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Automotive Component Sourcing, Revisited

In its exhaustive and exemplary coverage of the automotive manufacturing industry, the Saginaw News recently asked, from where are the parts in our automobiles sourced?

MODERN CASTING and Engineered Casting Solutions asked this question some months ago in “Castings Are Closer Than They Appear” (January MC, January/February ECS), and the results of Saginaw’s exploration turned out to be similar, though the newspaper worked from different supporting data.

The force of the daily’s story was that a company based in one country doesn’t necessarily source its components, including castings, from that same country. The straight news article doesn’t get into why the sourcing decisions are made (perhaps they’re planning to deliver those answers in a later news analysis story), but it offers good evidence for local casting sourcing.

According to reporter Barrie Barber’s research, “on average, domestic carmakers sport about an 80% North American parts content,” just 30% more than Toyota, which averages about 50%. Again, the goal of the piece is not to go into the reasoning behind this surprising fact, but it coincides neatly with companies like Toyota moving many of their assembly plants into domestic markets.

Car companies aren’t the only casting end-users moving into domestic markets (see “What Your Customers Are Thinking” in the upcoming issue of MODERN CASTING). Domestic metalcasters must recognize this fact and win this new business while it’s available.