Upjohn Institute Press

Pages: 419
Year Published: 
$40.00 cloth
ISBN: 978-0-88099-334-0
$20.00 paper
ISBN: 978-0-88099-333-3

Who Really Made Your Car? Restructuring and Geographic Change in the Auto Industry

Thomas Klier and James Rubenstein

The typical response to the question posed by the title of this book is likely to point to a well-known carmaker, either one of the Detroit Three (GM, Ford, or Chrysler) or one of their European or Asian competitors (BMW, Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda, etc.).

Yet parts suppliers now account for as much as 70 percent of the value added in the manufacture of motor vehicles. In addition, employees in the parts industry outnumber final assembly workers by nearly four to one. Companies such as Visteon, Denso, Robert Bosch, Dura, GKN, Johnson Controls, Autoliv, and many more are not only increasingly responsible for producing significant portions of motor vehicles, they are also becoming more likely to design and engineer those parts as well. Therefore, the answer to ""Who Really Made Your Car?"" now comprises a long list of parts companies, big and small, whose facilities may be located next door to the assembly line or on the other side of the world.

This book offers a comprehensive look at an industry whose role in motor vehicle production in the United States has been growing. Klier and Rubenstein make use of a unique database containing information on thousands of parts plants in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. This allows them to produce an analysis of the motor vehicle parts supplier industry at a level of detail not seen before. It also allows them to meet the two main goals they set out to achieve. The first is to present the key characteristics of the vast network of parts suppliers. The second goal of the book is to describe the changing geography of U.S. motor vehicle production at the local, regional, national, and international levels. In doing that, Klier and Rubenstein illustrate the challenges in store for motor vehicle parts production in the United States and especially in the Midwest.

"Who Really Made Your Car? is a stroll through time that effectively discusses the significant evolution of the North American industry. This book is required reading for those interested in and impacted by the enormous changes under way in the auto industry."–David E. Cole, Chairman, Center for Automotive Research

"Klier and Rubenstein have captured the massive restructuring of one of the largest industries on earth as historical production models and past labor practices have had to surrender to a new era. The authors take this complex and challenging upheaval, detail its impact, and outline the responses to it by business. Fascinating reading for any student of business!"–Timothy D. Leuliette, Chairman & CEO, Leuliette Partners

"The authors have provided an extensive analysis of the complex U.S. automotive industry and how it has evolved from a highly concentrated industry located primarily in the Midwest to a highly decentralized global industry. Their analysis of the impact of these changes on the supplier community and what it takes to be a successful supplier in this period of major transformation is thought provoking and a must read."–Neil De Koker, President and CEO, OESA

"Over the years, many books have been written about the auto industry, but far too little has been written about the impact of those firms who provide most of the value added: the supply base. Thomas Klier and James Rubenstein have addressed that shortfall with this book. Quite simply, this book is the most comprehensive study on the auto parts industry that I've ever read. It belongs in the library of anyone who works in or writes about the industry."–Dennis C. Cuneo, Executive Advisor and General Counsel, Toyota Boshoku America

"This is the most complete documentation of the automotive supply sector that I have ever seen. Klier and Rubenstein have delineated with incredible detail every single source for every single part for every single car assembled in North America. If you have any connection to the automotive industry, you need this book."–W. Jeff Jeffery, President and CEO, IRMCO

"A magisterial, encyclopedic review of who really makes the 15,000 parts and components in your motor vehicle. More importantly, the authors examine the trends in technology, markets, and companies that will determine where future auto parts will be made and who will get the jobs in America's largest manufacturing industry: auto parts manufacturing. No one has ever done this better in terms of information, insight, and clear, entertaining prose."–Sean P. McAlinden, Vice President Research & Chief Economist, Center for Automotive Research

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