Detroit Looks to Pump Up Exports

US automakers say cheap dollar, low-cost labor puts them in driver's seat
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Apr 8, 2008 12:47 PM CDT
Jason Beeman works on the assembly line at the General Motors Powertrain Warren transmission plant in Warren, Mich.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, file)
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(Newser) – The dollar’s declining value, lower labor costs, and other terms of new UAW deals have US automakers looking overseas as they attempt to reclaim market share and profitability, reports the Wall Street Journal. About half of US vehicle exports in 2007, which totaled $50.66 billion, went to Canada and Mexico, and automakers now are looking to emerging markets in China and Latin America. The weak dollar "improves export competitiveness and potential profitability," says GM's president.

Beefed-up exports could help shore up struggling domestic operations even as foreign carmakers explore exporting some manufacturing to the US. GM hopes to sell 25,000 Buick SUVs in China annually; like Ford, it has Brazil and Latin America in its sights. Chrysler is targeting Europe. The exchange rate and labor agreements more favorable to the manufacturers "make the US a low-cost country," says a consultant.