Detroit’s Big 3 Losing Dominance in North America

Europe, Asia, and Tesla are on track to build more cars in North America this year than GM, Ford, and FCA.

byEric Brandt|
Detroit’s Big 3 Losing Dominance in North America

The majority of North American car manufacturing might no longer belong to the unionized Detroit "Big Three" automakers, Reuters reports citing IHS Markit. 

According to the prediction, three companies, Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, are expected to build 8.6 million vehicles in North America, while foreign carmakers and local industry disrupter Tesla could build a total of 8.7 million vehicles.

The same anaylsis says that the gap will get bigger in the next few years. By 2024, Tesla and car companies from Europe and Asia could build almost 10 million cars in North America while production by the established Detroit brands could fall slightly to 8.1 million vehicles.

Manufacturing presence by foreign automakers has been on the rise. Nissan’s U.S. manufacturing has shot up 78 percent since 2011 and just last year, Honda built its 12th American manufacturing plant in Marysville, Ohio. Both of those brands built more than a million cars each in the U.S. in 2016. Then there’s Tesla, which is planning on building up to 500,000 vehicles per year in its Fremont, Calif. manufacturing facility, formerly jointly owned by GM and Toyota.

Detroit dominance isn’t just shrinking because competitors are growing, but because more manufacturing from the established “American” brands is starting to leave the continent. Buick and Cadillac both build cars in China that are sold in the States and Ford has announced plans to move production of the Focus compact from Michigan to China.

The good news is that the grand total of American car manufacturing is expected to rise. North American factory workers might lose their jobs at Ford, GM, or FCA, but there might be another job waiting for them at Toyota, Volkswagen, or Tesla, just to name a few.