CEO Column

Jennifer Safavian | Autos Drive America Hosts Inaugural Congressional Drive-In

Jennifer Safavian
October 30, 2023

This October, Autos Drive America marked Manufacturing Month by hosting workers and executives from BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Volvo for our first-ever Congressional Drive-In. Together, we met with nearly 60 offices on Capitol Hill to discuss international automakers’ community impact, investments in production facilities, workforce development initiatives, and career opportunities. And our members and their employees had a lot to share!

Autos Drive America’s 2023 Economic Impact Report shows international automakers have significantly expanded their footprint in the U.S. auto industry over the last six decades, with $107 billion invested into U.S. operations and 156,000 Americans directly employed—103,600 of which are in manufacturing jobs. Our Drive-In gave members of Congress and their staff an opportunity to hear directly from auto workers in their home states about how these investments have impacted their lives and ushered in a resurgence of U.S. auto manufacturing.

The event’s theme, Investing in US, highlighted the many ways our member companies invest in American workers, American communities, and American manufacturing. Several workers shared stories about how their careers with international automakers allowed them and their families to achieve the American Dream. Veterans spoke about our members giving them the tools and opportunities to transition out of the military. Numerous participants spoke about how their employer provided them with a pathway to employment straight out of high school or provided them with the means to pursue a technical education. We also heard from countless employees about advancement opportunities provided by our member companies that have ensured family-sustaining, fulfilling careers.

International automakers are upskilling and growing the automotive workforce to meet evolving consumer demands. All the while, communities across the U.S. feel the benefits of international automakers through increased job opportunities and economic investments that help strengthen America’s middle class. From high-tech manufacturing jobs assembling vehicles and parts to innovative research and development careers dreaming up the next great American-built car or truck, our member companies are leading the way.

In addition to our meetings on Capitol Hill, the Drive-In gave workers from our member companies an opportunity to meet nearly 100 of their colleagues from communities around the country. I enjoyed having the opportunity to speak with so many workers, from line workers to facility managers and was inspired by their unique perspectives and experiences.

The insights we garnered from our Drive-In will help us better advocate for our members here in Washington and aid us in our mission to grow the U.S. automotive industry. I am thankful for the time and effort our members put into making this event such a success, and I look forward to hosting our workers in Washington again soon!