The South Western Michigan Area
This area has a high density of automotive industries in the area. All the major automakers (Ford, GM, Toyota, Chrysler, Nissan) have factories/R&D centers in this area. There are also a lot of auto suppliers which supplement the big companies and hire plenty of automotive engineers. The best university in this area is the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Other universities that hire engineers are Michigan State and Michigan Tech.
The Windsor Ontario Area
A lot of the major automakers have industries in this area. This area, which includes Windsor, Toronto and suburbs, has automotive plants/R&D centers for Chrysler, Honda and Toyota along with their suppliers. The best university in the area for automotive engineer is University of Windsor.
The Southern States have been a lot more attractive to manufacturers recently due to the business-friendly laws and lack of union labor. Volkswagen has a plant in Tennessee, Kia has a plant in Alabama, Volvo has just opened a plant in South Carolina etc. The best ranked university in this area for automotive engineering is Clemson University. Georgia Tech also has a very good program for mechanical engineering with a good GT motorsports club.
The major company in this area is Tesla Motors, and they may be the start of an automotive engineering revolution in this state. Atieva and Faraday Future are new startups that are looking to challenge Tesla in the electric car industry. California is the land of the best global universities; with Stanford and UC Berkeley leading the way.
Best locations for an automotive engineering student in North America
To answer this question, I am going to focus on a few common locations of automotive engineering employment around the globe, and point out the top universities in those areas. The reason for this is that most employers do prefer candidates from local universities first. It is better to attend the best universities in that area to give yourself the best chance.
Germany, China, Mexico and India are three other countries with prominent automotive engineering industries.
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