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Cars all over the map.

The restructuring of the American automotive industry has occurred along many dimensions: financial, technological, and marketing, to name a few. In the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Economic Perspectives, Thomas H. Klier and Daniel P. McMillen analyze changes in the geographic footprint of the light vehicles industry.

At their base point of 1980, chosen as the last year before the significant emergence of foreign-owned "transplants" in the industry, assembly lines were "located in a fairly compact region that extends north-south from the Twin Cities in Minnesota to Kansas City, and from there all the way to the East Coast."

By 1990, there was a net increase of one assembly line as 13 were opened and 12 closed. This began to change the east-west automotive belt in two ways: the importance of the East Coast declined as assembly lines were closed and newly opened lines extended the automobile-assembly region southward. In addition, newly opened assembly lines filled in portions of northern Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

The north-south extension of assembly line density continued through 2002, the last year of Klier and McMillen's data. Of the even assembly lines that were opened between 1990 and 2003, only one was in the heart of the traditional area and one was on its southernmost fringe. The rest established a new east-west band of assembly plants reaching from central Mississippi to South Carolina.
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Title Annotation:Precis; automotive industry's increasing production
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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