30 August 2011

Detroit, Automotive Capital of the World

2008 was a watershed year for many in the automotive industry. No less so than the BIG-3 which are headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. 

General Motors

Along the expanse of Woodward Avenue, Detroit celebrates an annual event in the month of August each year which sees cars from the 60's and 70's gathering along Woordward Avenue for an annual drive-by (see Woodward Dream Cruise).  I hear that Woodward Avenue is much like Route-66 and a nostalgic piligrimage for automotive lovers.  It is quite a sight to see the many oldies, both vintage cars and drivers alike during the week of the Woodward Dream Cruise!

Woodward Dream Cruise 2011

While it seems that the automotive industry is very much alive along the fringe of Detroit city, it seems that Detroit city itself may have seen better days.  A fate similarly shared by its basketball team, the Detroit Pistons. Many dilipidated buildings abound, even within the heart of the city.  For a city of its size, it seems awefully quiet, even on a typical weekday.  Apparently, the city once hosted a population of 2 million.  Today, it stands at a scant 750,000.  Many have chosen to move out to the suburbs, where new housings are a-plenty.  Perhaps the only times when the city thrives is when baseball or football games are on.

Vacant buildings in the heart of Detroit

Still, there are positive signs that the city is slowly, very slowly, recovering.  The automotive industry continues to dominate its industry, and hence its economic weakness.  GM, Ford and Chrysler, as well as many ancillary businesses continue to recover and perhaps prosper.

A very simple lesson here: diversify.

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