The automobile industry has been a national asset and will likely remain so in the foreseeable future. However, the market share of domestically manufactured cars has dropped by 10% in the past ten years. With $1 billion profit loss for every percent drop in the market share, this represents a total profit loss of $10 billion for US car makers. The low profit margin has driven the industry to off-shore labor-intensive jobs to countries with cheap labor. The practice has hit many American families hard. Increasingly in the last few years, automakers and auto-part suppliers have begun to off-shore knowledge-based, high-tech jobs as they invest millions of dollars in establishing centers of excellence in automotive technologies overseas. The off-shoring of high-paying, knowledge-based jobs in the auto industry, coupled with the eroding lead in automobile base technologies, will deal even harsher blows to the US auto industry and economy, since our cutting-edge engineering technologies are what have kept the US competitive in the world market.
Western Michigan University (WMU) is geographically located in the heart of the US automotive zone. For years, our engineering faculty staff has been assisting auto industry with applied technologies that have directly impacted their product design, manufacturability, quality, and, therefore, profitability. To keep jobs from being off-shored in the future, government funding can be leveraged with industry funding to develop advanced, innovative applied technologies and train young, top-notch US engineers to compete in the tidal wave of technology globalization.
To meet this opportunity, CAViDS has been established at WMU to provide breakthrough applied computer simulation technology and knowledge to the vehicle industry in the area of vehicle design and analysis. It is a concept of cost-sharing, risk-sharing, and benefit-sharing.