Tuesday, July 23, 2024 Detailed Auto Topics
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In August of 1992 the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA) was introduced by the Senate. While the purpose was never clearly stated, it was heavily supported by the Big-Three and UAW. It was passed into law on 6 October 1992. In theory it informs vehicle buyers about domestic content in their vehicle. In practice it has several deficiencies.

The law appears to be crafted to hide the high imported content of the Big-Three.  Just a few instances include:
  • The Big-Three have significant vehicle assembly in Canada.  In AALA, US and Canadian production are combined as though they were all US.  A vehicle totally assembled in Canada can be listed as domestically built, even though no US workers were employed. 

  • The Big-Three can list imported parts from "Allied" U.S. suppliers as domestic content.  This means even though the parts are produced in China, India, Mexico, etc. and imported by a subsidiary of the Big-Three, they can still count as US parts.

  • Production is averaged for imported vehicles.  If a Toyota is 100% assembled in the US, using 100% domestic content, it would be listed as 50% domestic, if an equal number were also built in Japan.

  • Labor content is NOT included in content percentage, only dollar value of parts.  The Big-Three could supply imported parts, bought through an "Allied" U.S. supplier, have them assembled in Mexico and count them as Domestic content.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates U.S. taxpayers spend about $4,700,000.00 annually for this information
Maybe we should at least have a look?  These figures are for the 2009 model year. (Please click on images for closer view) 

AALA figures 2009 Chrysler

Foreign and domestic content in 2009 Ford products

Foreign and domestic content in 2009 GM products

Foreign and domestic content in 2009 GM products II

Foreign and domestic content in 2009 Toyota products

For more eye opening information on vehicle content also see our articles What Would Henry Think and U.S. and Foreign Vehicles.

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