Indiana growing as automotive powerhouse

Relevant statistics for Indiana's auto industry

2013-08-04T00:00:00Z Relevant statistics for Indiana's auto industryJoseph S. Pete, (219) 933-3316

How Indiana has emerged as a leader in national rankings

Automotive gross domestic product

1. Michigan: $18.8 billion

2. Indiana: $9.9 billion

3. Ohio: $6.9 billion

11. Illinois: $2.2 billion

Source: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

Car and light truck production

1. Michigan: 1,921,410 vehicles

2. Ohio: 1,161,549 vehicles

3. Indiana: 881,951 vehicles

7. Illinois: 535,370 vehicles

Source: Automotive News Data Center

Jobs in auto and parts manufacturing

1. Michigan: 148,400 jobs

2. Ohio: 84,000 jobs

3. Indiana: 70,600 jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Automotive share of total workforce

1. Michigan: 21.8 percent

2. Indiana: 13.9 percent

3. Ohio: 12.4 percent

7. Illinois: 6 percent

Source: Center for Automotive Research


Five things that boosted Indiana’s auto industry

New Honda plant, and the ripple effect: In 2008, Honda opened a new plant in Greensburg in southeastern Indiana, where more than 2,000 workers now mass-produce the Civic sedan. The Japanese automaker announced last year it would invest in a $40 million expansion and add another 300 employees to make hybrid Civics in Greensburg. Parts suppliers have bulked up their Indiana operations to keep pace with the Honda plant. Earlier this year, Greenville Technology opened a new 150,000-square-foot facility in Anderson, and hired 350 workers to build plastic components for the Civic. Tier 1 Honda parts supplier Indiana Marujun LLC also moved forward with a $21.7 million expansion of its 127,000-square-foot facility in Winchester, which will create up to 50 new jobs by 2015.

Onshoring trend: Honda previously made all hybrid cars in Japan, but decided that its Greensburg plant would be the only factory in the world to make the hybrid version of the Civic, which will be exported across the globe. Toyota decided to consolidate global production of its Highlander midsize sport utility vehicle at its factory in Princeton in southwestern Indiana. Last year the Japanese automaker made plans to hire 400 more workers at the plant after making a $131 million investment that will increase Highlander production by 50,000 vehicles a year. The company announced just last week it would invest $30 million more and hire an additional 200 workers to further ramp up production. Subaru decided to start making the Impreza in Lafayette instead of Japan, which will result in another 900 jobs after a $400 million expansion. The factory already employs 3,600 workers and hit a new production volume record last year.

General Motors rebounds from bankruptcy and improves mileage: General Motors pumped $275 million into its Fort Wayne Assembly Plant, so it could make more fuel-efficient versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra pickup trucks, and another $26 million to make heavy-duty versions of those trucks. Supplier Ground Effects LLC plans to open a new factory near Fort Wayne to serve the assembly plant and intends to hire up to 160 workers by 2017. The Detroit automaker also invested about $190 million during the last four years into its aluminum die casting facility in Bedford in southern Indiana, doubling its workforce by creating more than 300 additional jobs. That factory makes parts for six-speed transmissions, which have been upgraded to be more fuel-efficient.

Kokomo comes back from the brink: Chrysler and Delphi laid off thousands of workers in the north-central Indiana city during the 2000s, but then were able to invest in Kokomo again after the federal bailouts of automakers. Delphi planned to invest more than $100 million, add more than 190 new jobs and preserve thousands more after getting a $89 million federal green technology grant to develop hybrid battery packs and other next-generation engines. After getting a federal bailout in 2008, Chrysler has pumped $1.6 billion into its Kokomo transmission facilities to make transmissions that would boost the fuel economy of many of its vehicles. Earlier this year, Chrysler announced it would create 1,250 additional jobs in the Kokomo area to make transmissions for the Jeep Cherokee and other vehicles.

Continued success of foreign automakers: Subaru has added more than 600 workers during the last three years at its massive Lafayette plant, which produced more than 270,000 vehicles last year. The company announced in 2012 that it would invest $75 million and add 100 more workers to keep pace with strong demand for its Outback and Legacy models. Earlier this year, Subaru announced another, much larger expansion of $400 million to $450 million to add a new production line, which will ramp up capacity from 300,000 vehicles to 400,000 vehicles a year. Another 900 workers will be hired to make the Impreza. Toyota has invested a total of $4.2 billion over the years at its Princeton plant, which employs 4,700 workers. The company announced plans last week to hire 200 more workers to increase the factory's annual production by 15,000 units.


Hubs of Indiana's auto industry

Hammond: Lear Corp. manufactures seats for Ford vehicles made at the nearby Chicago Assembly Plant, and Contract Services Group makes seating subassemblies for Lear. Together, the two companies employ more than 970 full- and part-time workers.

South Bend: Supplier Federal-Mogul makes pistons at its South Bend facility, which typically employs 300 to 400 workers. The parts maker, which recently shipped its Michigan City wiper blade factory to Mexico, spent $22 million last year on an expansion in South Bend that was expected to create 20 more jobs.

Fort Wayne: General Motors employs more than 3,600 union workers at its factory, which the automaker says is one of North America's most productive assembly plants. The company has invested more than $300 million in the facility since 2009, largely to make more fuel-efficient pickup trucks.

Bedford: Since 2006, GM has invested more than $300 million on fuel-saving projects at its powertrain factory in south-central Indiana. The aluminum die casting facility employs more than 600 workers, who are mostly represented by United Auto Workers Local 440 and IBEW Local 16. The plant makes transmission casings and converter housings, and is responsible for more than $37 million in annual wages.

Lafayette: Subaru operates an 832-acre campus, where it has made more than 3.9 million vehicles since production started in 1989. More than 3,600 employees make the Subaru Outback, Legacy and Tribeca. The Japanese automaker is investing up to $450 million to increase capacity by 25 percent, which will mean 900 new jobs by the end of 2016.

Greensburg: The new Honda plant, which opened in 2008, employs more than 2,000 workers, who make the top-selling Honda Civic. The factory was selected to make the Civic Hybrid, which will be shipped to markets around the globe. Honda will add 300 more workers at the southeastern Indiana factory, which is running two shifts.

Princeton: Toyota employs 4,700 workers at its southwest Indiana plant, where it has invested $4.2 billion over the years. The automaker announced plans last week to add another 200 jobs to keep up with strong demand for the Highlander mid-sized sport utility vehicle.

Kokomo: Chrysler operates three transmission plants and a casting plant in the Kokomo area. The company announced earlier this year that it will invest $400 million to make new fuel-saving transmissions for the Jeep Cherokee midsized SUV and other vehicles at those facilities, which the automaker describes as the largest transmission factory complex in the world. Chrysler intends to add 1,250 new jobs by early 2014, which will bring its total employment level in the Kokomo area to 7,300 workers.

Note: This is a just sampling of the 630 automotive companies that do business in Indiana.

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