ABC Takes a Swipe at American Auto Industry

ABC Takes a Swipe at American Auto Industry
Gibson continues media focus on declining Big Three automakers, despite other companies new factories.

By Ken Shepherd
Business & Media Institute
June 2, 2006

     Newly-installed World News Tonight anchor Charles Gibson painted the American auto industry in dire straits on the June 1 broadcast, continuing his networks habit of ignoring where the industry is growing: outside of Detroits Big Three.

     There was more bad news for the American auto industry today. General Motors (NYSE: GM) and Chrysler (NYSE: DCX) posted double digit declines in sales for May, while Ford (NYSE: F) lost 2 percent, Gibson reported, blaming high fuel prices and increasing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.

     While Gibson added that Toyota (NYSE: TM) and Honda (NYSE: HMC) saw increases of 17 and 16 percent respectively, he left out just how American those Japanese companies are, expanding jobs and capital investment in production facilities throughout the United States.

     Honda announced plans for its sixth North American car assembly factory last month and Toyota will open a plant in Texas this year, Bloomberg News reported on June 2.

     The Associated Press reported on May 28 that Hondas new 1,500-job plant slated for the Midwest is just one part of a $1.18 billion global expansion, and should boost North American production capacity from 1.4 million to 1.6 million vehicles a year.

     Aside from direct employment in the new plant, Hondas suppliers in Ohio are expected to see gains in business from increased domestic production. The supplier jobs that's huge, the AP quoted Erich Merkle, an analyst with automotive research firm IRN, Inc. You're going to have to see Honda's supplier base expand to keep up with demand, he added.

     As for Toyota, recently noted that 20 years after opening its first wholly owned U.S. facility in Kentucky, the Japanese automaker now directly employs 38,000 workers in North America with a total of $16.8 billion invested in everything from sales and manufacturing to financial services and design.

     Aside from the jobs foreign automakers produce within the United States, millions of investors benefit from holding stock in these companies another angle which ABC has left out of its stories.

     Pessimistic reporting on the U.S. auto industry is nothing new for ABC News. In March, the Business & Media Institute documented how the network portrayed Detroits problems as a pox on the entire U.S. auto industry, and how it found a downside to the plan by Kia Motors to open a plant in West Point, Ga.