A Summary of the CAR Book of Deals Annual Report

Since 2002, the Center for Automotive Research’s Book of Deals database has served as the definitive inventory of North American automaker and supplier investment announcements. This proprietary database covers more than 20 years of investments made by automotive companies. CAR’s Book of Deals is based on publically available data; to populate the Book of Deals, CAR monitors news, governmental, and company sources on an ongoing basis.[1] Smaller dollar value announcements, particularly those from smaller supplier firms, may therefore not be included.

Figure 1: Coverage of the Book of Deals

2018 Highlights

  • Total Investment: Automakers announced investment projects totaling roughly $4.8 billion throughout North America
  • Total Jobs: Over 22,000 total jobs were announced, and about 4,000 new jobs are projected to be created
  • Number of Announcements: Automakers announced 34 new investments in 2018
  • Announced Total Incentives: Publically released incentive information shows that over $540 million was offered to support 6 different automaker investments – these public investments leveraged $4 for every $1 in incentives

Ten Significant Investments Announced in 2018

The top ten largest automaker announcements in 2018 totaled more than $4.4 billion, or 92 percent of total automaker investments for 2018. Companies that announced the most substantial investments in 2018 include FCA, Ford, GM, Hyundai, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen. These investments will create or retain over 20,000 jobs. The ten largest automaker investments in North America in 2018 are summarized below in Table 1.

Source: CAR Book of Deals, 2018

Toyota made the largest investment announcement this year in its facilities in Cambridge and Woodstock, Ontario, Canada. The company announced an investment of over $1 billion to upgrade these assembly plants for the next generation RAV4 crossover that will create or retain 8,450 jobs. The investment and upgrades include the production of a RAV4 hybrid, as well as R&D activities at these facilities.

Regional Analysis of 2018 Investments

The United States captured 78 percent of North American investment for 2018, with automakers announcing plans to invest over $3.7 billion across their U.S. facilities in the United States. This $3.7 billion includes nearly 30 announcements, the majority of which will go towards modernizing manufacturing facilities (approximately 77 percent of all investments in the United States). Other investments across the United States were focused on R&D facilities (22.9 percent) and distribution centers (1.7 percent). Automakers’ 2018 investments supported the creation and retention of more than 13,000 jobs.

Automakers made three announcements of plans to allocate about $1.1 billion into Canadian facilities and three announcements in Mexico (investment details not disclosed) last year.

Historical Trends, 2009 to 2018

Between 2009 and 2018, automakers have announced over $124 billion in investments in the North American region. Canada received 7 percent of North American investment, Mexico received 20 percent, and the United States was the destination of the remaining 73 percent. Throughout this time frame, automakers have made 46 percent of North American automaker investments in the U.S. Great Lakes region. Adding the Great Lakes and Canadian investments means that the automaker investment share in the traditional core of the automotive industry footprint makes up more than half of all North American investments (53 percent). Since 2009, automakers, on average, invested approximately $9.1 billion annually in the United States, $2.5 billion annually in Mexico and $820 million annually in Canada.

Figure 3: Automaker Investments by Region, 2009 to 2018

Source: CAR Book of Deals, 2018

Between 2017 and 2018 announced automaker investments decreased by 57 percent, as shown in Figure 3. Overall, many factors can contribute to this decrease in investment including: the uncertainty in the automotive industry related to trade negotiations and corporate restructuring (i.e., GM & Ford layoffs/buyouts), the continued sales plateau and slight dip many analysts project for 2019, and possible negotiation tactics for upcoming contracts between the UAW and the Detroit Three automakers.

The information presented here is a summary of CAR’s Book of Deals 2018 Annual Report. For further information regarding this document, please reach out to Bernard Swiecki, Director of the Automotive Communities Partnership (ACP).

[1] CAR does not record corporate mergers and acquisitions, changes to employment levels, or investment activity from related industries (agricultural vehicles, construction equipment, aftermarket parts) in the Book of Deals.

The CAR Book of Deals is provided regularly to CAR Affiliates and our Automotive Communities Partnership members. Click below for more information on how to join ACP.

Terni Fiorelli

Industry Analyst, Industry, Labor, & Economics Group

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