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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 01 2013
Written by Christopher Wynn | Posted on Dallas News

The General Motors Assembly Plant in Arlington is filled with cacophonous sounds. Whooshing and whirring hydraulic robot arms slice through the air with efficient grace. A conveyor system more than 28 miles long transports disemboweled SUV bodies with a rhythmic clank-clank-clank. And everywhere there is music — distinct bell tones that sound like a child picking out a melody on an electric keyboard. The notes are familiar: the Star Wars theme; “Mary Had a Little Lamb”; “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Each song snippet denotes a specific workstation that needs help or more parts in this vast, meandering place — 4.25 million square feet on 250 acres. Touring the sprawling assembly line, I make a joke about the famous five-note motif heard in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Turns out, they have that, too. 

Filed Under: Manufacturing Economy
Sep 27 2013
Written by Deepa Seetharaman | Posted on Reuters

Ford Motor Co has bought a five-year-old software company for less than $10 million in a move the No. 2 U.S. automaker hopes will beef up its in-car connectivity that is critical to winning over younger, more affluent buyers.

Sep 27 2013
Written by Don Lee | Posted on The Los Angeles Times

The Obama administration is racing to finish negotiations on a Pacific free-trade pact by year's end, but it's running up against a potentially major obstacle at home.

Sep 26 2013
Written by Jeremy Allen | Posted on MLive

General Motors will unveil its highly anticipated next-generation 2015 Heavy Duty Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks at the Flint Assembly Plant – the location where a large quantity of the trucks will be manufactured – at 3100 Van Slyke Rd. on Thursday, Sept. 26.

Sep 26 2013
Written by Karl Henkel | Posted on The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. will today introduce upgrades to its Super Duty pickups, including a new diesel engine and a strengthened F-450 truck for the 2015 model year.

Filed Under: Manufacturing Economy