Detroit Today: Ford opens mobility site within Michigan Central campus

“Newlab” is housed within a restored and repurposed book depository building located near Michigan Central Station.

Detroit has long been known as the Motor City, ever since car manufacturing and distribution took off here. To ensure the success of that industry, other businesses and government agencies began to foster that investment — attracting more people to the area to speed up our car economy.

With the growth of investment in autonomous and electric vehicles, the automotive sector is focusing more and more on mobility. Ford has even gone as far as calling itself a “mobility company,” not a “car company.” That signal is to say that they are trying to do so much more than produce and distribute cars.

Part of Ford’s vision for its future is Newlab within the Michigan Central campus. Newlab, which opened this week at a restored book depository building, is working to attract startups and entrepreneurs to build companies in the broader industry of mobility.

Some startups based at Newlab include a drone manufacturing platform, an automated vehicle company and a local air pollution monitoring company.

“It’s about building the talent base, nurturing businesses, nurturing the relationship between businesses and community.” — Josh Sirefman, Michigan Central CEO

Listen: How Detroit’s mobility sector is changing and attempting to grow.


Josh Sirefman is the CEO of Michigan Central. He says Michigan Central and Newlab are working to create new companies within the mobility space in Detroit.

“It’s not about any single one company,” says Sirefman. “It’s about building the talent base, nurturing businesses, nurturing the relationship between businesses and community — and really growing this epicenter right in Detroit of the future.”

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