My Car Quest

October 23, 2020

On Made In The USA

by Wallace Wyss –

Yes, it was thought of as controversial when our present President, when he was running for President, said he wanted to see more things made in the USA.

Most people dismissed it as pandering to prejudiced folks but recently when we discovered the shortage of face masks was because we had consigned their production to the Chinese (Oh, the stores don’t have them but yet they’re selling them in the US on the street corners for $5 each). Americans begin to realize that going off shore is asking for trouble if anything happens to upset supply lines.

And now these shortages are affecting a significant American car. I became aware that one reason the 2020 Corvette can’t be built is a shortage of parts. And those parts are made in other countries, I ask, why can’t America’s only sports car be 100% American?

2020 Chevrolet Corvette - photo by Wallace Wyss

2020 Chevrolet Corvette – photo by Wallace Wyss

Quoting Corvette Mike (a dealer in Corvettes only) “Kai Spande, the Corvette assembly plant manager, did a live Q&A at the Corvette Museum taking questions from the public. One of the questions asked was if the 2020 C8 convertible the caller had on order would be produced as a 2020 or get pushed to the next model year. The answer, which was the answer to a lot of the questions, was that it all depended on when the plant could reopen.”

“The problem, as Kai put it, is that it is not just getting the factory workers back on the line, but also getting parts from the 400 suppliers, some of which are in Mexico, which has shut down all non-essential manufacturing. On the critical parts, it just takes one supplier to stop the entire line.”

Which brings me back to my complaint. We enthusiasts are proud GM finally went to a mid-engine Corvette but can’t we have a Plan B for the parts of every American car – so that when and if the cheaper source, like Mexico–can’t fullfill, we can go to plan B, the shop in Madison Heights Michigan whose bid was a dollar more?

I am embarrassed that on this flagship car, one that was going to show the world the engineering prowess of GM–can’t be completed because those execs in charge of parts sourcing so adamantly wanted to buy each part for the cheapest possible price, even if it meant going to other countries.

If they had a Plan B, then those parts could be available. True, the virus threat eventually caused the workforce to stay home, but if they had a Made-in-America plan they would have all the parts ready to complete the cars when they come back to work.

This is America’s great sports car. Is it too much to ask that it, and all its parts, be made in America?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

 
 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss once wrote the Corvette brochure, some Corvette print ads and a TV commercial for Chevrolet.

 
 
 
 

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Summary
On Made In The USA
Article Name
On Made In The USA
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Why can't all of the new Corvette C8 be made in the USA?
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Comments

  1. Maximo Aldunate says

    “I am ashamed that in this flagship car, one that was going to show the world GM’s engineering prowess, it cannot be completed because the parts supply executives wanted to buy each part at the cheapest price possible …”
    Wallace … the cost of the car would not be 1 dollar more expensive … it would be thousands of dollars more expensive … even the TATRA, they have parts produced in other countries, despite having enough technology …

  2. Bruce Caron says

    What component drives up the price of USA parts, or anything made in the USA LABOR UNIONS.

    I’m all for people making a fair wage but the unions in this country have driven companies off shore. Check out some of the wages and benefits some union members make. It will blow your mind.

    Before you get all jacked up check which stocks you have in your portfolio. Now check which of those companies use off shore labor. Some are even bringing in labor from India and elsewhere to replace higher cost American workers. Some American tech workers have had to train there replacements.

    Do you prefer to own stock in companies that are not profitable?

    Unless things change in the labor market companies will be forced to buy their labor elsewhere, raise prices, or go out of business.

  3. Richard Bartholomew says

    Bruce, when you add the ‘but’ to your statement it means that you don’t believe the first part of your statement and add the second half to reveal your true belief.
    You say you are in favor of a fair wage ‘but’ you aren’t.
    There is nothing wrong with our workers having unions. They give workers representation. Corporations break labor laws regularly and unless you have representation of the workers (unions) they get away with it. The problem I see with our large corporations is management not the work force. It wasn’t the unions that made the big three fail to stop foreign car makers from kicking our butts it was management and their poor judgement.

    • Bruce Caron says

      Richard -your statement “when you add the ‘but’ to your statement it means that you don’t believe the first part of your statement and add the second half to reveal your true belief.” is total b.s.

      There are exceptions to everything. I’m not saying all unions are bad. I’m saying that wage and benefit demands can get out of control. It is in the best interest of the Union “leaders” to pressure the companies to get the maximum they can for the union members. GM, and the government, totally screwed PREFERRED stock holders (look up prefererred stock holders), gave up part of the company to the Union, and took bail out money. I’m not sure if they ever paid it back. They should have gone into bankruptcy, reorganized, and come out clean, that is why the bankruptcy laws were created, but that is a discussion for a different time.

      I see people holding traffic signs, while talking on their cell phones, making $60/hour plus benefits. Pass by any municiple type construction and count the number of people standing around bull shitting and not working.

      • Richard A Bartholomew says

        I call bs on you. I wont tell you who taught me about the use of the word ‘but’ but you would know him and I’m sure you hate him too.
        The fact is the unions give workers representation and with out it they are screwed. I am glad we bailed out the automakers and I heard they did pay it back with interest. Some people are just brainwashed by big corporations to hate unions, I have seen it from both sides once as a teamster and once as management. I’ll take the union every time.

  4. Rob Krantz says

    Wallace, I agree with your assessment. Unfortunately, for not only automobiles, but for drug manufacturing as well as the masks you mention and millions of other products, production of critical supplies has been off-shored for decades. It took this pandemic for many to realize just how vulnerable the United States is regarding so many important products, whether it is parts for the new Corvette or for the drugs that so many people, including our fragile senior population, depend on and well as so many other things we need every day. Mr. Trump, not to delve into politics here necessarily, has been “Trump-eting” (sorry for the bad pun) for the repatriating of production of many things back to the U.S., along with the jobs that such production will create. It is really a very good idea as we can appreciate more now. Of course with doing so, that means that the cost of producing items back in the U.S. will likely exceed the cost of producing these items in foreign countries, even if one takes into account labor and transportation costs. If the U.S. is to source more production back to the U.S., it will be take a corporate willingness to do so with the associated cost increases (which will likely get passed on to the consumer), there will be Wall Street impacts as such will impact stock prices very likely, and for consumers to be willing to take a hit as they will see increases in prices for the items they buy and consume.

  5. wallace wyss says

    How about a tax break for companies that produce things like N95 face masks in the US so they are as cheap to order as the ones from China? We could develop a list of 100 Gold Star (or whatever name you want to call them–Trump would like Presidential Seal) products that MUST be made in the US unless a manufacturer has a damn good excuse. As for military vehicles they should be 100% made in the US It would be inexcusable if the US was in a conflict and we couldn’t field various weapons because we are waiting on parts from 8000 miles away.

    There’s a bit of cruel irony in China still offering masks. They give us the virus for free and then oh, yes, we have masks to protect against the virus….

  6. Oh dear, when corporate greed clashes with patriotic fervour. Corporates that drive real wages for workers ever lower, or simply outsource or offshore that labour, use the profits gained (or borrow billions) to buy back their own company shares (for not a single tangible benefit to the company), that then activate the contract clause for multi million executive bonuses, and you’d like them to have a moral or ethical code too? Then to boot, those same corporates set up multiple holding and shell companies to pay no tax, yet still squeal and whine to local, state and federal government for subsidies, relief and special deals which again are ultimately funded by taxpayers. I don’t care much for politics, nor trust for those in power, nor the pontificating of blowhards standing on church (or White House) steps preaching God and grace while practicing meanness, greed and selfishness. America, a great country made so much smaller for the pride and vanities or its rulers.
    “Greed is good” is not true, its just a wish. The vaccine required today, is one which attacks the greed virus and allows the Empathy bacteria to multiply and flourish.
    In reality, there’s probably only a couple of hundred thousand doses needed, as most regular Americans I’ve met have it. You know where the vaccine needs to be administered as well as I do.
    Ciao for now.

  7. Glenn Krasner says

    Believe it or not, the Corvette has more “American Content” than any other car being made here, but I believe that is described as North American Content, which includes both Canada and Mexico. The corporate masters wanted globalization and the complete offshore outsourcing of American manufacturing so that with low overseas labor costs they could generate superprofits, instead of just profits. With the current pandemic, we have hospital workers in New York City making PPE out of garbage bags and re-using protective masks meant for one-time use only, and a shortage of ventilators, because we lack the manufacturing capacity for such basic goods. Welcome to the Late, Great United States. Glenn in the Bronx, NY..

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