"There's nothing going on in Silicon Valley or anywhere else … that is more advanced than what is going on here," Ford told students Friday at the Ross School of Business, the Detroit Free Press reported.
Two days after Michigan's Gov. Rick Snyder failed to mention the word automobile in his first state of the state speech, Ford said, "It is my belief that the best and the brightest will be … descending on Michigan. So if you are thinking about staying in Michigan, please do. We need you."
Ford is investing $1 billion on research and development of new power systems for automobiles, such as all-electric or hybrid vehicles, the executive chairman said.
Ford's comments were supported by DTE Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Earley, who said the combined forces of the automotive industry and energy companies would add 40,000 jobs in Michigan by 2020, the newspaper said.