Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by Tim Triplett

Is there really any such thing as a “foreign car” anymore? Who among us hasn’t driven a vehicle with a foreign-sounding name like Toyota, Honda or Nissan? Most likely it was built down the road in Kentucky, Alabama or Mississippi. And produced with American-made steel and other locally sourced materials.

An economic impact report just released by Auto Drives America and the International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) shows the huge contribution that production and sales of international auto brands have on the U.S. economy each year.

“For over 60 years, international automakers have invested $98 billion into their U.S. operations and today are completely woven into the fabric of American communities,” said Jennifer Safavian, Autos Drive America’s president and CEO. “What this economic impact report illustrates is their dedication to creating American jobs, supporting their local communities, and empowering their U.S. workforce during good and challenging economic times.”

Among the report’s key findings from 2020:

  • International automakers’ share of U.S. auto production grew from 1% in 1979 to 46% in 2020
  • International automakers operated 500 manufacturing facilities across 36 states
  • International automakers manufactured 46% of all cars and light trucks made in America
  • International automakers sold 7.8 million new vehicles last year for a 55% market share
  • International automakers held a 62% share of green vehicle sales.
  • International automakers, dealers, and suppliers supported nearly 2.1 million American jobs

Automobile manufacturers participating in the 2020 Autos Drive America and AIADA Economic Impact Survey were BMW Group, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, Volkswagen Group and Volvo Cars. I’ll bet there’s at least one of them in your driveway.

Cars and trucks built by foreign manufacturers in the U.S., also known as transplants, have changed the auto industry forever. When they first appeared, with Volkswagen setting up shop in the U.S. in 1978, they were viewed as a major competitive threat to the traditional Big Three. Over time the competition prompted numerous joint ventures and much innovation, raising the quality and environmental standards of vehicles produced all over the world. With so many foreign-born steelmakers now household names in the U.S. – the likes of ArcelorMittal, NLMK, SSAB and Nippon Steel – it’s not hard to imagine a similar globalization of steel in the decades to come.

Conference Platform’s Still Live

Remember, those of you who attended last month’s SMU Steel Summit still have access to a host of information on the conference platform – but just until the end of the month. The platform at will be taken offline at 5 p.m. EST on Friday, Oct. 1.

We would welcome your feedback on this year’s conference. It will help us make next year’s event even better. Please click here to complete the online evaluation form.

SMU Events

SMU’s next Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making & Market Fundamentals Workshop is set for Oct. 5-6. The workshop will cover all aspects of flat and long product production, from raw materials to finished steel, as well as the factors that drive the competition and sales. Participants also will take a virtual guided tour of a steel mill that specializes in flat rolled products and will get a close look at all stages of production. You can learn more about next month’s Steel 101 workshop by clicking here.

Also a virtual event to eliminate COVID concerns, the Introduction to Steel Hedging: Managing Price Risk Workshop will be held Nov. 2-3. You can learn more about the agenda and registration by clicking here.

Planning that winter getaway? Why not take in a steel conference while you are at it. SMU will co-host the Tampa Steel Conference, along with Port Tampa Bay, on Feb. 14-16, 2022, at Tampa’s Marriott Water Street Hotel. This will be a live and in-person event. Don’t forget your golf clubs. You can learn more by clicking here

As always, we appreciate your business.

Tim Triplett, SMU Executive Editor,


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