Jenoptik has relocated to a modern engineering, production, sales, and service campus for industrial metrology and laser processing systems in Rochester Hills, Michigan.

The facility covers 100,000 ft² on a 16-acre campus – almost twice as large as its current location – and includes flexible application areas that can be used simultaneously for training and meeting rooms.

“In our expanded laser application center, we will be able to demonstrate and perform feasibility studies, application-specific competencies, as well as cutting and welding services,” says Andreas Blind, vice president of sales, services, and marketing.

The facility features sensor-controlled offices, light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, and energy saving heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

“We will markedly exceed U.S. and local environmental standards,” says David Matynowski, vice president of operations.

The facility will provide expansion options for other Jenoptik activities and future planned growth in the U.S.

Ford ousts Mark Fields, Jim Hackett named new CEO

Ford Motor Co. has fired CEO Mark Fields, leader of the automaker for the past three years, and replaced him with board member and head of Ford’s Smart Mobility tech venture Jim Hackett, former CEO of furniture maker Steelcase.

Newly appointed Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Hackett (left) discusses the company’s future with Executive Chairman Bill Ford (right).

Despite turning in record earnings in 2015, the automaker’s stock price has languished since 2014. Fields tried several initiatives to change that, ranging from big investments in autonomous vehicle technology and mobility startups to stock repurchases. Low stock prices, coupled with growing interest in companies with more investor appeal, have pushed Ford to No. 3 in market value for U.S. automakers, behind GM (No. 1) and Tesla (No. 2).

Ford’s near-term prospects didn’t show a lot of room for improvement. Fields had warned investors in recent weeks that 2017 didn’t hold a lot of growth promise for Ford – as rollout costs for new vehicles are expected to lower earnings – and investors questioned Fields’ strategies for further growing the automaker.

Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said he decided to replace Fields with Hackett in hopes of revitalizing the company and focusing on the future.

“He’s a proven transformational leader. He’s a visionary thinker. He and I think very much alike,” Bill Ford says. “He can integrate future thinking into an operation and help seamlessly deliver a future that has been envisioned.”

A former Ford board member, Hackett became executive chairman of Ford Smart Mobility LLC a little more than a year ago.

The future is not a fantasy,” Hackett says, adding that Ford engineers are watching trends such as 3D printing, autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, and lightweight materials. “We’re triangulating all of these forces to try to come up with a competitive set about where we’re going to play and how we’re going to win.”

Auto insurance premiums to rise $81B

Research from Accenture and Stevens Institute of Technology suggests auto premiums will increase by $81 billion during the next eight years, driven by risks related to cybersecurity, software and hardware, and the need for additional public infrastructure.

Larry Karp, a co-author of the report and global insurance telematics lead in Accenture Mobility says, “Cybersecurity, product liability for sensors and software algorithms, and public infrastructure [technology spending] are going to drive billions in new insurance premiums for the U.S. auto insurance industry.”

Premium growth will precede an anticipated decline in industry revenue beginning in 2026. With roads becoming safer, policies will shift from consumers to autonomous vehicle manufacturers and other service providers. Chen Liu, co-author of the report and a research assistant at Stevens Institute of Technology’s School of Systems and Enterprises, says, “Autonomous-vehicle technology will drive a significant shift in risk from human error to malicious third-party software, hardware, and infrastructure risk.”;