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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.

Sep 03 2013
Written by Ron Sessions | Posted on Car and Driver

Chrysler may not have invented the minivan, but it sure did put a lot of them in America’s driveways—more than 13 million of the bratwagons by Chrysler’s count since the first Dodge Caravan (and its badge-engineered twin, the Plymouth Voyager) broke cover for the 1984 model year. Those first minivans were truly fun-size—lightweight, front-wheel-driven, four-cylinder–powered, and no lengthier bumper to bumper than a mid-1980s Honda Accord—but with way more usable space inside for seven passengers and their stuff than the competing station wagons of the day. And because they were based on car components, the early Chrysler Group minivans drove like, and achieved similar fuel economy to, cars.

Early sales success begat competition. Before long the Caravan had an extended-wheelbase Grand Caravan sibling with more space, and in 1989, the first luxury minivan, the Chrysler Town & Country was introduced. As features were added, dual sliding doors replaced single ones, V-6 power was added, doors and liftgates became power-operated, and seats not only folded and flipped, but disappeared into the floor. Cup holders spread like mushrooms and so did video systems to pacify the peanut gallery.

Filed Under: Manufacturing Economy
Sep 03 2013
Written by Deena Kamel Yousef | Posted on The Detroit News

General Motors Co. expects 2013 sales of Chevrolet vehicles to reach 5 million for the first time in GM’s 100-year history, spurred in part by growth in the Middle East, said the global head of Chevrolet, Alan Batey.

“When I look out and think about where we need to take the brand, the Middle East is a significant part of that opportunity,” he said in Dubai today at an event for the media.


Filed Under: Manufacturing Economy
Aug 30 2013
Written by Michael Wayland | Posted on MLive

 General Motors Co. is expanding a Detroit recycling program to turn vacant lots into urban gardens.

Aug 30 2013
The Wall Street Journal

Supported by 1,400 new employees, the new Ford Fusion will roll off the line at Flat Rock Assembly Plant today, marking the first time the popular car has been built in the United States.

Aug 30 2013
Written by Tyrel Linkhorn | Posted on The Blade

One of America’s best-selling cars is now being built in America.