By on May 28, 2013

At least the bretheren might be able to drive 'yotas to work now.

The fact that GM creates 6,000 jobs in China and will invest $11 billion in China until 2016 (and $16 billion in America)  gets all the headlines.  What falls under the table is the fact that someone else invests $76 billion each year straight into more than a million Americans.  It’s the Japanese auto industry.

Jobs From Japanese Transplants
Manufacturing 57,939
R&D 4,196
Distributors 18,899
Spin-off production 325,000
Dealerships 327,477
Spin-off dealer 339,000
TOTAL 1,072,511
Annual compensation $76,000,000,000
Source: JAMA

Japanese-branded automobile plants account for nearly 40 percent of all U.S. automobile production. What’s more, Japanese automakers are a major driver of exports – from America to the world. Honda estimates it will become a “net exporter” of automobiles from North America by 2014. Toyota expects to export more vehicles from North American plants than the Detroit 3 automakers, and foresees a future where all Toyota cars sold in U.S .may eventually be built here.

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41 Comments on “Surprising Japanese Exports: American Jobs...”

  • avatar

    No offense but that’s not hard to see when you DON’T HAVE A UNION to pay or deal with along with legacy costs. IM not pro union, but you cant put GM and a non union and pair them up equally. I wonder how many of those plants are paying taxes, probably none. Well isnt that a little added benefit too, personally I dont care, pay your taxes and provide those workers with fair pay, and Im happy.

    • 0 avatar

      Im pretty sure the Japanese companies offer pay competitive with the domestics. Especially with all the concessions the domestics had to make during the downturn. And while wages are an issue for Americans, they are small in comparison to the skyrocketing costs of basics. What good is a “living wage” when healthcare is outpacing inflation twofold? Seems like Americans have been living check to check so long we forgot how economies and wealth work

    • 0 avatar

      Apples and Oranges.

      The Japanese, much less the Germans, are union in their home countries and they do well due to the export market.

      Not surprisingly, this whole piece by BS is slanted against GM and towards the Japanese.

      So the Japanese (nevermind the Germans and Koreans) haven’t invested tens of billions into China (and in the case of the Germans, are investing even more) in order to get a significant piece of the Chinese market due to the hefty auto import tariffs?

      And let’s not forget Ford Motor which has been investing billions into China as well in order to catch up to the rest of the competition.

      And note how the chart includes jobs not just from manufacturing and R&D from the Japanese automakers themselves, but jobs not directly provided by the Japanese automakers re distribution and dealerships and their respective spin-off jobs.

      What GM and the rest of the domestics provide similarly is much, much more (GM investing $16 billion MORE in America is already on top of all the production and R&D they have in place, along with the jobs existing from related businesses like distributors and dealerships and their spin-offs).

      And sure, the Japanese automakers provide jobs, but that’s b/c it’s to their ADVANTAGE due to currency hedging (not to mention lower labor and transport costs as opposed to production in Japan).

      In addition, the fact that they have a significant portion of the US auto market also plays a factor in having so much production in the US.

      If the Japanese sold less autos in the US, they wouldn’t have as much production capacity in the US and the domestics would have more (see the Germans, or even the Japanese).

      And the Japanese are increasingly exporting from the US to certain markets due to it being cheaper to export from the US than Japan due to currency valuations, labor costs and trade agreements.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Not to mention Bertel’s vague attempt to compare GM’s capital investments in China/US to Japanese OEM’s payroll down to the guy who loads up the coke machine at the dealership .

        The $16 billion in the US has nothing to do with payroll. Very Ed Niedermeyer-like ‘facts’ in this piece.

  • avatar

    Are the Honda NA assembly plants not Union ? .

    I’m surprised .

    I’m a loyal Union member for life SEIU 721 .

    I still only have the _one_ American made vehicle though : my 1969 Chevrolet C/10 pickup truck , no Import I’ve ever had can touch it .


  • avatar

    Will the Union that put up the sign in the picture care if it’s a Mitsubishi car? The Mitsubishi Illinois plant is UAW represented. For that matter, until this year, there were a lot of Mazda cars built by UAW employees also. Are they going to turn away domestic brands that were made in other countries?

    • 0 avatar

      These signs are ridiculous. To Indiana Driver’s point, what qualifies to park here?
      Impala: no
      Charger: no
      Crown Vic: no
      Ram 3500: no
      Fusion: no
      Mazda 6: yes!
      Mitsubishi Galant: yes!

      I chuckle when I see those “Out of a job yet? Keep buying foreign” stickers on the backs of Mexican- or Korean-made “domestic” cars. Some people have no clue how dumb they look.

      • 0 avatar

        They probably shop at Walmart too!

      • 0 avatar

        It’s also like they never heard of comparative advantage.

        (Or, in the UAW’s case, it’s natural that they will refuse to even think of the possibility of their own actions somehow affecting the quality of GM cars or of GM’s profitability…

        Even assessing a fair amount of blame to GM management, *every* source I’ve heard – even the pro-union ones – has not painted the UAW in a positive light in terms of “producing a car anyone would care to drive”.

        When you’re sabotaging production Because You Can, or To Annoy Management, you’re killing your own job.)

        • 0 avatar

          Comparative advantage only means something if you have something of relatively equal value to counter with. If country A has a great industry for building planes and country B is a producer of say computers and you buy each others product, that’s a good example of comparative advantage. But if one country buys goods from another country because they pay their workers dirt, dump on the planet, and abuse people and therefore the only advantage is low price, how many (say planes) are they going to buy relative to the amount of cheap goods we buy? It is a race to the bottom of our standard of living, period.

  • avatar

    Do they have extra tow trucks and mechanics on hand for the union made vehicles?

  • avatar

    61k manufacturing and R&D jobs is slightly more than Chrysler and less than Ford with 76k jobs or GM with 77k jobs.

  • avatar

    What shall I do for my lunch break? I know! I’ll look up the 2013 United States trade statistics for light-duty vehicles (NAICS 336111).

    Imports from Japan on customs basis (thru March 2013): $8.85B
    Exports to Japan on customs basis (thru March 2013): $201.6M
    Cumulative auto trade surplus/deficit w/ Japan (2013): -$8.65B
    Cumulative trade surplus/deficit with Japan (2013): -$18.58B
    Cumulative auto trade surplus/deficit w Japan (2012): -$34.47B
    Cumulative trade surplus/deficit with Japan (2012): -$76.34B
    Japanese holdings of US Treasury notes: $1.1T (almost as much as China)

    Nintendo no-friendo :(

    Japan has been siphoning wealth out of the US middle class since the liquidity trap hit in the 1990s. They’ve not bothered to recover, only to pull increasingly more out of the US and shovel it into the furnace of the dysfunctional Japanese economy.

    To preserve good international relations, I prefer not to mention such unpleasantries, but JAMA require it.

    • 0 avatar

      Japan sends us high quality cars.

      We send them pieces of paper which we print by the trillion and are devaluing the hell out of.

      Who’s siphoning wealth from who?

      • 0 avatar

        If Japan believed that purchasing USD was making them poor, they would have stopped a long time ago. Buying USD, which consequently inflates its value, allows them to avoid transitioning from exports to domestic production/consumption. Japan has a liquidity trap problem so I understand their trepidation, but they have been living on US welfare for long enough.

        Furthermore, the notion that the US is getting rich by importing finished automobiles is absurd. Modern automobiles are a far cry from basic transportation, thus, they cannot play the role of inputs of production. No, a majority of the price is simply exporting wealth from the US middle class to the Japanese middle class. We recently discovered the same thing about inefficiently consumed oil imports. They look like inputs of production, but they are not.

        To exculpate the JAMA, you’ve simply created an alternative reality. In Japan, they are aware of the problems, and Abe-san is changing tack; however, JAMA members are not out of the woods by any means. They have many US/Mexico/Canada factories to build, and they need to spend more time building, and less time using context-less data as propaganda.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          So you’re saying it’s bad when a foreign country wants to invest in us, and when their industries provide millions of Americans with good paying, long term jobs?

          This is why I didn’t even try for an MBA.

          Except for a brief 50-60 year period last century, was there ever a time the US wasn’t in hock up to its ass with another country?

        • 0 avatar

          @ Dave M

          The badness or goodness of Japanese auto investment has little to do with the current US/Japan trade issue, and your eagerness to get sucked into the abyss of false premise is unfortunate.

          The shortage of adulation, in the form of booze, cigarettes, and hookers, from the American populace to Japanese auto executives can be explained by the trade data I showed. Despite prodigious investment, JAMA have woefully underfunded the US market, but they’ve paid almost no price for the deterioration of their target US customer thanks to loose US credit and increasing Japanese marketshare over the decades. Apparently, JAMA perceive recently shifting marketshare as a threat (Toyota are concerned with sliding Camry sales), and JAMA have concluded that US patriotism is behind US sales. To gin-up some JAMA love, they send Bertel a bunch of irrelevant FDI numbers, which Bertel eagerly peddles to maintain relations with the Japanese auto industry.

          If this is too much for your brain to handle, tap out.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe you should ask the Monetarists (or the Austrians!) what they think about Balance of Trade issues before running around like the sky is falling “because trade deficit”.

      Turns out we’re not all Keynesians these days.

  • avatar

    I love that stupid picture

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    That picture of one of “N” reasons (where N is a very large number) that I will NEVER own a car built by the GM Toads.

    I made that mistake far too many times and was rewarded the the only cars on the road with less reliability than my “highly regarded” German roadside blockers.

    It’s Japanese only, baby.

    • 0 avatar

      Now, now.

      Ford makes a perfectly good set of cars, too… even with Union labor!

    • 0 avatar

      How many of those Japanese cars are “Japanese” at this point?

    • 0 avatar

      While I’m somewhat sympathetic to your view (and am no fan of US organized labor), buying domestic makes sense if
      a) you get a better vehicle value (some gently used domestic models fall into that category)
      b) use the money you save to help ensure that our government sticks to principle and lets GM and/or Chrysler fail next time their hands are out.

      • 0 avatar

        Like the Japanese just didn’t bail out their flatscreen Tv industry and restructure it. Like Korea didn’t bailout and restructure Hyundai and Kia. Only dumbass Americans believe in so called free markets without government interventions.

        • 0 avatar

          Bail out Kia, not Hyundai (tho Kia’s bailout was also with private $$ from Hyundai).

          Also, the Japanese govt. pretty much subsidized investment of hybrids.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Our union made GMC Sierra(Flint, MI) and Chevrolet Tahoe(Janesville, WI) have blown both the Toyotas we have owned out of the water when it comes to reliability and initial quality. Anecdotal yes, but when it comes to fullsize PU trucks and SUVs I like GM stuff better than anything offered by the imports. The fact that they are more reliable and/or engineered better is just icing on the cake.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Which compact American pickup currently on sale would you recommend?

      • 0 avatar

        Why buy an obsolete compact when American fullsize trucks get better gas mileage, ride much better and can actually haul stuff?

        The new Pentastar Ram gets better gas mileage than any V6 Japanese truck, compact or fullsize.

        • 0 avatar

          So that tech doesn’t scale down? Ever run a fullsize (especially a modern one…some years ago they weren’t so huge) on a trail?

        • 0 avatar
          Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

          So where’s the compact American pickup truck with a ~200hp 4cyl that gets 30+mpg highway, weighs less than two tons, and which can tow a trailer with a motorcycle on it and/or carry a bed full of sod or Costco items?

          • 0 avatar

            And that sir is exactly what I want in a pickup. Sadly they probably couldn’t make it cheap enough, and there likely wouldn’t just be enough takers like us if it was priced similarly to the fullsize.
            We lose.

          • 0 avatar

            Ford Ranger. 197 hp, 3.2 liter five cylinder diesel, cargo capacity of 1.2 metric tons (1.3 for the two-wheel drive) and a 3.5 ton towing capacity.

            Oh, wait… that’s right. You don’t get it there.

          • 0 avatar

            Where’s the modern Japanese truck that will do that? A Dodge Caravan will kick a Tacoma’s ass 95% of the time.

          • 0 avatar

            Niky – Trucks in OZ are a little overrated, capacity wise. Like almost 100% overrated vs. US or SAE payload (GVWR) and towing (GCWR) standards.

            The Nissan Frontier gets almost 100% more ‘capacity’ in OZ with nothing more that ‘upgraded’ Navara emblems.

            And 30 MPG simply isn’t going to happen even with the diesel. At least, not if equipped to work hard.

          • 0 avatar

            You’re obviously not going to get 30 MPG while towing, but I drive 3.0 and 3.2 diesels in the course of my job, and 30 mpg is entirely possible at highway speeds (meaning 65 mph), and 35 mpg is possible at OUR highway speeds (45-50 mph).

            If a truck is rated at that capacity, it can do it. The discrepancy is that US ratings are often lower, as it’s unacceptable in America for cars to slow down below 80 mph when towing three tons up a 30% grade. Okay, that’s a lie, but yes, the truck can carry over one ton in the bed and tow over three tons. “Over-rated” would imply that you can’t do that at all… as pick-up owners here in the Asia-Pacific region actually DO use the full rated capacities of their trucks from time to time, since “compact” trucks are honest-to-goodness working trucks out here.

            Whether it would be rated the same in the US is entirely up to Ford’s marketing team and whether they want the Ranger to steal market share away from their best-selling F150.

          • 0 avatar

            @Niky – No doubt, I can get 30 hwy MPG in some V8 1/2 tons, under the right conditions. But aren’t we talking EPA MPG?

            And there’s no doubt any US spec mid-size or 1/2 ton can exceed its capacity rating by 100% with no problem, in the short run. Never mind safety, but we’re talking about a part of the world that lacks an entire class of full-size pickups. If their mid-size were capped by our SAE ratings, they would be forced into to MDTs or van cutoffs that much sooner.

            Of course they’re not as litigious as we are. OEMs here tend to error on the side of caution. Ask Toyota where most of their lawsuits come from.

            It’s not just up to marketing teams. The global Ranger would need to be ‘built’ to outclass the F-150. There’s nothing that really implies that it is.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    U.S. exports are at an all-time high. Higher even than before the bust. Its one of the few bright spots in the economy, and one of the reasons we are doing better than the Euros.

    exports/imports are not a ledger book add and subtract analysis.

  • avatar

    Wait…so were I to roll up in the Husky Mine Detection Vehicle that I operated in Baghdad and several of my friends are currently rocking in Kandahar I couldn’t park it here since it is assembled in South Africa and sported a Benz power plant? How Patriotic.

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