.. industry. Consumers are now demanding lower prices and more luxuries in their cars. To deal with this consumer demand, auto manufacturers have begun by lowering employee pay rolls, replacing employees with machines and more capable workers to improve productivity, and many times merge with other companies to better compete in the market. Production growth has been about 2-3 percent for the past few years in the auto industry, and hopefully will continue by implementing new cost efficient procedures. American industries, competing in the international markets, face the problem of a strong dollar compared to the weaker currencies of foreign nations.
This means that American cars to foreign nations are more expensive, and foreign cars to Americans are cheaper. This supply and demand problem was solved by the Clinton administration which opened up many foreign markets previously closed to the US auto makers. One of the main markets that the Clinton administration opened up was the Japanese market. This was such a positive victory for the US industries because the Japanese were notorious for charging very little for the cars they sold in foreign countries, making up the difference with extremely high prices for the cars they sold in the closed markets of Japan. The North Atlantic Trade Agreement also opened up trade to many nations in Latin America, especially Mexico. Overall, between 1992 and 1995 export sales rose 22 percent and the sales to Mexico and Japan each rose 250 percent. The auto industry is also a major source of jobs in the world.
“During the early 1990s, approximately one of every seven jobs in the US domestic economy is related to the production, sale, operation, or maintenance of motor vehicles” (Tardiff 396) which makes abundantly clear the impact the car industry has on society, with GM, Chrysler, and Ford Companies making up three fourths of those jobs. Auto workers are also among the most highest paid workers in any industry and also the most productive. This great increase in worker productivity, due to advancing technology, also accounts for the huge profit gains the Big Three have received in the past few years. Until the late 1960s, the government did not get involved in implementing regulations on the automobile industry. Most of the regulations now placed on car manufacturers have to do with making the car drive safer and be more environmentally sound. Seat belts, reflectors, bumpers, windshield wipers, defrosters, dashboard controls and specialized lights, brakes, tires, and windows were all the result of government action.
Today safety has become extremely important to car makers because of the high deaths that result from automobile accidents, the government, and most influentially, peoples growing concern for their well-being. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has created standards for new cars called emission standards, which prevent excess carbon monoxide from being released into the atmosphere. There has been much talk of creating international standards to regulate the automobile and recently some progress has been made. Many nations including the US and Japan has become”active participants in the Group of Experts on the Construction of Vehicles, of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE/WP29), the principal international forum for harmonization issues.” (Hoovers Online) The future of the automobile industry looks rather stable. More than ever, international competition will keep individual companys sales from soaring. Cost efficiency is a major issue with todays car manufacturing, as is expanding into developing countries.
The Far East and Latin America are expected to be the source of most new profits and demand in the years ahead. “The current global car market is expected to grow from about 44 million vehicles sold per year to 64 million by 2002.” (Hoovers Online) The automobile industry is also spending great amounts of time and money in developing new cars and luxuries to offer their customers. Like in airplanes, car makers are looking into placing a”black box” in each car to record valuable information in case of a car accident. Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems was a government sponsored study analyzing traffic patterns and ways to improve motor transportation. Creating environmentally safe vehicles is also a major concern. Companies are looking into solar powered, battery-operated, and electric cars, plus a new technology that converts liquid hydrogen into electricity.
All these new low emission automobiles are still under development, but many prototypes are expected to reach the market by 2003-2004. The rise of computer technology in todays society has greatly affected the automobile industry. Global Positioning System is an up and coming navigational system becoming more and more common in cars today, especially SUVs, which are predicted to be in heavy demand in the next few years. Thermal detectors in the windshield used to display hard to see objects at night are in development and researchers are looking into the possibility of placing computers in brakes to automatically slow the vehicle when rounding a curve or when encountering another hazardous situation. The automobile has become a necessity in the lives of millions of people living in developed countries and its influence is spreading around the world quickly.
As cars become more and more advanced, suited with better handling capabilities, safer features, and more computerized systems, its no wonder that so many people invest so much time, energy and money into this industry. The automobile has come along way since the days of Henry Ford, and you can rest assured that it will continue to evolve. Even though the car itself will continue to change as will the industry that creates these incredible machines, there is no doubt that peoples demand and love for cars will go on for a long time to come. Works Cited McBride, Gordon. “Automobile Manufacturing.” Career Information Center.
2 vols. New York: MacMillan Library Reference USA, 1996 p. 98-100 Tardiff, Joseph, ed.” Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment.” US Industry Profiles. New York: Gale Research, 1998 p. 394-401 Broughty, James. Careers in Transport. Chicago: The Institute for Research, 1999 Womack, James P., Jones, Daniel T., and Roos, Daniel. The Machine that Changed the World.
New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1990 Farr, Max. “Automobile Industry.” Hoovers Online. Online. Internet. February 2000 Bibliography McBride, Gordon. “Automobile Manufacturing.” Career Information Center. 2 vols.
New York: MacMillan Library Reference USA, 1996 p. 98-100 Tardiff, Joseph, ed.” Motor Vehicles and Motor Vehicle Equipment.” US Industry Profiles. New York: Gale Research, 1998 p. 394-401 Broughty, James. Careers in Transport.
Chicago: The Institute for Research, 1999 Womack, James P., Jones, Daniel T., and Roos, Daniel. The Machine that Changed the World. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1990 Farr, Max. “Automobile Industry.” Hoovers Online. Online. Internet.