You might have gotten the impression from President Donald Trump's State of the Union address last week that automakers had largely abandoned U.S. investments before he came to town.
"Many car companies are now building and expanding plants in the United States, something we haven't seen for decades," he said.
Decades? As usual with the president, there was more than an ounce of overstatement. But he wasn't entirely blowing smoke.
Last year, automakers announced $10.2 billion in investments for new plants, expansion of existing facilities and retooling. Many factors go into these types of decisions, including customer demand, supply chain efficiencies, local and state incentives, energy costs, availability of skilled labor, tariffs and so on.
It's likely many of those projects were already in the pipeline, but some decisions may have accelerated with the promise of corporate tax cuts and deregulation.
Adding domestic production is also a way for manufacturers to hedge their bets against an unraveling of the North American Free Trade Agreement and higher import duties. And it inoculates them against Trump pressure to bring jobs home.
But it's not like investment in the U.S. auto industry had come to a halt.
Between 2009 and 2017, announced capital expenditures by automakers in the U.S. totaled $87.6 billion, dwarfing the totals in Mexico and Canada, according to the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. And $77.4 billion of that investment came during the Obama administration.
Since NAFTA took effect in 1994, 15 manufacturing plants have been launched in the U.S., resulting in the creation of more than 50,000 direct and 350,000 indirect auto jobs, the industry's Driving American Jobs coalition says.
So it's been a good run — a long run — with plenty of credit to go around.