Like this Rex Rice guy who John posted on earlier today, I'm also employed in the auto industry in the supplied-parts market, so I've got some perspective on the situation as well. Mr. Rice correctly states, "The majority of available jobs in automobile manufacturing is in parts manufacture, not in assembly." For example, GM purchases somewhere in the neighborhood of $100B in parts every year, which represents roughly two-thirds of its total new-car gross sales, so he gets this point right.

Where I tend to disagree with Mr. Rice is with his perception that Japanese OEMs are building products here but using parts from overseas. That may have been an accurate assessment of the situation a decade ago, but it's easy to see that times have changed. According to federal government standards, the domestic content of the US-built Honda Accord in my driveway is 97%. Quibble about the accuracy of that number all you want (actually, I'd prefer less quibbling and more explanation of how the number is actually calculated), but the fact still remains that Honda and other transplant OEMs have continued to move more work here into the US, while certain "domestic" OEMs are making public commitments to move in the opposite direction. <strike>Isn't it just a bit odd that the Saturn VUE carries the choice of a Chinese-built GM engine or a US-built Honda engine?</strike> Correction: the VUE does not use the Chinese-built 3.4L V6. That engine is used only in the Equinox and Torrent, which are built on the same platform. I regret the mistake. The Honda V6 used in the VUE is indeed built in the US.

If Mr. Rice wants to do some finger pointing, perhaps he should look at his former employer's record. Delphi employs nearly four times as many foreign workers as it does domestically, and we know who's buying most of those parts.


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