Aftermarket Business is taking an extensive, detailed look at the "Made in the U.S.A." label. What does this tag mean and how have U.S.-created products been impacted by the economy? What are the strengths and weaknesses of companies who produce solely in-house as opposed to their international or global-producing counterparts? We examine the industry, ask for input from those living the made in the U.S.A. mantra and report it all back here.
"Made in USA" still has cache, but country takes a back seat to globalization With the economy in crisis and the well-documented struggles of the Big 3 U.S. automakers continuing, the idea of buying American is beginning to gain traction once again. A March 2009 Gallup poll shows that the percentage of Americans saying they would only consider cars from American companies when making a new-car purchase has increased in recent months, up from 30 percent in mid-December to 37 percent today.
Furthermore, legislators considered (though ultiimately decided against) a provision in the $787 billion economic stimulus package that would have required government projects to use U.S.-made iron, steel and other manufactured goods. One of the "Cash for Clunkers" proposals being floated in Congress would offer thousands of dollaras in incentives to buyers of U.S. auto brands. Read more.
Companies that manufacture products internationally may on the surface appear to be able to produce products at lower labor rates, but having a creative market strategy and a quality product, regardless of where it is made, is vital to company success, says Carrie Mermuys, executive vice president of Bar's Leaks, a brand exclusively produced in the United States since its inception in 1947. Read more.
SURVEY: Made in the USA
As part of Aftermarket Business's May coverage on the American born and bred aftermarket industry, its parts and companies, we are gauging your opinion to see how you view the "Made in the USA" label.
How important is it to you that the products you buy are manufactured in the U.S.? Vote.
VIDEO: The True Cost of Global Souring
Ken Selinger, director of marketing and product development, Aftermarket and OES Divisions, Akebono Brake Corporation — North America, discusses the downside of global sourcing and the true cost of manufacturing products overseas.
Selinger also discusses the difficulty of controlling quality in outsourced products, maintaining customer satisfaction and the potential risk of loss or theft of technology to companies located in LCCs. Watch.
While these sources have generally competed at the low price points, David Coolidge, president, Automotive Aftermarket Division, Robert Bosch Corporation, says these sources have generally not been able to provide value-added services, such as category management, supply chain management, training, technical support, and so on. Watch.
Bill Giles from AutoZone views global sourcing as a viable option for quality parts, recognizing that about 5 percent of his company's product mix is sourced globally. Meanwhile, Michael Cardone Jr. from Cardone Industries says there are liability and technical issues associated with global sourcing. Watch.
AUDIO: 'Made in USA' holds value globally
Carrie Mermuys, executive vice president of Bar's Products, an American-made brand, discusses the value of the "Made in the USA" label outside the United States, and how it is often associated with a high-qualty product. Listen.
BLOG: 'Made in USA' not crucial to techs
At the 2009 Vision event, AASA VP Jack Cameron mentioned that in a survey of its members, the Automotive Service Association (ASA) found that its members want to better understand how manufacturers "source" their products, and want to know "what's in the box?" . Read more.
BLOG: The Power of Patriotism
Despite the faltering economy, plummeting new vehicle sales and shrinking consumer discretionary spending, there is an upside for the Detroit 3 — patriotism.
A recent Gallup poll reveals that 37 percent of consumers only consider vehicles from American companies when making new car purchase decisions. This number reflects a 7 percent increase in just three months, up from 30 percent in mid-October. Read more.
BLOG: Made in ??? Where are your parts born?
My intention was to put together a piece on the top U.S.-made aftermarket products. I quickly learned that compiling a lisst like this would be as easy as herding a group of cats into a dog fight.
I spoke with Kyu-Min Oh, senior industry analyst for Frost & Sullivan, who points out the precariousness behind finding a clear pattern for the country of origin behind aftermarket auto parts. Read more.