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.
At a presentation at the New York Auto Show earlier this week, General Motors announced that it will redesign, refresh, or replace roughly 90 percent of its vehicles in the North American market between 2013 and 2016 — officially announcing a product onslaught expected by many a General Motors enthusiast for quite some time.
One of Ford's most technologically advanced products for 2013 is the C-Max Energi, a plug-in hybrid that Ford says gets 43 miles per gallon. I tested one for a couple of weeks, giving me plenty of time to see what it's like to live with the latest electric-car tech.
A commercial showing the new Ford Fusion being driven off a cliff led David Bowhall to visit a dealer last month for a test drive. The owner of four Mercedes- Benzes in the last five years said it wasn’t much of a leap.