In the past several years, the new American manufacturers have expanded their U.S. automotive capabilities beyond assembly.
BMW Manufacturing Corp. is adding engineering operations at its Spartanburg County, S.C., assembly plant to give the plant more product-development resources. BMW also conducts U.S. parts sourcing for vehicle assembly worldwide.
Honda of America Manufactur-ing Inc. builds vehicles designed and engineered in the United States, using parts designed here by local suppliers working with Honda. Factory tooling is designed by a U.S. engineering office. The cars use engines made locally from aluminum that is cast on site into blocks, heads, cylinder sleeves and brakes and married to transmissions made by a local subsidiary. The capabilities have allowed Honda to launch new Acuras unique to North America, plus a U.S.-developed minivan.
Isuzu Motors Ltd., the 49 percent partner in Subaru-Isuzu Automo-tive Inc. in Lafayette, Ind., evaluates parts and handles vehicle styling in Detroit and Los Angeles through its Isuzu Motors America Inc. subsidiary. It plans to add parts design and vehicle prototyping capabilities.
Mazda R&D of North America Inc. employs 200 in Irvine, Calif.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and at the Flat Rock, Mich., production site. The group oversees parts design and evaluation, vehicle design issues and prototype production.
Mitsubishi Motors R&D America Inc. performs parts and vehicle design, prototype production and vehicle evaluation work out of offices in Los Angeles, Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich. The operation works with Mitsubishi's manufacturing site in Normal, Ill., which builds cars for both Mitsubishi and Chrysler.
Nissan: Stylists at Nissan Design International in San Diego have taken the lead in creating the vehicles that will come out of Nissan's Smyrna operation. About 500 people at Nissan Research and Development Inc. in Farmington Hills, Mich., provide the vehicle engineering and prototype development. Nissan is currently assembling transmissions and engines for its vehicles in a new plant in Decherd, Tenn.
Toyota: Toyota's cars increasingly reflect the work of its U.S. design center, Calty Design Research Inc. in Newport Beach, Calif. Toyota's consolidated manufacturing headquarters in Erlanger, Ky., works with local suppliers on future products, while Toyota Technical Center U.S.A. Inc. in Southfield, Mich., handles the research and development on future North American models. Toyota is also expanding U.S. engine production with a second plant in Buffalo, W.Va. The company spent $600 million buying and expanding a supplier of aluminum blocks and heads.