CEO Column

Driving Progress: How International Automakers Fuel Alabama’s Economy

February 28, 2024

In the heart of Alabama, international automakers are not just building cars – they are driving forward the state’s economy and setting the pace for Alabama’s competitiveness on a global stage. International automakers in Alabama employ nearly 18,000 people, have invested $14.2 billion, and produce nearly 1,000,000 cars and trucks each year – that’s 100% of the state’s auto production. International automakers also hold 55% market share of all new vehicle sales in Alabama. In short, Autos Drive America member companies’ impact in the Yellowhammer State is both profound and multifaceted.  

Now, a recent report from Made in Alabama showing a record $27.4 billion in exports in 2023 highlights the significant role these manufacturers play not just in Alabama, but on a global stage.  

This export success, driven by the overseas shipment of Alabama-made vehicles, underscores the importance of strategic trade policies that enable domestic manufacturers to thrive in a competitive marketplace. Such policies are essential for maintaining and enhancing the state’s economic vitality and ensuring that the “Made in Alabama” brand continues to represent quality and innovation worldwide. 

The synergy between Alabama’s thriving auto industry and its record export numbers is no coincidence. It’s the result of concerted efforts by international automakers to invest in the future – through workforce development, community engagement, and significant financial commitments to the state’s economy and workers. These investments have transformed Alabama into an auto manufacturing hub. 

But the story doesn’t end with manufacturing prowess and economic statistics. It’s also about the ripple effect these investments and exports have on local communities and the broader American economy. By providing high-skilled, good-paying careers, international automakers in Alabama are helping contribute to a robust and resilient economy that benefits all Americans. 

As we celebrate these accomplishments, it’s crucial to recognize the role of effective trade policies in facilitating this success. Policies that reduce barriers and open markets to U.S. exports are the keys to ensuring Alabama’s auto industry continues flourishing. The Made in Alabama report is a call for Alabama’s congressional delegation to prioritize and pursue trade agreements that bolster the state’s ability to compete globally and secure a prosperous future for its workers. 

At Autos Drive America, our commitment to advocating for policies that support the automotive industry’s growth and competitiveness has never been stronger. The achievements of international automakers in Alabama are not just a testament to their dedication but also a reminder of the collective efforts needed to maintain momentum in this fast-paced, global economy. As we look to the future, let’s build on this foundation of success, ensuring that Alabama, and the other 12 states in which international automakers have manufacturing facilities, remain at the forefront of automotive excellence and innovation.