Japanese automakers increased investment in the U.S. by more than $1 billion in 2008 to a total of $33.67 billion, according to a new report, “Contributing to the Future of the American Automobile Industry,” published today by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
“Our members are continuing to invest, research and build in order to provide the high quality, environmentally friendly vehicles their consumers demand. We continue to focus our production in North America, where we still make nearly two-thirds of the cars and trucks we sell in the U.S.,” said William C. Duncan, JAMA USA General Director.
The total investment in the U.S. of nearly $34 billion includes 31 vehicle, engine and parts manufacturing plants and 34 major R&D and design facilities. This financial commitment is a significant contribution to local economies. The number of American employees devoted to research increased by 6 percent between 2007 and 2008, a number now approaching 4,000 people. Nevertheless, the recession has taken a toll on employment. The total number of employees, including those at manufacturing plants, dealerships and research facilities, fell from 424,883 at the end of 2007 to 392,635 at the end of 2008.
Japanese automakers produced 62 percent of their total U.S. sales from their North American plants. In 2008, 2.97 million vehicles were produced in the U.S. The annual JAMA report also provides information about JAMA members’ environmental contributions in the U.S., including photographs of next-generation vehicles: fuel cell vehicles; hydrogen vehicles; electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.