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Chicago Fed Letter, No. 255a, October 2008
Who Really Made Your Car? (Special Issue)
These are challenging times for the U.S. motor vehicle industry. Employment in this industry declined by 26% during the first seven years of the twenty-first century—from 1,160,000 in 2000 to 860,000 in 2007. During the same period, the share of the U.S. market held by the U.S.-owned Detroit Three carmakers (Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co., and General Motors Corp.) declined from 65% to 51%.3 While the focus has traditionally been on the carmakers, they now provide just 22% of industry jobs: In 2007, employment in the motor vehicle parts sector in the United States totaled 673,000, compared with 186,000 in final assembly. Suppliers also provide approximately 70% of the value added of vehicles. We know relatively little about the parts suppliers, despite their importance to the motor vehicle industry. The authors' new book—titled Who Really Made Your Car? Restructuring and Geographic Change in the Auto Industry—sheds light on the parts suppliers by focusing on the changing structure of the motor vehicle industry, as well as the resulting changes in the geography of production.
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