WASHINGTON — IT may be Japanese, but it's made in America.
This past year, for the first time ever, the number of Japanese cars made in America surpassed the imports of cars from Japan to the United States, according to a new report by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA).
In 1993, more than 1.8 million vehicles were produced, exceeding the 1.5 million vehicles exported to the US from Japan.
``The Japanese automotive companies have invested more than $11 billion in the US, creating more than 300,000 American jobs and becoming an important, positive economic force in communities across America,'' William Duncan, JAMA's general director in Washington said Nov. 28. Mr. Duncan was touting the release of a report entitled, ``How Japanese Automakers Contribute to the US Economy.''
The trend reflects not only the increase in US production of Japanese cars but also exchange-rate differences and the move in recent years by Japan's automakers toward production of higher-priced cars, say industry analysts.
``In the US, Japanese companies are dedicated to producing high quality autos, employing American workers, and buying parts from US suppliers,'' Duncan added.
Japanese automakers' purchases of US auto parts increased more than sixfold between 1986 and 1993 - from $2.49 billion to $15.54 billion, the report notes. Meanwhile, the number of US parts suppliers has nearly quadrupled from 298 in 1986 to 1,245 this past March.
Excluding exports to Canada, Japanese-owned auto plants in the US are now exporting more vehicles than are the Big Three US automakers (Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors). In 1993, Japanese automakers exported 20,000 more cars than their American counterparts.