CEO Column

Jennifer Safavian | International Automakers Are the Future of the American Automotive Industry

Jennifer Safavian
June 26, 2023

At Autos Drive America, we know the profound impact international automakers have on American workers and communities. Each year, we commission an economic impact report (EIR) to tell our story and help policymakers, journalists, community development leaders, and future manufacturing workers understand and appreciate the commitment our members are making to America’s automotive future.

This year’s EIR—looking back at the contributions of international automakers in 2022—not only highlights the tremendous contributions international automakers have made to the United States, but also underscores the role our members are playing in the resurgence of American manufacturing.

First and foremost, international automakers added 16,000 careers last year, bringing total direct employment to more than 156,000. Thirteen thousand of these new careers were in manufacturing, growing manufacturing employment to 103,600 and marking the first time international automakers are employing more than 100,000 people in manufacturing jobs alone. Through continued investments in workforce training programs and partnerships, international automakers are providing good-paying, high-skilled career opportunities to both today’s workforce and the next generation of workers.

Our members also made significant gains in production, with 4.4 million cars and trucks rolling off assembly lines across the country and accounting for 45% of all new vehicle sales. With 500 facilities—including 31 manufacturing facilities and 75 research and development facilities—across the country, international automakers are designing and producing some of the most recognizable and popular vehicles on the road right here in the U.S.

Our impact reaches far beyond our shores: of the cars and trucks our members built in the U.S. last year, 65 different models totaling 695,000 vehicles were exported to consumers in more than 130 countries around the world. Trade plays a critical role in international automakers’ ability to not only manufacture in the U.S., but towards making the U.S. a globally competitive marketplace for manufacturers and consumers alike.

Today, total investments in the United States from our member companies top $107 billion. The commitment they are demonstrating isn’t designed to just simply keep up with consumer demand: It’s also designed to drive the entire American automotive industry forward. Over the last three years, consumer interest in electric vehicles has grown significantly, and policymakers have followed suit with incentives that, if implemented properly, could have a dramatic, positive effect on electrifying our roads. Autos Drive America members are meeting this moment by committing $22.5 billion specifically for the research, development, and production of the most exciting, green cars on the road.

The data in the 2023 EIR confirms that international automakers have been committed to the U.S. for more than 60 years and are driving the future of the American automotive industry. I am extraordinarily proud of what our members accomplished in 2022 and excited to see where they drive us next. They are creating family-sustaining careers for the next generation of workers, investing and committing more than ever to American communities, and leading the entire industry by example.