As U.S. auto manufacturers invest in the technology of tomorrow, Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are in the driving seat of American manufacturing’s revival.
The 2020 Kogod School of Business Made in America Auto Index, which evaluates the domestic content of cars and trucks sold in the United States, once again showcases the importance that the “Big Three” automakers play in the U.S. economy.
Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors earned the highest marks among the auto manufacturers reviewed for their total domestic content in the 2020 index, and the Ford Ranger topped the list as the most “Made in America” auto this year.
“The research presented in the latest edition of the Kogod Made in America Auto Index reflects the commitment of American Automakers FCA US, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company to U.S. autoworkers and manufacturers,” said former Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt, who now serves as the president of the American Automotive Policy Council (AAPC). “FCA US, Ford and General Motors produced the Top 4 ranked vehicles, 10 of the top 12 SUVs, 4 of the top 5 trucks, the top 2 sedans, the top 5 sports cars, and 31 of the top 50 of vehicles scored.”
Together, FCA, Ford and General Motors employ nearly two of every three U.S. autoworkers, accounting for 64% of the 7.25 million auto jobs in America.
As a 2020 AAPC report on the state of the U.S. auto industry shows, auto manufacturing plays an outsize role in the U.S. economy. No other manufacturing sector employs more U.S. workers, and automakers and auto manufacturing suppliers account for America’s largest share of exports, “beating the next best-performing industry by nearly $36 billion in exports over the past ten years.”
Recent news offers hope that America will see continued investment from automakers, despite the pandemic’s hit on the entire U.S. economy.
On Oct. 20, GM announced a roughly $2 billion investment in its Spring Hill, Tenn., assembly plant to manufacture fully electric vehicles (EV), including the new electric SUV Cadillac Lyriq. Factoring in GM’s latest financial infusion at Spring Hill Manufacturing, the company has invested more than $4.5 billion at three U.S. manufacturing sites in transitioning those facilities to EV production.
However, GM and other U.S. automakers are still behind the rest of the world in electric vehicle production, an increasingly essential component of the auto industry, with China positioning its auto manufacturers and suppliers to dominate the global EV industry.
As we recently wrote, the U.S. auto industry’s long-term success and the longevity of the good-paying jobs it sponsors depend on the support of policymakers through the implementation of Buy America provisions and other measures to support the auto industry’s pivot to EV production.
Future Made in America auto indexes will almost surely feature more and more EVs. The question is whether U.S. auto workers and suppliers will be able to sustain their significance in the production of these vehicles and usher in the future of the U.S. auto industry.
For a behind-the-scenes look at the Made in America Auto Index research process, take a listen to an interview with the index’s creator, American University Professor Frank DuBois: