Our Founder

Our Founder: Richard E. Dauch


On August 2, 2013, AAM lost a great friend and leader. We will honor Dick's memory through teamwork and continued success. Our best days as a company lie ahead of us. Dick Dauch would not have wanted it any other way.

OurFounder_DickDauchAAM was co-founded by automotive industry veteran Richard E. Dauch on March 1, 1994. Under Dauch’s bold and steady leadership, AAM has grown from five former GM plants located throughout the Midwestern United States to a multi-billion dollar global company that is one of the largest and most respected Tier One automotive suppliers in the world. Dauch’s automotive career spanned over four decades, and included numerous game-changing industry contributions and milestones.

After graduating from Purdue University in 1964 with his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Management, Dauch began his career at General Motors’ Chevrolet Flint Assembly plant. He was promoted to plant manager of Livonia, Mich.-based Chevrolet & Spring Bumper in 1973, making him the youngest plant manager in GM’s history at the time.

After ascending through various leadership roles within GM, Dauch joined Volkswagen in 1976 as vice president and general manufacturing manager. As the result of his work in the successful launch of Volkswagen in America, he was promoted to group vice president and invited to join the board of directors.

In 1980, Lee Iacocca recruited Dauch to join Chrysler Corporation to resurrect the company’s ailing manufacturing operations. With his visionary, people-oriented, no-nonsense leadership approach, he planned and directed the implementation of Chrysler's world-recognized, just-in-time materials management system and three-shift assembly system capability. He also oversaw the construction of the Chrysler Technical Center and three new assembly plants, and was responsible for the launch of the Chrysler minivan in Windsor, Ontario.

In 1992, GM announced that 18 of its manufacturing plants were for sale, including five that encompassed the Final Drive and Forge Business Unit of the company. In response to the announcement, Dauch, who had recently retired from the Chrysler Corporation as executive vice president Worldwide Manufacturing, formed a small investment team to purchase the five driveline and forging assets that GM had up for sale. On March 1, 1994, AAM became a stand-alone, independent corporation.


In addition to his indelible influence on the global automotive manufacturing industry, Dauch was an active and respected philanthropist and community leader. He held various board leadership positions with organizations like the National Association of Manufacturers, the Manufacturing Institute, the Detroit Economic Club, the Detroit Renaissance and the Detroit Regional Chamber and the United Way for Southeastern Michigan’s Torch Drive campaign. Donations from the Dauch family also helped create the Richard E. and Sandra J. Dauch College of Business and Economics at Ashland University, the Dauch Center for Management of Manufacturing Enterprises at Purdue University and the Dick and Sandy Dauch Alumni Center also at Purdue. Additionally, the Dauchs partnered with the National Football League to establish the NFL/YET Boys & Girls Club at the Dick & Sandy Dauch Campus in Detroit, MI, and collaborated with the Boy Scouts of America to establish the Dauch Scout Center in Detroit, MI.