automotive manufacturing

President Donald Trump is Japan this week and told Japanese business leaders they should make more cars in the U.S., and import less. He also thanked companies that already do business in America, including ones with a huge footprint in Indiana.

Indiana reportedly won’t be the location of a new Toyota-Mazda plant slated for construction in the U.S. in the next few years.

The South Bend Tribune reports economic development officials in St. Joseph County announced this week that Indiana had been dropped from consideration.

Indiana economic development officials are in Japan this week to bolster relationships with the Hoosier State’s top source of foreign investment.

The Asian nation backs more business in Indiana than in any other state – especially in the automotive sector, at Honda, Toyota, Subaru and their suppliers.

And that investment isn’t just about jobs. Those big Japanese-owned factories are also huge energy consumers. That’s why Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Japan trip includes power company executives, such as Harold Gutzwiller of Hoosier Energy in Bloomington.

The first Impreza rolled off the line at Subaru’s only North American factory, in Lafayette, on Tuesday.

The car-maker hired 1,400 people, for a total staff of 5,500, and invested $1.3 billion to start producing the new model.

Subaru’s Lafayette capacity has grown 55 percent in the past two years, to nearly 400,000 vehicles a year.

They’re all made with parts from 28 Indiana suppliers, and steel from Northwest Indiana, says executive vice president Tom Easterday.