anufacturing production in the United States has grown 40 percent over the last 10 years, but an observer might not know about such gains because most headlines discuss the economic woes (to the tune of $11 billion in losses in 2006) of the Big Three automakers in Detroit, economist William Wilson said during the 2007 Economic Forecasting Summit March 29 in South Bend.
Moreover, many individuals don't hear news about which direction annual U.S. auto production has gone during the last 15 years. "Has it fallen?," Wilson said. "It hasn't fallen; it's been level at about nine-and-a-half million units. The fact is that foreign automakers have more than made up for the decline of the Big Three." And for their manufacturing plants built in the United States, Japanese automakers now import fewer auto parts today than they did in the early 1990s, meaning they are buying and using a larger percentage of U.S.-made auto parts.
"The Japanese auto transplants now buy almost as much, in terms of domestic content, as the domestic automakers," Wilson noted. "What is an American car anymore? What is a Japanese car? Globalization technically has blurred that."
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