Detroit’s Big Three automakers continue to lead the pace of the U.S. automotive industry in hiring, production and economic impact, according to a new study.
A report titled “State of the U.S. Automotive Industry” — released Tuesday by the American Automotive Policy Council — found that General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC employ two out of three U.S. auto workers and produce nearly one and a half times more vehicles in the U.S. than their competitors.
As a whole, the auto industry generates hundreds of thousands of jobs and is America’s largest manufacturing sector, responsible for 3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
“Automakers and suppliers are America’s largest manufacturing sector, its largest exporter and a top consumer of American steel, iron, rubber and semiconductors,” Matt Blunt, president of AAPC, said in a statement. “But what stands out in this year’s report is how much they are investing in the future, with $38 billion in new capital for U.S. plants and facilities over the past five years, and $18 billion in U.S. R&D this past year alone.”
The report analyzed the specific impact of Ford, Chrysler and GM. It found they produced 5.8 million vehicles in the U.S. with more than 200,000 employees. The Detroit automakers account for 65 percent of U.S. auto jobs and represent 45 percent of U.S. market share. In addition, they invest more than $13 billion in research and development each year.
“The economic impact of Chrysler, Ford and GM cannot be more clear,” Blunt said in an interview.
Detroit’s automakers work with more than 10,000 dealerships which employ another 580,000 workers, the report found.
And there’s a growing trend of automakers shifting production back to the U.S. The report said Ford is shifting production of its Fusion sedan from Mexico to Michigan and GM is moving more of its pickup production to the U.S. this year.
“As with prior years, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors contribute far more to America’s economy than their competitors,” Blunt said. “They produce more of their vehicles, buy more of their parts, conduct more of their research and base more of their workers in the U.S. With an industry as big as autos, these differences represent billions in investment, billions in parts purchases and millions of American jobs.”
The AAPC’s report predicted auto sales, which have increased by more than 50 percent since 2009, will reach or exceed 16.5 million vehicles per year through 2016. It predicts auto production will reach or exceed 11.5 million through that same period.
“America’s automakers contribute a great deal to our economy,” Blunt said. “There’s no more important industry to the manufacturing sector than the auto industry.”