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Edmunds: Making It Here: Japanese Car Companies Boost U.S. Presence

John O’Dell

October 3, 2014

WASHINGTON — Japan’s auto industry boosted its U.S. footprint significantly in 2013, posting double-digit gains in key segments including the number of vehicles they built here and the volume of parts they purchased from U.S.-based suppliers.

The major Japanese car companies also increased their manufacturing presence significantly, with a combined $5.2 billion in new investments, bringing the cumulative total of their U.S. manufacturing investment to $40.6 billion — a nearly 15 percent increase from $35.4 billion 2012.

Those 28 vehicle, engine and parts factories produced 3.6 million cars and trucks, 10 percent more than in 2012. They employed 59,494 workers, a 2.7 percent increase from 2012.

The numbers, released this morning by the Japanese Automobile Manufacturers Association, are part of the group’s annual effort to impress upon U.S. car buyers just how much a part of the American economic fabric brands such as Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota really are, said Ron Bookbinder, director of the automaker group’s U.S. office.

The companies say that their factories in the U.S., Canada and Mexico collectively built 71 percent of the vehicles they sold in the U.S. in 2013 — the most recent year for which figures are available.

Additionally, the report says, the Japanese car companies purchased a total of $57.1 billion in parts and components from U.S.-based suppliers, an 11 percent gain from $51.3 billion in 2012.

Edmunds provides a deeper look at import brands and the U.S. car market and the foreign carmakers’ impact on the national economy in its “Made in America” series.

Japanese automakers not only boosted their presence in the U.S., they increased the number of cars they built here and exported to other markets.

The report says that 391,366 cars and trucks built in U.S. factories owned by Japanese car companies were exported from the 2013, up 16.5 percent from 335,680 exports in 2012.

Finally, the business of selling Japanese-brand cars and trucks in the U.S. was directly responsible, the report says, for employment of 319,538 people at U.S. dealerships affiliated with Japan’s automakers.

Edmunds says: The numbers argue that neither American car buyers not the U.S. economy are prejudiced when it comes to Japanese brands.

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