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Michigan is located in the Midwestern portion of the United States; it is bordered by four of five of the Great Lakes and thus it has the longest freshwater coastline in the world. A person living in Michigan is never more than 85 miles from a Great Lakes water source and is never more than 10 miles from freshwater. It is the only state to consist entirely of two peninsulas, the Upper and Lower Peninsulas. They are connected by the five-mile long Mackinac Bridge which is the second longest suspension bridge in the world.
Michigan is the birthplace and home to the mass produced automobile; the Ford Model T designed and built by Henry Ford gave rise to a way of life that changed the world forever. Previously, automobiles were only owned by the wealthy but with his invention of the assembly line he made available to the emerging middle classes a way of transportation that led to concrete highways and the building and settlement of vast suburbs.
The American automobile industry has been in major decline after 9/11/2001 due to the ensuing recession; the industry has also faced considerable competition from highly computerized Japanese and European manufacturers which have lower wage costs. GM continues to slump and by 2009 will no longer be the world’s largest producer having been surpassed by Toyota which made a profit of over $10 billion in 2006.