Even after slashing tens of thousands of jobs, U.S.-based manufacturers still will employ nearly three out of every four U.S. auto workers at the end of the decade.
That estimate, by the Level Field Institute, is meant to convey the message that some American-made vehicles are more American than others -- despite efforts by import brands to stress in ads that they build a lot of vehicles here.
The institute, founded by retirees of the Big 3 and their suppliers, says import-brand companies assemble a lot of vehicles in the United States but keep many high-value management, design, research and engineering jobs overseas.
Tim MacCarthy, president of the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, calls the Level Field Institute a new "flat earth society." But Jim Doyle, president of the institute, says his group isn't just advocating a mindless buy-American policy.
"We're not trying to define what an American car is," Doyle says. "We're giving people the facts to make that decision themselves. If you're deciding between a Passat and a Honda or a Honda and a Fusion, you probably want to know that Honda employs significantly more people (in the United States) than VW and that Ford employs significantly more people than Honda."