Asian Auto Makers Point to Job Creation


Hoping to bolster its contention that its U.S. operations benefit the California economy, an organization of seven Asian auto makers will release a study today saying its members directly and indirectly accounted for 100,000 jobs in the state in 1995.

The study, conducted by UCLA's Business Forecasting Project for the California Automotive Industry Alliance, also found that the jobs generated $4.4 billion in personal income in the state last year.

The alliance was formed last month to promote the economic contributions of its member companies--Japanese and Korean auto makers with U.S. subsidiaries based in Southern California. Its members include the domestic sales and marketing units of Honda, Nissan and Toyota in Torrance and Mazda, Kia, Mitsubishi and Suzuki in Orange County. These companies said they collectively imported 453,000 vehicles in 1995.

The job figures include administrative, sales and marketing personnel at the auto makers' California headquarters, some dealership jobs, and manufacturing employment at a plant co-owned by General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. in Fremont. The GM-Toyota plant is the only remaining auto manufacturing facility in California, as companies have shifted production to states with lower taxes and other costs.

The job total also includes employment generated in service industries resulting from the presence of the foreign auto makers.

Larry Kimbell, director of the UCLA forecasting group, called the auto industry jobs "a boon to the new California economy and a perfect example of the type of job for which California needs to compete."

The findings provide further evidence, Kimbell said, that California's move toward a service-based economy--and away from manufacturing--is not necessarily negative.

The study found that the average annual wage paid to the auto makers' employees in California was $57,400 in 1995, second only to the legal profession's average salary of $60,140.

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