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Panasonic sets up R&D center - and 60 jobs - in Farmington Hills

A Motorola facility in Farmington Hills has been vacant since it closed four years ago. Soon, however,  it will be filled with the sounds of engineers and other employees researching and developing new ways for drivers to interact with automotive sound systems.

The Panasonic Automotive Systems Co. of America will hire 60 full-time employees initially, says Teri Arbenowske, economic development director for the city of Farmington Hills, and as time goes on more will be added.

The Japanese electronics company has leased 90,000 square feet of space, previously used by Motorola, in a corporate park in the 12 Mile and Halstead area. Mercedes Benz and Greenpath are located in the same corporate park. It is renovating the space, where engineers will research and develop human machine interfaces, vehicle sound systems and electronics for electric/hybrid vehicles.

"This will be work with advanced software, testing of vehicle sound systems. The exciting thing about this is the number of jobs and the type of jobs," Arbenowske says.

The state awarded Panasonic a $500,000 Business Development Program incentive to expand its Southeast Michigan operations, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp. It says the company is investing $8.16 million to establish the research and development center. The city is has also approved tax abatements for the project.

"They're looking for high tech jobs, skilled engineers," Arbenowske says. "That's what we really need in Michigan, is to bring more engineers in to develop new products…A lot of our grads leave Michigan and we need companies that can keep that talent here."

Mayor Barry Brickner shared his excitement over the company's arrival in a statement: "Farmington Hills is thrilled to welcome Panasonic Automotive Systems of America to our City. Panasonic will provide jobs and will create excitement and growth in the business community.”

Source: Teri Arbenowske, economic develop director, city of Farmington Hills
Writer: Kim North Shine
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