Manufacturing Economy


The auto industry is America’s largest exporter. Over the past six years, automakers and suppliers have exported over $706 billion worth of vehicles and parts. They beat the next best performing sector (aerospace) by $104 billion. Last year alone, automakers and suppliers out-exported the aerospace industry by $17 billion.

Raw Materials and Parts:

The U.S. auto industry is one of the largest consumers of domestic raw materials and parts. Last year, automakers sold nearly 17 million cars in the U.S., and each contained between 8,000 to 12,000 parts, using more than 3,000 pounds of iron, steel, rubber, glass and semiconductors. Approximately 686,000 Americans work at the plants, offices and research labs that produce those parts and materials.

American Research & Development:

Designing those 8,000 to 12,000 auto parts and helping put them together makes autos among the most engineering-intensive industries in the world. In fact, seven out of the world’s top 25 corporate investors in research and development are automakers. FCA US, Ford and General Motors each invest more each year on research and development than IBM, Qualcomm, and General Electric – and 80 cents of every dollar they invest in research and development is spent here in the U.S. Thanks largely to this investment, nearly one in 10 engineers and scientists in private sector R&D work for an automaker or auto supplier.

Market Share vs. Jobs Share vs. Parts Share