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(ANN ARBOR, Mich., March 20, 2013) -- A newly-released report by the Center for Automotive Research (CAR), a nonprofit research organization based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, calculates the substantial economic impact a single assembly plant has on the state and national economies and showcases an important example of the value of the automotive industry overall.

The report also highlights the plant's importance to the state's supplier network. Michigan Assembly Plant (MAP), in Wayne, Michigan, which employs approximately 5,000 people at the plant, supports more than 24,000 total jobs in the state; with employees earning wages of $1.8 billion annually. The plant purchases more than $1 billion in parts from Michigan-based supplier companies, and through its operations contributes $3 billion to the State Gross Product. Further, the MAP makes a considerable contribution to the national economy by supporting over 48,000 jobs across the country with $3.6 billion in wages.

"Michigan Assembly Plant has a significant impact on the state's economy, and also supports an extensive supply chain in Michigan providing profitable opportunities for small businesses," said Kim Hill, director of the Sustainability and Economic Development Strategies group at CAR, and the study's lead. "This plant provides a case study in the breadth of the supply chain supported by automobile manufacturing."

Michigan Assembly procures parts and supplies from 80 Michigan-based tier one suppliers, who in turn purchase parts from many smaller, Michigan-based manufacturing companies, helping support a vast interconnected, independent supply chain. Many of these supplier companies provide manufacturing, R&D, and product development work necessary to support the engineering, design and production of the vehicles at MAP. In total, MAP purchases $3.1 billion in goods and services from 379 suppliers worldwide, 179 of which are located in the United States.

"With a wealth of ingenuity and innovation right in our backyard, it is smart business to tap as much of that talent as possible," said Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president of The Americas. "It is mutually beneficial and supports our local communities and economic vitality."

The study was funded by Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Ford Motor Company and is available on the CAR website, www.cargroup.org.

(DETROIT) -- Chrysler Brand President and CEO Saad Chehab spoke during an Automotive Press Association luncheon Thursday, March 21 at the Detroit Athletic Club. Chehab delivered an update on the Chrysler Brand. From "Imported from Detroit" to the brand's successful S models, to the 300 Varvatos Edition to Motown to Carhartt, the Chrysler Brand has been busy and the Brand's sales success in 2012 shows its hard work is paying off. The Chrysler Brand sold nearly 308,000 vehicles in 2012, a 39-percent increase from 2011. This year, sales were up 3-percent to 45,779 vehicles sold through the month of February. According to Chehab, Chrysler's Brand's "S" models for the 200, 300 full-size sedan and Town and Country minivan have performed extremely well and now account for about 25-percent of its sales. The "S" models, he said, also have attracted younger buyers with higher household incomes and helped attract buyers in non-traditional markets for Chrysler.

G.E.B. V

(DETROIT) -- After a full day of racing action, the excitement will kick into high gear on Saturday, June 1 at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

Bret Michaels will rock the MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage to liven up the Saturday night activities at the Grand Prix. Michaels, lead singer of the band Poison, reality TV star and avid philanthropist, will take to the stage at approximately 6 p.m. ET on June 1.

With Michaels leading the way, Poison was one of the most popular rock bands of the 1980's with hits such as "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," "Talk Dirty to Me" and "Nothin' but a Good Time." Michaels, an admitted "car guy," has had a successful solo career as well with four studio albums released. His latest CD, Good Songs and Great Friends, was just released last month. His solo hits include, "All I Ever Needed," "Nothing to Lose" and "Get Your Rock On." In recent years, Michaels has also established himself as a reality television personality starring in such hit shows as "Rock of Love with Bret Michaels" and "Celebrity Apprentice." He is sure to have more success with his new show "Bret Michaels Rock My RV" coming in May to the Travel Channel.

The concert will highlight a full day off the track as acts will perform throughout the day and all weekend long on the MotorCity Casino Hotel Entertainment Stage. On the track, the action will be just as thrilling with three great races on Saturday. The Pirelli World Challenge will host the first of two weekend races while the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series will also battle wheel to wheel on June 1. The IZOD IndyCar Series will then close it out with the first of two weekend races at the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans.

(DETROIT) -- America's greatest hot rod show celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Ridler Award. The 61st Annual Meguiar's Detroit Autorama at Cobo Center was held March 8-10. The Ridler Award is the most coveted award in hot rodding. For 50-years, the auspicious award has been presented to the most outstanding new custom car, shown for the first time anywhere. It was named after the first promoter of Detroit Autorama, Don Ridler. The 50 past winners were invited to bring their vehicles back to Autorama this year. The outdoor "cacklefest" was held outside with the live fire up of two super charged dragsters including Al Bergler's famous "More Aggravation" and "Motown Shaker."

Another exciting feature of this year's show was the "Tribute to the Batmobile." There were vehicles on display owned by Detroit's own Kid Rock. The popular Autorama Student Career Day, introduced seven years ago, hosted more than 3,000 high school and trade school automotive students from nearly 50 schools in the state learning from key hot rod builders and industry leaders.

Visitors also enjoyed the 19th annual Toy-A-Rama.

PHOTOS SUBMITTED BY ROBERT BENKO