On the fourth day of his Asia jobs mission, Governor Mitch Daniels cultivated Indiana's place of prominence in the electric vehicle sector during his meetings with advanced technology vehicle giants, Geely and Wanxiang.
Officials from Geely, one of the four largest independent, private automobile manufacturers in China, spent the morning with Governor Daniels outlining the company's manufacturing outlook and future growth plans. Just three months ago, Geely finalized its acquisition of Volvo, whose C30 electric car runs on EnerDel's lithium-ion batteries.
Later in the day, the governor met with Dr. Lu Guanqiu, chairman of Wanxiang, at Wanxiang's headquarters to discuss the company's relationship with EnerDel and prospects for future growth. In May EnerDel announced an agreement to jointly produce battery systems for Wanxiang's existing backlog of customers in China. Following a meeting and facility tour, Wanxiang took members of the Indiana delegation on a drive in its electric bus. The bus was the official mode of bus transportation at World Expo in Shanghai this year.
Charles Gassenheimer, chairman of Ener1, parent company of EnerDel, also joined Daniels for the meetings.
"As EnerDel knows, for the automotive industry, old and new, there is no better place to find high-quality workers than Indiana. It's been true for more than 100 years and it is a key part of the message we're sharing with everyone we're meeting in China," said Daniels.
In addition to the electric vehicle discussions, Daniels also delivered a morning presentation to more than 100 Chinese business representatives at the Indiana-Zhejiang Trade and Investment Seminar organized by the Zhejiang Provincial Foreign Affairs Department. During his remarks, the governor delivered his familiar pitch about Indiana's economic strengths and business climate.
While China is the world's largest auto market, Indiana's global reputation for electric vehicle capacity continues to spread. In the past year, Indiana was selected to be home to THINK's first U.S. assembly plant for its all-electric car, and the state welcomed representatives from more than 50 Chinese automobile manufacturers for an advanced vehicle technology summit, many of them following up on the governor's initial visit to China in 2009. Several Indiana companies including Delphi, Remy and Allison Transmission are engaged as suppliers in the electric vehicle market and are adding jobs in the Hoosier State to meet rising global demand.
Among company meetings scheduled for Friday, the governor will visit with representatives of Y.K. Furniture, which in June announced plans to establish a $24 million U.S. headquarters in Marion. Later, Daniels will have dinner with Governor Lu Zushan of Zhejiang Province. Governor Lu was in Indiana last week to explore investment opportunities. While in Indianapolis, Governor Lu visited EnerDel, the Indiana University School of Medicine, the IU Simon Cancer Center and an Indianapolis Colts game, which he attended as a guest of Daniels.
Photos and audio from today's events may be found on the Governor's Asia web page at: http://in.gov/gov/asia2010.htm