June 28, 2011

Matt Blunt, President of the American Automotive Policy Council, released the following statement today responding to Cars.com and its “Most American Car” ranking methodology:

“Cars.com explains that “[i]n today’s global economy, there’s not an easy way to determine just how American a car is. We disagree.
“The simple facts are: Three of the 16 major automakers doing business in the U.S. – Chrysler, Ford and GM – produce more than half the cars assembled here, use twice as many U.S. parts (per vehicle) than their competitors, and employ two-thirds of America’s autoworkers.
“Adding sales volume into the equation, as Cars.com does, continues to puzzle us.  If a Ford Explorer (1) is made in the U.S.; (2) uses more U.S. parts than a Camry; and is built by a company that (3) produces nearly twice as many vehicles here as Toyota, (4) employs more than twice as many Americans as Toyota, and (5) conducts billions more in U.S. R&D each year than Toyota, how does Camry score higher?
“Similarly, if the parts in each vehicle are as important as both Cars.com and we believe, how is that Toyota and GM each have the same number of vehicles in the Top 10, when GM, alone, buys as many U.S. parts as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi, Isuzu and every other Japanese automaker, combined?
“The simple fact is that Chrysler, Ford and GM do so much more for our economy because they conduct so much more of their work here.  Despite the fact that Chrysler, Ford and GM each produce more cars per worker than Toyota, Honda and most of the other brands Cars.com ranks, they base more of that workforce here.
“Only five in 100 Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, VW, Mercedes and BMW workers are based here, compared with 40+ per 100 at Chrysler, Ford and GM.  That’s an eight-fold difference that translates into millions of U.S. automaker and supplier jobs, billions in R&D, and tens of billions in capital investment.
“As we have stated before, the Cars.com ‘American-Made Index’ is, unfortunately, misleading because it gives weight to sales in a manner that undercounts U.S. parts and totally ignores the number of workers a company employs here and the billions they spend on plants, infrastructure and R&D.
“For the AAPC and its members, ‘American-Made’ is more than a catch-phrase or a marketing tool.  ‘American-Made’ is a principle and an important part of our work of which the highest and truest standard of definition should be applied.”