SOUTHFIELD, MI—The U.S. Department of Commerce's Technology Administration and the Big 3 U.S. automakers have signed an agreement establishing a partnership to promote technological research and policy analysis focused on improving manufacturing competitiveness in the U.S. automotive industry.

The partnership, dubbed the United States Alliance for Technology and Engineering for Automotive Manufacturing (U.S. A-TEAM), will bring together scientists and engineers from the department's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), DaimlerChrysler, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp.

The group will focus on a number of areas, including digital and virtual tools, plant floor controllers, and ergonomics.

"Technological innovation is an essential key to the manufacturing competitiveness of the U.S. automotive sector," says U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Technology Phillip J. Bond. "The U.S. A-TEAM brings together world-class scientists and exchange ideas, share knowledge, and engage in collaborative, precompetitive research that will foster economic growth and the creation of high-wage jobs through global manufacturing leadership of U.S. automobile manufacturers and their suppliers."