BEIJING: Major automakers have announced a slew of investments in the United States since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017 and exerted pressure on the industry to create more US jobs.
China is also attracting much investment, with companies keen to increase their share of the world's largest car market and keep up with the country's push towards electric vehicles.
Following are summaries of investments and restructuring efforts made by major automakers in the United States and China since 2017. Some did not respond to requests for information or only provided details for one country.
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Toyota Motor Corp has pledged to invest almost US$13 billion in the United States between 2017 and 2021 to boost manufacturing capacity and jobs. This includes US$1.6 billion for a vehicle assembly plant in Alabama jointly run with Mazda Motor Corp and US$238 million in manufacturing capacity in Kentucky to assemble 112,000 gasoline-electric hybrid models a year. Toyota's Kentucky plant has also gained US$1.3 billion in investment to boost its competitiveness.
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FCA in January 2017 said it would invest US$1 billion in truck and SUV manufacturing facilities in Michigan and Ohio, creating 2,000 US jobs. It described the plan as a move to solidify the United States as its global manufacturing hub for Jeep products. In February this year, it announced additional investment of US$4.5 billion in production facilities in Michigan, to produce more SUVs and trucks and create nearly 6,500 jobs.
General Motors Co in November 2018 announced a sweeping restructuring programme that aims to cut production of slow-selling models and slash its North American workforce so resources can be shifted to electric and autonomous vehicles. GM put four US factories and one Canadian plant on notice for potential closure. It noted in late April that it has invested US$4.3 billion in US manufacturing operations since 2017.
Ford Motor in 2017 said it would invest US$2.95 billion in manufacturing facilities in Kentucky and Michigan. Those plans included US$900 million for its Kentucky truck plant to secure 1,000 hourly jobs and produce the redesigned Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs. This year, Ford said it will invest an additional US$1.2 billion in manufacturing facilities in Michigan and Illinois to expand production capacity and add new jobs.
In 2017, Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and parts suppliers, said it planned to lift US investment by 50 per cent over five years to US$3.1 billion. An executive said at that time the group was considering a new US factory to build high-margin, high-demand models such as a US-specific sport utility vehicle and a Genesis premium vehicle.
In January this year, Volkswagen AG said it planned to invest US$800 million to build what it called a new generation of electric vehicles at its Chattanooga plant in Tennessee. The first electric car from the plant is slated to roll off the production line in 2022.
Honda Motor Co said in 2017 it would invest a combined US$352 million in manufacturing facilities located in Alabama and Ohio that would support production of the redesigned Accord car and create jobs. It also said it would spend US$124 million on an advanced wind tunnel facility in Ohio.
Although not formally announced, the Japanese automaker has confirmed information from sources that is investing in capacity in Tianjin and Guangzhou to produce 240,000 more vehicles annually. The size of the investment is not known.
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The company's China unit did not respond to a Reuters request for information.
No major additional investment in China manufacturing capacity since the Detroit automaker announced it had earmarked US$12 billion to expand production between 2014 and 2017.
Ford said in 2017 it would invest in its joint-venture manufacturing facilities in China to support production of five vehicles, including a Lincoln premium SUV and the company's first global all-electric small SUV. The investment amount was not disclosed.
In 2018, Ford said it would invest in joint-venture manufacturing facilities in Chongqing to produce vehicles including the redesigned Escort and Focus models. It also said it would be investing to assemble the redesigned Explorer SUV but did not disclose where it will be made.
This year the US automaker announced plans to produce three Lincoln models in China by 2021, instead of bringing in those models from North America.
Hit by a downturn in sales, Hyundai said in April it was suspending production at one of its five plants in China. Kia is also looking at suspending production at a China plant, a source familiar with the matter has said.
Volkswagen Group in 2018 opened three factories – in Qingdao, Foshan and Tianjin – to produce more SUVs and electric cars as well as other vehicles. The German group, which produces and sells vehicles in China through its Volkswagen, Audi and Skoda brands, also broke ground for its electric-car factory in Shanghai, which will start e-car production in 2020.
Through 2022, Volkswagen Group and its joint-venture partners will invest around €15 billion in e-mobility, autonomous driving and other areas. This includes R&D spending on new technologies. In June 2017, it announced a 50-50 joint venture with Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co, its third partnership with a Chinese automaker, to design, produce and market electric cars.
Honda's joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Group in December 2016 announced it would build a 3 billion yuan (US$435 million) assembly plant in Wuhan capable of producing 120,000 vehicles a year. The plant opened in April this year.