Big Three Automakers

June 4, 1997

by Ann Mullen, MetroTimes

The idea of major Detroit development would probably not exist without the Big Three automakers. The auto industry, which drove Detroit's development early in this century, is still among the major forces. For instance, General Motors spent $75 million this year to purchase the Renaissance Center, where it will relocate its world headquarters from the General Motors building in the New Center Area. GM CEO and President John Smith is a member of Detroit Renaissance. Matt Cullen, its director of worldwide real estate, serves on the Downtown Development Authority and the Central Business District Association.

Ford Motor Co., a key player in getting the Renaissance Center built, contributed $1 million to the new Museum of African-American History, $40 million to place its name on the proposed Lion's football stadium, and $25 million to renovate the Veterans' Memorial Building. William Clay Ford Jr. serves on the Greater Downtown Partnership. Alex Trotman, Ford Motor Co. chairman, serves on Detroit Renaissance.

Chrysler Corp. plans to spend $2.1 billion over the next five years for a new engine plant, as well as modernize and expand six other plants in Detroit. Robert J. Eaton, Chrysler CEO and chairman, is part of the Greater Downtown Partnership and Detroit Renaissance. Leroy Richie, vice president and general counsel, serves on the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.