Standing in front of a glistening new complex that stands out like the Emerald City in the middle of gritty southwest Detroit, ArvinMeritor Inc. Chairman Larry Yost formally dedicates a sleek new $40 million technology center.

He is joined by dignitaries as he inaugurates the Light Vehicle Systems (LVS) technology center, which has been operating since late March.

Situated next to the company's roof and suspension assembly plant, which opened as phase one of the complex in 2001, the 4-story office building houses more than 200 white-collar professionals responsible for product design, engineering, sales and administrative functions.

The assembly plant employs 250 workers and will add 95 more to produce new suspension modules for an '05 SUV officials decline to identify.

Many of the companies that now comprise ArvinMeritor originally were foreign-based, resulting in much of ArvinMeritor's design and engineering expertise being located overseas.

This new technology center shows the company is trying to get closer to its North American customers, Yost says.

“To effectively support our North American customers' growing requirements for system design management, we needed to make an investment and grow our light-vehicle technology base in this region,” Yost says.