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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.

Nov 15 2013
Written by Chris Woodyard | Posted on USA Today

Two famous American corporate names are collaborating on a venture to use less plastic, save the planet and garner some favorable publicity all at the same time.

The results will be seen at the Los Angeles Auto Show here next week.

Coca-Cola and Ford Motor are working together on making car seat fabric out of recycled plastic soda bottles.

Nov 15 2013
Written by Daniel Jennings | Posted on Benzinga

The use of natural gas to power vehicles could become widespread, thanks to a new storage tank developed by Chrysler. Automotive News reported that the new tank will free automakers from the need to use large cylinders to store natural gas.

Natural gas for vehicles had use to have to be stored in special cylinders, similar to the ones on barbecue grills. The new tanks use a shape similar to the human lung to store in several different compartments.

Nov 14 2013
Written by Karl Henkel | Posted on The Detroit News

The organizers of the North American International Auto Show are debuting a new smartphone application that allows users to view photos from auto shows around the world.

Auto Show Passport, which launches Wednesday, features more than 2,000 photos from 16 recent auto shows, including those in Paris, Geneva, Detroit, Frankfurt, Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo, and will add photos from upcoming shows.

Nov 14 2013
Written by Jere Downs | Posted on

Ford Motor Co. will start making a lower-priced Lincoln sport utility vehicle at its factory on Fern Valley Road starting in the spring, but has no plans to add workers or pay more overtime.

The Louisville Assembly Plant, with 4,500 employees, is already running around the clock and is on pace to produce about 380,000 Ford Escape compact SUVs this year. Ford officials would not disclose annual production of the new Lincoln MKC, but have indicated to analysts that it would be about 30,000 vehicles annually, said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst with