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New U.S. Car Plants Signal Renewal for Manufacturing

Wall Street Journal (01/26/12) Neal Boudette

A large supply of affordable labor and favorable foreign exchange rates have helped the U.S. emerge as a favored location for making cars and trucks to be exported to markets around the world—especially for Japan’s big three auto makers. Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., and Nissan Motor Co. are increasing capacity in their U.S. plants with the intention of shipping U.S.-made models to other parts of the world.

“The weaker dollar makes it more advantageous to export” from the U.S., says Bill Krueger, vice chairman of Nissan’s operations in North and South America. “We continue to grow our capacity in our U.S. plants. We’re adding shifts and hiring workers.” The company is in the process of hiring 2,500 additional workers at two plants in Smyrna, TN. One hundred and fifty engineers are also being added at a technical center in Farmington Hills, MI. Toyota and Honda are also planning to increase output at their U.S. plants.