The Erosion of America's Manufacturing Base

DEARBORN, Mich., Jan 11 /PRNewswire/ -- If the Detroit Three gradually disappeared, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, the Koreans, and the Chinese would eventually fill the gap. In "Factory Man," a new autobiography being published in February 2009 by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME;, author James E. Harbour says there is an even greater long-term risk. Profits from the American auto industry would largely be sent overseas, and millions of shareholders would go broke. Worse, the foreign companies would keep their major engineering operations at home.

In his book "Factory Man," Harbour says what America needs right now is a good jolt of the power of the factory. During recent Washington hearings, he viewed elected officials playing a game of liquidation roulette with the Big 3 without realizing the risk of:

    -- Europe, Japan and Korea dominating the American market.
    -- China becoming a far stronger, major competitor.
    -- Product development will take place overseas and engineering students
       at American universities may be forced to go abroad to find jobs.
    -- A majority of major capital investments, such as stamping press lines,
       body shops, and engine and transmission tools, going to foreign
    -- Foreign manufacturers expanding in southern right-to-work states.
    -- The profits of foreign manufacturers from their American operations
       will flow back to their home countries.
    -- Vehicle prices rising because of diminished competition.
    -- Little attention being paid to the real possibility that Detroit will
       recover and repay government loans.
    -- The prospect of losing Detroit's historically large support for major
       charities and foundations, along with actions such as the "Get America
       Moving" vehicle price cuts that followed the September 11, 2001 attacks
       and weren't offered by foreign competitors of GM, Ford and Chrysler.

    For entire release:

Book Purchase: To purchase a copy of Factory Man, available February, 2009, visit List price is $30.00/SME Members: $26.00, order code BK09PUB2. Orders also may be placed by calling 800.733.4763. Outside the U.S., please call 313.425-3000, ext. 4500.

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James Harbour

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