TodayApril 15, 2022

Abortion, automobiles, and Alabama

Shortly after the female Republican Governor of Alabama endorsed HB 314, a law that would ban all abortions statewide, even in case of rape or incest, the calls for boycotting Alabama in all forms started. Kay I’vey signed into law the “Human Life Protection Act” a bill that is intended to be a “vehicle” to get the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade based on personhood.

The personhood that is being referred to is the unborn baby, not the mother who has been raped or the Mother that has found out that she and her husband both carry a gene that will cause the baby to live a week to a year. In fact, the woman would be punished if she had an abortion.

The nicer facebook and twitter posts call Alabama draconian. The people that are on social media that are against the ban want economic pressure put on the state by not buying products produced there.

Automotive manufacturing is big in the Yellowhammer State, deep in the heart of Dixie, Alabama is the fifth largest producer of cars and light trucks nationally. The almost 20,000 high-paying factory jobs are an essential part of the state’s economy. They are part of the equation that has increased the GDP of Alabama 50 billion dollars annually (from $137B to $181B) from the first year in 1997 that Mercedes-Benz started production, to today.

increased the GDP of Alabama 50 billion dollars annually (from $137B to $181B)

increased the GDP of Alabama 50 billion dollars annually (from $137B to $181B)

There are calls to pressure lawmakers by taking these cars off your shopping list. The theory is that the companies will act in their economic interests when sales start to fall.

I don’t blame the car companies for not saying anything either way. I understand that they feel it is a no-win situation. But in today’s society, if you don’t say anything against this law, you are for it with the implication that you are against women being equal and trusting women to make decisions.

All of these companies are foreign-owned, and each company has been strategic in its business operations. Stories have been written about each company building in the deep South, in a state that needed the help the most. The Bible Belt is proving to be a challenge.

There is a trifecta happening. These car companies are trying to stay competitive at the same time they are quietly navigating international trade war tariffs, President Trump, and his tweets. And Alabama.

Consumer Activism brought Roe v Wade to the forefront in the 70s. Consumer Activism has gotten smarter; they know to follow the money, to hit the big corporations, and the stockholders.

The Battle lines are being drawn.

The Car companies that are producing in Alabama:

Mercedes has been in Alabama since 1997

Twenty years ago, the Mercedes M-Class rolled off the production line in Vance, Alabama. Four thousand employees have created the Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class, GLS-Class, and C-Class.

Honda has been in Alabama since 2001

Lincoln, Alabama employs 4,000 people producing the Honda Ridgeline, Odyssey, Passport, and Pilot.

Hyundai has been in Alabama since 2002

Over 3,000 people produce the Hyundai Sonata, Elantra, and engines for almost all Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis products in Montgomery, Alabama.

Toyota has been in Alabama since 2001

Toyota USA employs over 1,100 employees to build engines for the Tacoma, Highlander, Tundra, and Sequoia in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2018 Toyota-Mazda selected Alabama for a $1.6 billion auto plant with 4,000 jobs. Production is expected to begin by 2021.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

One Comment

  1. e Reply

    thank you, Lou Ann, for having the courage to write this article.

    if the calamitous political events around the globe in the last 20 years have taught us anything, it’s that reversion to medieval social policy is rather quickly followed by reversion to a medieval economy.

    surely, the state of Alabama can choose to follow that path. one wonders, however, if that’s really what brands like M-B signed up for. and if they’ll tacitly endorse such retrograde policy by remaining there.

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