I was surfing the web with nothing to do when I came across a surprising statistic. The 10 most American-made cars are split between traditional American brands and Japanese brands. Toyota, of all companies, had three automobiles that are 75% American-made at plants in the US. Honda had two models as did Dodge and Chevy, while Ford only had one, its venerable F150 pickup.
It goes to show how things have really changed. Nothing on wheels is 100% American-made anymore.
The closest thing is a Chevy van at 80%. This tells me that American manufacturers are buying parts and components from not only foreign-owned companies, but American-owned foreign companies that moved “offshore.”
But according to a Consumer Report article, “it’s a stretch to say, as is commonly heard, that the U.S. doesn’t make anything anymore. In fact, the U.S. makes about three-quarters of all the manufactured goods (including components) it consumes.”
Here are a few examples of some good old ‘Merican-made stuff:
In apparel - Chippewa boots and Stetson hats.
In housewares - Bunn coffeemakers and Kirby vacuum cleaners.
In tools - Briggs & Stratton engines, Stihl gas-powered equipment.
Some more examples listed by Consumer Reports include Airstream trailers, Crayola crayons, Sharpie markers, Steinway pianos and Wilson sporting goods.
A blaring example of an American product gone foreign, however, is the Atlas rocket used to put much of our military and communications equipment into orbit. The rocket is made in the US but its powerful engine is made in Russia! Of course, the Russians are talking about banning the engines because of the Ukraine crisis, but that’s another story.
The Internet article did mention that companies are starting to move to the US, what’s known in the business world as ‘onshore’ or ‘insource.’ They include domestic and foreign companies. And the auto industry is a big player. BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes and Volkswagens, all European and Asian brands, are made here now. Master Lock, an old American icon, returned 100 jobs to a Milwaukee plant.
There are lots of factors that determine where a manufacturer operates, but the primary one is the bottom line. The business climate in the US has improved due to lower energy costs and friendlier economic enticements. Plus wage discrepancies have narrowed with other countries like China. These things make an American location for manufacturers appealing, not to mention the enormous benefits (security, stability, friendliness, etc.) of being on American soil.
Bottom line: Not much is completely American-made anymore. Parts and components of just about everything we use in this day and age of a global economy come from all over the world. But assembly plants, and even manufacturing plants, seem headed back home. That means more US jobs and a stronger economy.