WABCO’s new American headquarters officially opens today. The $20 million building is located in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It reflects a new culture at WABCO and new priorities for the future.
WABCO CEO Jacques Esculier hosted the ceremony along with Jon Morrison, WABCO President, Americas.
Morrison spoke with The Brake Report from the new facility. He pointed out that WABCO has been very active over the past few years, acquiring three companies and also buying out Meritor’s share of what had been a 50/50 partnership.
The purpose of all the activity is to position WABCO for a future in which vehicles become increasingly autonomous and vehicle systems become more connected. The investments — particularly the buyout of Meritor — created a requirement for new space and new ways to work together.
“Now we’re all one WABCO,” Morrison says. The new, light-filled building is marked by many shared open spaces. It “reflects what we want — innovation, collaboration, and a positive environment.”
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But Morrison stresses that, while the building is open, it’s “done in a way that is very smart — plenty of space where people can go to focus and concentrate.”
WABCO employees have been in the building for about eight weeks, ironing out kinks and putting the final touches in place. Morrison says the reception has been very positive, despite some initial skepticism about the new building.
The open floor plan is just one part of what makes the building exciting to WABCO.
Morrison explains, “We wanted to focus the building construction to ensure that we keep the customer in mind at all time.”
A customer experience center in the building provides a space where “we can really invite the customer into our world” for training and other events.
“We’re in the trucking business,” says Morrison, explaining how the new building focuses employees on their truck customers. The new headquarters includes a space where a truck can drive into the building. “You can actually see the truck and see where our component systems are placed on the truck.”
In fact, several trucks and trailers are housed at the Auburn Hills headquarters, which allows WABCO to do on-site testing. The building is the global development center for active steering for WABCO and has a team dedicated to application development engineering for core systems. It also hosts finance, legal, tax, accounting, and sales professionals. Currently 200 people work at the location, but that number will increase to nearly 300 as WABCO continues to add staff.
WABCO has facilities around the country, and, according to Morrison, WABCO looked at other sites for its headquarters. The city of Auburn Hills and the state of Michigan were able to convince WABCO to build in Auburn Hills, in part thanks to a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
Morrison hopes the new building spurs even more growth: “Not only is this a great place for our employees to come and work every day, but it also acts as a catalyst for developing and advancing innovation to better serve our customers.”