Of the 15.5 million vehicles built in America in 2007, foreign manufacturers built 6 million. That’s a number primed to grow as the U.S. automakers struggle and foreign companies see value in increasing operations here.
Cars will always be built in America, even if our homegrown Big 3 go belly up.
Even Alfa Romeo, who withdrew from the U.S. market in 1995, is coming back with new models and could possibly move production here in 2011 or 2012.
Honda has built cars in the U.S. for years, with a major operation in Ohio and another being built in Indiana. Last year 1 million Hondas were built in America and the Indiana plant will add capacity to build 200,000 more. Honda is also considering moving production of the Fit stateside, as Honda is looking for ways to keep up with demand. Honda’s overall sales were down 28% in October of this year, but sales of the Fit rose by that same percentage.
Toyota has a similar philosophy, having recently opened a new plant in Texas, and is building another in Mississippi to handle the production of Highlanders and Prius hybrids. In 2007, Toyota built 1.3 million cars in America.
BMW produced 150,000 vehicles in America last year and is investing to bring their capacity up to 240,000. Production of their X3 will move from Europe to South Carolina. Nissan is building a new plant in Mississippi, Kia is building a new plant in Georgia and Hyundai recently completed a plant in Alabama. Volkswagen will build a U.S. production plant in Tennessee, where they intend to build a car designed for the U.S. market.
All of these new plants are paying decent wages and have real advantages over Detroit, with younger workers and much lower benefit costs.
There’s a lot to be excited about in America’s future of auto production, even if that future is void of GM and Chrysler.
If automotive jobs are still in America, what are your thoughts on foreign companies providing those jobs?