ANN ARBOR, MI-Motor vehicle parts suppliers, not the major manufacturing companies themselves, are now in many ways the true drivers of the automotive and truck manufacturing industry, according to a report from the Center for Automotive Research (CAR).

According to the report, titled “Contribution of the Motor Vehicle Supplier Sector to the Economies of the United States and its 50 States,” companies comprising the U.S. vehicle manufacturing supply chain directly employ slightly more than 780,000 people, and indirectly create an additional 1.9 million jobs as a result of suppliers’ expenditures nationwide. In 2004, motor vehicle assembly operations could be found in about 20 states, while parts-making plants could be found in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In all, the truck and automotive supply chain, directly and indirectly, contributed about $252 billion to the U.S. private-sector economy in 2004.

“Over the course of the last few decades, the motor vehicle industry has undergone a massive transformation,” the report says. Motor vehicle assembly companies were once highly integrated, designing and building thousands of parts that, when assembled, became an automobile. By the beginning of the 21st century, most parts-making operations moved out of the assembly companies into independent stand-alone parts supplier operations-selling products to multiple customers.”

According to the report, although the general public often regards the U.S. automotive sector as shrinking, due to the outsourcing of basic parts manufacturing abroad, the reality is far different. “The true story is one of continuing operations in a dynamic, hugely successful industry-with some companies shrinking as other companies grow,” the report says.

For a complete report, visit CAR at www.cargroup.org.