The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Annual Report: Business & Industry

March 27, 2011

Auto industry reboots in county

Vision for area: A hub for hybrid technology

ANDERSON, Ind. — The declining state of the automotive industry in Madison County began to see some sign of light at the end of the dark tunnel in 2010 with growth in new technology by local auto manufacturers.

Rocked by bankruptcy and stress, the automotive industry had nowhere to go but up.

“2009 was amongst one of the worst years in memory for the auto industry,” said Remy International CEO John Weber. “Like many auto suppliers, we were under tremendous stress, but we pulled through.”

The industry was set for a rebound in 2010, improving profitability and making significant adjustments in new products and new people.

“I feel good about the state of the industry,” Weber said.

Michael Brylawski, Bright Automotive, Inc, said that after hitting rock bottom through 2008 and 2009, the industry was rebooting and exploring new technology, concentrating on creating an independence from oil.

“The U.S. uses 25 percent of the world’s oil. It only has 2 percent of a proven reserve, importing 60 percent of the oil used,” Brylawski said. “We are at a starting point of improving technology and being independent of oil.”

The independence from oil lies in Bright eSolution’s current projects in vehicle electrification with the creation of pure electric vehicles for the Department of Defense and the United States Postal Service.

One vehicle, the IDEA, was recently showcased in Washington, D.C., as an eco-conscious, hybrid fleet vehicle.

“The IDEA is our vehicle. We took a Volkswagon van and used our controls,” Brylawski said.

The move to oil independent cars was good for Central Indiana, including Madison County, because of the region’s capabilities for technology and the assets of the people there. But is the future really Bright?

“I have cautious optimism (about the future),” Brylawski said. “The skill is here but the industry hit a low and is starting to grow out.”

Weber would agree with the warning of caution.

“The negative — there are storm clouds on the horizon with the breathtaking levels of commodity pricing,” he said. “Copper is triple what is was. There is a lot of cost pressure on material.”

Remy knows the need to be smarter and more creative by taking every opportunity to take the cost of the business down.

Expansions to the business and people created revenue, aiding in driving cost sdown.

“We invested money in new test stands and especially in the hybrid market,” Weber said.

Remy and Bright have both worked hard to secure contracts, grants and low interest loans to help drive costs down while maintaining top performance of the products each company manufactures.

Remy was recently awarded a $60.2 million federal grant for the commercialization of hybrid technology. The grant will help accelerate presence and capability in the hybrid market.

“We will be looking to establish a major production facility,” Weber said. “We have not decided where it will be. As we consider different locations, we must take into consideration transportation, labor environment, real estate costs and availability of talent.”

Even with storm clouds on the horizon, the automotive future in Madison County appeared to be headed toward sunny skies.

“I am very positive for 2011,” Weber said.

Contact April Abernathy, 640-4861,


Text Only
Annual Report: Business & Industry
  • Meyers Auto-3.jpg Auto dealers seeing increase in sales

    Overall auto sales have been climbing in the U.S., and it’s just as true in Madison County, where many dealerships have seen consumer demand on the increase.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0216 Welder working Ed Martin building12a.jpg Job loss, low incomes lead to population drop

    Though the federal government reports that the nation is on an economic upswing, Madison County continues to struggle with a 10.2 percent unemployment rate.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 8 AR exit 10 3.jpg Healthy growth

    Growth along the Interstate 69 corridor has been healthy, at least for two area hospitals.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • Flagship forms hub of Exit 22

    The Flagship Enterprise Center at Exit 22 was created in 2005. The business incubator has helped more than 100 companies get a start.

    March 27, 2012

  • 7 Jahnae_Casino_1.jpg Hoosier Park VP sees tourism driving economic turnaround

    Jahnae Erpenbach, the vice president and general manager of gaming at Hoosier Park, strongly believes that the city of Anderson and Madison County are near a turning point in the area’s economic fortunes.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0717 news Bank Robbery12.jpg Local banks saw a year of growth

    During 2011, banks saw modest growth, returning to the industry despite a rough year in the media spotlight.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0903 biz Mike Baker1a.jpg Interest in people keeps Baker banking

    Mike Baker, the regional president of North Central and Muncie regions of First Merchants Bank, entered the banking industry in 1983.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • Bright Automotive Electric Car Bright Automotive may be gone, but not the future

    There’s no question the demise of Bright Automotive represents a blow to Madison County and the hybrid-electric niche it occupies in the automotive industry. But county economic development officials aren’t willing to let the engineering expertise that existed here with Bright slip away without a fight.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0210 news city council 033.jpg Economic Development director on the lookout for businesses

    As the city’s economic development director, Greg Winkler’s job entails seeking companies that are looking to expand or relocate. He tries to make such companies “give Anderson a hard look.”

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

  • 0119_The Farm Site[1].jpg City wants to bring foreign companies, jobs

    One of last year’s biggest economic development announcements in Anderson was the news that a 72-acre baseball and softball training and competition complex would be built along Interstate 69.

    March 27, 2012 1 Photo

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Will you be attending Colts camp?

Yes, at least once
Yes, I plan multiple visits
     View Results