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Manufacturing Economy

From research labs to dealership lots, the auto sector supports nearly 8 million U.S. jobs.

Exports. The auto industry is America’s largest exporter. Over the past six years, automakers and suppliers have exported nearly $600 billion worth of vehicles and parts. They beat the next best performing sector (aerospace) by $74 billion. Last year alone, automakers and suppliers out-exported the aerospace industry by $20 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 13 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, eight out of the world’s top 25 corporate investors in research and development are automakers. GM and Ford each invest more each year on research and development than Boeing, Amgen and Google – 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 supplier.

Oct 07 2013
Written by Karl Henkel | Posted on The Detroit News

Today’s moving automobile assembly lines are part human and part machine, capable of switching on the fly to different models of cars and trucks according to demand. Computer-controlled robots perform precise welds on chassis parts, while workers carry out tasks that machines alone cannot.

Oct 04 2013
Ford Media

Last weekend at the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company’s Las Vegas sale, the 2014 Ford Mustang Cobra Jet prototype fetched $200,000. Ford Motor Company auctioned it at no reserve with proceeds benefitting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The organization assists those living with this unpredictable and often disabling disease of the central nervous system.

After spirited bidding that electrified the auction block, an anonymous bidder purchased the Cobra Jet. The winning bidder is not only the proud owner of the NHRA-legal vehicle, but they are now an honorary member of Team Mustang with full backstage passes to the Ford Product Development Center, Ford Design Studios and Ford Racing. The winning bid also made an important contribution in the fight against MS.

Filed Under: Manufacturing Economy
Oct 04 2013
Written by Nathan Morgan | Posted on Nashville Business Journal

One of America's most iconic sports cars, the Corvette, is assembled just up the road in Bowling Green, Ky.

I was given a tour of the plant this week. To see what goes into the making of a Corvette, or to imagine what it would be like to sit back and enjoy this new ride, check out the slideshow with this story.


Filed Under: Manufacturing Economy
Oct 03 2013
Chrysler Media

September 17, 2013 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - With the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona only four months away, Riley Technologies and veteran racer Ben Keating remain on schedule to debut the Viper GT3-R when the United SportsCar Racing (USCR) season opens in January.

Built as the first mass-produced, GT3-based car designed and manufactured in the United States, the Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) Motorsports V-10 thoroughbred emerges from the factory eligible for a wide variety of competition arenas in addition to USCR, including the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), North American Road Racing Association (NARRA), Pirelli World Challenge GT Class and International GT3 Championships. 

Oct 03 2013
GM News

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – General Motors’ $131 million investment in technology at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, such as the first production use of a GM-patented process allowing aluminum to be spot welded to aluminum, is resulting in the strongest and most precisely built Corvette in its six-decade history.

New technologies enable more accurate and efficiently produced subassemblies, such as the frame and the components attached to it. Enhanced, laser-based three-dimensional inspection systems verify overall assembly tolerances targeted to be 25 percent tighter than the previous-generation Corvette.