Atlanta emerging as auto industry hub

Panasonic Automotive Systems’ innovation center on the Georgia Tech campus focuses on connected cars and vehicle software development.

Last month, PSA Group chose Atlanta for its North American headquarters as the French automaker prepares to return to the U.S.

Its decision partly reflected the international reach of Atlanta’s airport, which will give PSA’s project team easy access to the Paris headquarters.

But Atlanta also is rapidly emerging as an auto industry hub for engineering and software development — something PSA will need as it unfurls a diverse mobility and ride-sharing U.S. business model over the next few years.

State officials have been offering incentives for investments in Atlanta to help turn it into a southeastern alternative to California’s Silicon Valley or the Detroit engineering epicenter.

Croteau: “Critical mass of talent”

“Atlanta offers a critical mass of talent,” said Tom Croteau, deputy commissioner for global commerce at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “More than 10,000 new engineers graduate every year within a 250-mile radius of Atlanta, and a third of them come out of Georgia Tech.

“Many of the others move to Atlanta for the millennial lifestyle it offers. And that young, fresh thinking is the talent that a lot of companies are looking for.”

It is a different story from the one that has dominated industry news in the South, where states have been attracting vehicle plants and supplier factories for decades.



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