Despite fears for the auto industry towards the end of March, sales figures are ramping up again. This is good news for the whole economy: even with its strong competition, the auto industry is the US’s biggest manufacturing industry, employing approximately 1.5 million people across all sectors. As such, car manufacturing has been given a significant amount of attention in Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ plan, and it comes as no surprise that electric vehicle (EV) production is at the forefront of the vision.
Federal Spending At The Heart Of The Plan
Biden plans to create 1 million new jobs in the industry, boosting car manufacturers and the businesses that supply them. He promises new tax incentives and government purchases to make this possible. This is likely to involve specialist equipment like vehicle lifts, compressors and automotive borescopes (www.spiborescopes.com), necessary throughout all stages of vehicle assembly to ensure safety and efficiency. Funding the industry is essential if Biden’s vision is to come to fruition, as the industry cannot afford to meet demand without it.
Biden’s economic strategy is known to focus on federal spending, and this is reflected in the plan. He has pledged to ‘use all the levers of the federal government’ to help move the auto industry towards a bright future with electric vehicles at the forefront – a market currently cornered by China. Last year’s estimates suggested 47 percent of electric vehicles to be in use in China, with only 20 percent in the USA.
Biden’s plan is to upgrade 3 million regular government vehicles (e.g. police cars and buses) to make them electric. The plan also aims to increase supply and demand by incentivizing factories to increase their capacity and encouraging higher consumer purchase. Further jobs would be created through the building of 500,000 EV charging stations and EV technology research.
Biden expects car manufacturers to ‘step up’ in response to the plan, and the United Auto Workers Union has offered its support, describing the plan as a ‘win-win’ for the car manufacturing industry and those who work in it. The union endorsed Biden in April, and is expected to remain on side. The Trump campaign, however, has responded to the plan scathingly, indicating that union jobs in natural gas, oil and fracking will come under threat under a Biden administration.
Nonetheless, Biden’s focus on the auto industry is likely to go in his favor in the swing states, where most workers from the industry live. At a time when workers across industries face instability and fears of job loss, the promise of new, well-paying jobs is likely to be a deal-breaker.
There’s no doubt that the future of the auto industry lies in EV manufacturing. Should a Biden administration come into power and deliver its promises, this could put the US in a competitive position in the industry, as well as shifting the focus to cleaner energy.