Did you know that many foreign cars are actually built in the U.S? All too often we hear phrases like “Buy American”, however some domestic brands aren’t even produced in the States. On the other hand, many foreign cars such as Toyota, Honda and BMW are built here.
Here’s an example:
– The Toyota Camry is manufactured in Georgetown, Kentucky and Lafayette, Indiana.
– The Honda Accord is made in Maryville, Ohio and Lincoln, Alabama.
– The Honda Odyssey is made in Lincoln, Alabama.
– The Toyota Sienna is manufactured in Princeton, Indiana.
– The Toyota Tundra is built in San Antonio, Texas.
Foreign auto manufacturers have plants spread out around the U.S. For example, BMW makes many of its models in Spartensburg, South Carolina. The plant has the capability of making as many as 120,000 cars a year, it employs more than 3,000 American workers and it has been producing cars since 1994.
Japanese auto giant Honda has three plants in the U.S. — Lincoln, Alabama, East Liberty, Ohio and Maryville, Ohio. Combined the factories have the capability of making 984,174 cars and they employ 12,800 American workers.
German luxury car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has a plant in Vance, Alabama, can make more than 100,000 cars and employs 1,900 Americans.
Japanese car manufacturer Mitsubishi has one plant in Normal, Illinois which can make 240,000 cars and employs 3,160 Americans.
Japanese auto giant Nissan has two plants — Smyrna, Tennessee and Canton, Mississippi that combine can make more than 900,000 cars and employ 14, 870 American workers.
Subaru and Isuzu share a plant in Lafayette, Indiana that can assemble 126,240 cars and employs 2,600 Americans.
Finally, Toyota has three factories in the U.S. — Georgetown, Kentucky and two plants in Princeton, Indiana. Combined they have the capacity to assemble 799,985 cars and they employ 11,600 Americans.
Combined these 12 factories have the capacity to make 3,280,416 cars and they employ 49,535 Americans.
The first foreign car company to have a plant in the United States was Toyota. In 1986 Georgetown, Kentucky enticed the Japanese manufacturer to come by offering about $150 million in tax breaks and other incentives. The plant manufactures Camry, Avalon and Solara models.
The fact is that during the last 20 years or so plants owned by Asian and European car manufacturers have sprung up all over the south including such states as Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Georgia and Texas. The section of the country with an economy that lagged behind the north used the foreign auto makers to increase their economic potential. No wonder then that when the federal government moved to bailout General Motors and Chrysler, Senators and Congressmen from these states cried foul. They were protecting their constituency — Toyota, Hyundai, Volkswagen and BMW.
What was so attractive to Volkswagen, Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai, et al was the fact that the states were willing to spend their own money to build the infrastructure that was needed to accommodate the plants and offer fantastic tax incentives. Moreover these states have Right to Work laws which discourage the development of unions.
What these states discovered is that every job in auto production supports five other jobs in the economy. Auto manufacturing plants attract other industries including steel, tires, rubber, programmers and auto dealerships. So it made a lot of sense for Alabama, for example, to spend close to $1 billion over a 15 year period on such things as tax abatements, worker training and road construction. For its $1 billion investment Alabama lured $7 billion in investments. In the early 1990s Alabama lured Mercedes-Benz to the state with a package that included $253 million in incentives. What the state got was a plant that employs about 1,500 people in the town of Vance.
Volkswagen has invested $1 billion in a plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee and BMW has been a fixture in South Carolina since the 1990s and now assembles the X5 and X6 crossover coupes there.