FROM THE HILL
Motor City Magic
By Eric Snyder
U.S. Representative Haley Stevens (D-MI) and Ted Hughes (right), President of MAHLE Industries and vice president of sales and application engineering, converse during the MAHLE North America headquarters tour.
Although Detroit is known for being the capital of the U.S. automotive industry and the home of the Big Three automakers, the region’s economy is also driven by everything automotive, from tier-one suppliers to specialty aftermarket businesses. That nuance is not lost on U.S. Representative Haley Stevens (D-MI), who understands as well as any member of Congress the interconnected nature of the automakers and the aftermarket.
Rep. Stevens has been very supportive of SEMA’s legislative priorities and is a close ally of the industry. The Congresswoman recently visited MAHLE’s North America headquarters in Farmington Hills, Michigan, which is located just outside the Motor City, to learn more about the company and to discuss issues of importance to the industry.
Founded by brothers Hermann and Ernst Mahle in the early ’20s, MAHLE traces its roots back to a small workshop in Cannstatt, Germany, where it began producing pistons for combustion engines. MAHLE developed the first controlled-expansion piston in Germany in 1927 and the first aluminum ring carrier piston for diesel engines in 1931. The company continued to expand before the two brothers transferred ownership of their company to the MAHLE Foundation in 1964. The foundation supports children’s health and education initiatives globally.
Based in Stuttgart, Germany, MAHLE is one of the top 20 automotive suppliers in the world, with more than 160 production locations globally and 16 research-and-development facilities on five continents. The company produces efficiency technology for automobiles, including piston systems and components, cylinder components, valvetrain systems, air conditioning, engine cooling components and systems, oil and fuel management systems, and electronics. MAHLE is also a key player in the aftermarket, as it produces replacement and custom parts and accessories.
After touring MAHLE’s North America headquarters, Rep. Stevens poses for a picture with Craig Boerman (left), MAHLE vice president of human resources; Ted Hughes (second from left), MAHLE director of marketing; Scott Ferriman (second from right); and Eric Snyder, SEMA director of congressional affairs.
Although COVID-19 has upended how SEMA and its members interact with their elected officials, it was valuable to provide Rep. Stevens with a small, socially distanced tour of MAHLE’s North America headquarters. SEMA’s government affairs office has worked closely with Rep. Stevens and her staff over the past two years on issues of importance to the automotive aftermarket. The Congresswoman’s visit provided her with a chance to hear directly from constituents about federal government policies impacting their businesses, ranging from tariffs to vehicle data access and the Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act.
“The automotive industry faces multiple challenges on many fronts,” said Ted Hughes, MAHLE’s director of marketing. “The opportunity to spend time with Rep. Stevens and give her some insight into these issues from a firsthand perspective is something we were very proud to do. Her attentiveness during our time together and her willingness to understand how our world is changing was a credit to her and her priorities.”
Elected in 2018 to represent Michigan’s 11th Congressional District, which includes part of Wayne and Oakland counties, Rep. Stevens has proven herself a passionate advocate for all facets of the automotive industry. As a native of the Detroit area, Rep. Stevens earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from American University in Washington, D.C. She went on to serve in President Barack Obama’s administration as the chief of staff to the U.S. Auto Rescue Task Force, the federal initiative focused on saving General Motors and Chrysler.
Rep. Stevens has proven herself a passionate advocate for all facets of the automotive industry during her first term representing Michigan’s 11th District in Congress, which includes part of Wayne and Oakland Counties.
Rep. Stevens also served as a policy adviser in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and helped to set up both the Office of Recovery for Automotive Communities and Workers and the White House Office of Manufacturing Policy. Prior to running for Congress, she worked in an advanced manufacturing research lab in Chicago, which focused on the future of work in the digital age.
Rep. Stevens is a member of the U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor and chairs the Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Research and Technology, a position she uses to promote manufacturing, expand educational opportunities, and increase investment in critical research and development. She is a member of the Manufacturing, Global Investment in America, Automotive, and Auto Care caucuses. The Congresswoman is also a co-sponsor and strong supporter of the RPM Act, which clarifies that it is legal to convert motor vehicles into dedicated race cars and to sell race parts for those machines.
“I really enjoyed the opportunity to visit MAHLE in Farmington Hills as part of my Manufacturing Monday initiative,” Rep. Stevens said. “After touring the facility, we had a great conversation about adjusting to public health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic, safeguarding our supply chains, and maintaining our economic competitiveness in Michigan’s 11th District.”
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