Automotive Manufacturing

November 9, 2020
Automotive Manufacturing

Big and Small Business

Auto manufacturing is a major customer of many of our economy’s biggest names, including 3M, IBM, GE, HP, Dow, Microsoft, Intel and Oracle. In fact, half of the companies listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average depend on autos for revenue. While automakers are the most visible part of the industry, auto manufacturing encompasses many diverse businesses in communities coast to coast — 45 states have more than 10, 000 auto-related jobs, and 20 of those states have more than 100, 000 auto jobs.

Top Primary Materials Customer

Automakers are among the largest purchasers of aluminum, copper, iron, plastics, rubber and steel. They also utilize many recycled products, from plastic bottles converted into new carpeting to aluminum converted into new car door frames. Auto companies are also customers of agriculture, converting biomaterials like soy into seating cushions and biomass into tires. In addition, automakers are major purchasers of special metals needed for new clean car technology.

Auto-manufacturers are among Largest Purchasers of Aluminum, Copper, Iron, Plastics, Rubber, and Steel Auto Jobs

Today, 7.25 million Americans and their families depend on automobiles for their livelihoods. Automakers directly employ 1.5 million people to design, engineer, manufacture and supply parts to assemble, sell and service new motor vehicles. When indirect and community support jobs are added, automakers support a total of 2.44 million jobs nationwide. Suppliers support another 3.16 million workers, and dealers support 1.65 million (direct, indirect and spin-off jobs).


Compensation arising from U.S. auto manufacturing is substantial, amounting to more than $500 billion a year. To put that in perspective:

7 Million Americans and Their Families Depend on Automobiles for a Livelihood R&D Investments

The automotive industry spends nearly 0 billion globally on R&D – billion per year in the U.S. alone – or an average of , 200 for research and development per vehicle. In fact, the auto industry provides 16 percent of total worldwide R&D funding for all industries. 99 percent of this automotive R&D is generated by the auto industry, with the federal government contributing only 1 percent. Nearly 60, 000 people in the U.S. alone are employed in automotive research and development activities. Read more about R&D and Innovation in the auto industry here.

Global Leadership

Manufacturing autos is vital to a strong economy, since prosperity is so linked to mobility. Of the 7 top global economies, every one of them has a significant auto manufacturing presence (U.S./Canada, 13.4 million vehicles; China, 22.1 million; Japan, 9.6 million; Germany, 5.9 million, Brazil, 3.8 million; India, 3.9 million; based on 2013 production). In fact, among the countries which compose the major economies of the world called the “Group of 20” (G20), only one country (Saudi Arabia) does not have auto production.

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