, the Ford Motor Company. The city is also home to several major corporations, including Quicken Loans, Little Caesars, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. In 2014, JPMorgan Chase announced that they would be investing $100 million into Detroit’s economy over the span of five years, in an effort to develop projects that will increase employment. Since then, the city of Detroit seems to be improving, and it will be interesting to see the city rebuild after all these years.