State of the State: What Gov. Snyder Has Said About Michigan Business, the Auto Industry

From zero mentions of automotive in 2011 to a 671-word commentary in 2016, Snyder talks cars, industry.

In Gov. Rick Synder’s first State of the State speech in 2011, he made no mention of autos, the auto industry or cars. That’s changed.

Since then, he’s mentioned Michigan’s signature industry a number of times in a number of different ways, touching on the North American International Auto Show, self-driving cars, technology, and the jobs that are part of it.

In his annual speech, Snyder also has discussed a number of other business-related issues and concepts. WDET analyzed his State of the State speeches, based on the mentions of certain words and concepts. The chart below alllows you to click on the bar that corresponds to each term and see how many times Snyder has used each word in each of his six State of the State speeches.

WDET will be tracking what he says in his 2017 address.



During the 2011 State of the State speech, Gov. Rick Snyder made no mention of “autos,” the automotive industry or cars.

Click here for the full text of the 2011 State of the State speech.


“Our automotive industry has made a major comeback. Last week I was at the North American Auto Show and I was proud to say that Detroit is still the undisputed auto capital of the world!”

Click here for the full text of the 2012 State of the State speech.


“Our big three industries are autos, agriculture and tourism. All are hitting on full cylinders and it’s a wonderful thing to see. I went to the Auto Show just this week. The auto industry is back in our country, over 14 million units sold. But, one number you may not know is right here in Michigan. This last year over 2.25 million units of those 14 million units were assembled right here in Michigan and we should be proud of that. The good part is we have the best of those units. If you went to the North American Auto Show or you saw the press already, the winners of car and truck of the year are the Cadillac ATS, assembled in Lansing and the Ram 1500 assembled in Warren. If you want the best, you buy a Michigan product….

“…one piece of legislation I am also asking for is automated vehicle registration. In terms of saying they are coming up with autonomous vehicles today, Google and other places now, in long term, are going to have vehicles that may not even have people in them. I am not suggesting that now, so don’t get nervous, but California, Florida and Nevada have already passed legislation on autonomous vehicles. They’re ahead of us and aren’t we the automotive capitol of the world? So, I think we should be stepping it up here and make sure we are on the forefront of advances and vehicles and opportunity, so I encourage that legislation.”

Click here for the full text of the 2013 State of the State speech.


“Let me start with one of our critical industries, the automotive industry, and I encourage you to go to the Auto Show in Detroit, if you have the chance. It’s their 25th anniversary. They have the world’s best auto show. If you stop and look at it, the automotive industry in Michigan, since 2009 automotive production in Michigan has doubled. We’re at the highest production level since 2005.

“…we just had an announcement from the Auto Show, Ford announced $10 million in new contracts to Michigan companies because of this (Pure Michigan Business Connect) program.” 

Click here for the full text of the 2014 State of the State speech.


“The auto industry, what a great comeback. Again, I hope you have the opportunity to make the Detroit Auto Show, the North American International Auto Show, you can see how tremendously exciting the industry is; but to give you one number that stands out, since 2010 we had a 48 percent increase in automotive production in the state of Michigan. Nearly 50 percent increase in four years.”

Click here for the full text of the 2015 State of the State speech.


“The one tonight I particularly want to talk about, the automotive industry; we should be so proud. We set U.S. records for car sales in this country over the last 12 months and next year’s expected to be even better. Michigan has been the beneficiary of that. We are still the heart and soul of the auto industry. Make no mistake about that, we should carry a special pride with that.

“Over 70 percent of the research and development for the U.S. auto industry happens right here in Michigan, in addition to building more cars than any other state, but I want to share something with you. It has been a tremendous opportunity and a privilege for us to help support that industry and the wonderful working people on the lines building those cars, at the supplier base doing that hard work to make the world’s best products, but we have a threat. I can tell you if we did what we did in the past, we could lose the auto industry out of our state, in terms of leadership. Why is that? Because the auto industry is transforming to something new. The world is changing. What is the automobile industry of today; in 10 or 20 years will be called the mobility industry. It will be about how people travel, not just about the vehicle they travel in. It’s time now to understand, we need to be looking toward the future; not just admiring the past.

“So this area in particular, we need to make investments, and we have started that process; we have made some good investments. The primary being in the area of intelligent vehicles: autonomous and connected vehicles and smart infrastructure and how it communicates with vehicles. Several years ago, we created something exciting in partnership with the University of Michigan and a lot of partners called the Michigan Mobility Transformation Center. This is actually a real project that you may not realize is taking place in southeastern Michigan. They literally have a test bed of thousands of connected vehicles talking to infrastructure even today. When I say connected vehicles, do not worry, many of you may confuse that with autonomous vehicles – these still have drivers in them – so you can feel safe on the road. But this is a part of our future and we need to do more.

“Just this last year we did a partnership in what was something called the MCity. It’s a thirty-two acre campus at the University of Michigan that is for testing autonomous and connected vehicles; a closed loop system that has many different environments. It is swamped. The auto industry has overwhelmed this place with demand, because they’re looking for a place to do this kind of work. So MCity is not good enough. So what I propose to you, and I’ve already been working in partnership with our congressional delegation and I thank them for their efforts, is to look to create the American Center for Mobility at Willow Run. We have the opportunity to create over a 300 acre campus that would be the world’s best place to test intelligent vehicles, whether autonomous or connected. This place is critically important. The industry needs it, but we need to bring in the federal government and say, ‘this is the place where the standards for safe operation should take place.’ It’s right here in Michigan, at Willow Run, and it can be the base for international standards.

“That’s how we can help keep leadership of the auto industry in Michigan; by making that future looking investment and doing the right thing. To make sure that really exciting car you saw at the Detroit Auto Show, in ten years, just think, it will still have wheels, but it’s a computer on wheels. We need a place like this to make sure we maintain our leadership for the long-term future. Thank you. The last item I talked about, about automotive going to mobility, was an opportunity that could become a threat.”

Click here for the full text of the 2016 State of the State speech.



  • Sandra Svoboda
    Recovering Bankruptcy Reporter/Blogger looking forward to chronicling regional revitalization on-air, digitally and through community engagement.