Sunday, July 05, 2009

Toyota Is The Most American Car Company


The Toyota Camry is more American than the Ford F-150, at least according to Cars.com's annual American-Made Index. The findings further muddy the Buy American debate that rages across the country. Toyota Motor Corp. also is the most American car company, according to the rankings of the index in terms of U.S. content in its cars and trucks.

~Today's Detroit News (HT: Lee Coppock)


Do those signs above mean that the "most American car" in the U.S. would be towed?

17 Comments:

At 7/05/2009 9:41 AM, Blogger marketdoc said...

The other day, while driving, I saw a Hoffa bumper sticker on a Toyota Tundra. The sticker said something like, "Restore the Pride." My, how times have changed...

 
At 7/05/2009 2:54 PM, Blogger Bloggin' Brewskie said...

This is always an interesting thing to point out. You see, I like supporting American workers if I can; in fact, I was giving strong consideration of buying the upcoming Ford Fiesta, until I learned it was going to be built in Mexico. Giving that some thought, it seems fair for now to stick with Honda's reliable reputation, and continue buying their American-built vehicles.

 
At 7/05/2009 2:56 PM, Blogger Robert Miller said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7/05/2009 4:11 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...

Toyotas are not American, no matter if you buy a survey that puts them in there.

They are Japanese designs with Japanese and other non-US parts, with Americans putting the jigsaw puzzle together. I believe that's a couple steps up from CKD.


As I told one guy, if you want more profits to stay here, then buy stock in Honda and Toyota.

Thanks to multiple classes of stock, it wont mean anything for using it to make their designs any bit American. You might as well put it in a international mutual fund, since that's about as much control as they'll give.


In reply to the article
Yes, those Japanese cars with no American heritage beyond assembly would be towed.


Quoting a reply to the article:
----
Geneva, you are wrong. Moving a plant to where ever has to do with the bottom line, money. They pay a worker around 4 to 5 dollars an hour in Mexico where that is a lot of money. Also companies do not have the government (EPA) breathing down their necks. They can pour out all the smog they want, dump chemicals anywhere, without permits, abuse their workers without reprimand (Mexican police/army does that chore).


Japan does the same thing, with imported Chinese immigrant workers with questionable citizenship status - in their own nation.

It's one more reason I'm glad I bought something that was American straight from the drawing board and company up to the parts with no "foreign transplant" brand content.

 
At 7/05/2009 6:55 PM, Blogger Paul said...

The only non-Japanese vehicle I've ever owned was a '95 GMC Sonoma that started breaking the moment the warranty ran out. Never again, and especially not on a Barackmobile. I'd rather spend my money on productive assets than twiddle my thumbs at the mechanic's waiting room and write checks ultimately to Obama's UAW buddies.

 
At 7/05/2009 7:14 PM, Blogger 1 said...

"They are Japanese designs with Japanese and other non-US parts, with Americans putting the jigsaw puzzle together. I believe that's a couple steps up from CKD"...

You of course have something credible to back up this statement right sethstorm?

Hmmm, what's Toyota have to say?

Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. (TEMA)

TEMA is responsible for Toyota’s engineering design, development, R&D, and manufacturing activities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.* TEMA was created in April 2006 following the consolidation of Toyota Technical Center and Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America. TEMA operates 14 parts and vehicle manufacturing plants across North America.

Established:
2006

Current Investment:
$649.2 million

Employment:
3,054

Address:
Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.
25 Atlantic Avenue
Erlanger, KY 41018

Hmmm, who to believe?

Toyota that makes good vehicles or sethstorm who makes baseless statements?

That's a toughie all right...

 
At 7/05/2009 8:01 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Why design a research methodolgy that eliminates car models made this year just because they will be eliminated in the future unless the study is biased?

If you want to count them, count them all just as sales and other data are commonly counted. Sounds like too many jokers in the deck to me.

 
At 7/05/2009 9:42 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


Hmmm, what's Toyota have to say?

Somebody has to translate those manuals, come up with the name, design the "American Edition" badges, figure out how to put the steering wheel on the left side, and find out if they need to add a turbo or bump up the bling.

That, and how they integrate parts from slave labor countries like China, Burma, and other wonderful Third World countries and call it US content.

That's about how much R&D I'd believe they'd do for the large part. Other than that, they just Xerox off tons of cars with underpowered engines that aren't much younger than the GM 3800 series in its entirety.

 
At 7/06/2009 2:03 AM, Blogger Robert Miller said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7/06/2009 9:31 AM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

The U.S. automobile industry still faces the legacy of non-tariff barriers in Japan for U.S. produced cars and trucks. The Chinese have copied and refined the Japanese playbook because it was so fabulously successful.

The non-tarrif barriers of course cross over to other high-value industries where the U.S. has competitive advantages. I have wondered for 25 years why the Japanese have been able to get away with their protection schemes and can't think of an answer. I thought it was for security reasons but now the Chinese emulate so security considerations for the U.S. are not the answer for willful neglect.

 
At 7/06/2009 10:00 AM, Blogger 1 said...

"The world has a lot of talented people and people who are willing and able to supply quality labor at wages they consider fair and you consider slavery. They would tell you to %#&$ yourself. They don't need your pity nor do they need your phony concern for their welfare as an excuse for your protectionist intentions"...

Ditto that well said and very illuminating comment!

 
At 7/06/2009 10:24 AM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

"The world has a lot of talented people and people who are willing and able to supply quality labor at wages they consider fair and you consider slavery. They would tell you to %#&$ yourself. They don't need your pity nor do they need your phony concern for their welfare as an excuse for your protectionist intentions"...

When you don't give people the ability to buy foreign products because domestic export producers are protected then you enslaving people. The average worker is limited to working in government controlled factories that benefit government elites and their cronies. The recent stimulous packages in China have given have futher consolidated economic power into fewer hands.

I know that comments can be made about ouir government motors but comparisons stop there between China and the U.S.

 
At 7/06/2009 11:31 AM, Blogger QT said...

Guys,

Don't we also consider that only 10% of the U.S. workforce is even engaged in manufacturing thanks to technological innovations that allow machines to do jobs that once endangered workers.

How is it that the U.S. has one of the highest living standards in the world if the zero sum scenario that Sethstorm outlines is true? Maybe the other 90% have figured out that economics, engineering, law, computer programming, insurance, finance, real estate, politics, teaching, pharmaceuticals, health care, etc. are remunerative, safe ways to make a living.

The rest of us don't just flip hamburgers, seth.

 
At 7/06/2009 1:36 PM, Blogger Robert Miller said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 7/06/2009 7:51 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


When you don't give people the ability to buy domestic products because foreign import producers are protected then you enslaving people.

Change a couple of words, you still have a valid point.


If you want to buy a Ford because ol Henry did it here first, then knock yourself out.

That's increasingly becoming an impossibility. Soon, the only way you'll get anything more than a Asian or Mexican built something that "'ol Henry" would immediately disown(or consider it a trinket from the Orient).

And if you're wondering about my heritage, it's scattered along Central/Western Europe (no Italy, Portugal, Spain, or Eastern Expansion countries).


But workers in oil fields in Saudi Arabia and garment factories in Asia consider themselves highly paid compared to their neighbors. They don't consider themselves slaves, so why do you?

Five questions to that:
* If it is virtuous for our nation, why do they have to hide the activity upon inspection?
* If it is virtuous for our nation, why do critics in their country turn up marginalized, imprisoned, beaten, or dead?
* If it is virtuous for our nation, why do critics in our countries get increasingly hostile treatment by hired-gun law firms?
* If it is virtuous for our nation, why do we enact wars of attrition against our own citizens who object to it?
* If it is virtuous for our nation, why do we (with the full understanding of their culture) accept what they say despite our non-acceptance of what they do?

Whether it is imprisoned foreigners in Dubai, dodgy Poles in the UK, illegal immigrants in the US, or Chinese who were one point off on the test and one CPC membership short, those questions are valid.


How is it that the U.S. has one of the highest living standards in the world if the zero sum scenario that Sethstorm outlines is true?

Near-zero sum. That is, creating at a theoretical gain, but an actual loss for the parties involved.

For the record, I do IT, not burger flipping. It just happens that the jobs that give experience that is asked these days are being removed by offshoring. That I see as a problem not solved by adding more foreign work.

It can be solved by requiring the use of partial-qualification candidates that are US citizens(before even thinking of H1-b), and to disregard degrees for fields that are largely trades.

I also see it as a failure to uphold the "enemies foreign and domestic" part of an oath taken in some forms of government service.

That is why I favor Ford and GM and not transplants like Toyota. They make products with more performance per dollar than foreign brands.


We could really use more of the entrepreneurial spirit which made us wealthy in the past

Regain the trust of the Manufacturing Belt. They are looking for what has been taken away and replaced with some job they seem to never be able to get. That is a demonstration of the concept of near-zero sum. People are looking for some stability in a job, not career based Russian Roulette on a daily basis.

 
At 7/06/2009 11:03 PM, Anonymous Jim Egnor said...

I always enjoy the quite eloquent and usually polite differings of agreement on this particular blog.
I can't say I have agreed with everything that sethstorm writes but in this case I have to agree upon some merits behind Ford...particularly the Focus model.

While on AT (Army Reserve annual training) a few years ago in Hawai'i, I was hit head on by a drunk, uninsured local who plowed his larger Acura Legend into my Focus sedan. He was going maybe 45 and I roughly the same. His entire front end was totalled with a shattered windshield and he, surprisingly without a seatbelt, sustained some significant damage himself. I on the otherhand, sustained minimal front end damage and did end up cracking my sternum due in part to the safety harness slamming me in place. Apart from this injury which healed in 3 weeks, no other damage. Zip. Nada.

The police and tow truck driver who were on the scene mentioned that I was lucky to have the car I had. Seems that Volvo designed the system that saved me from serious injury and the guys I spoke to said they've seen the Focus take incredible hits without much damage to the occupants.

What's the point? I drive a Focus now. Traded in my beat up Honda which did have 230,000 miles on it for a newer car. I chose Ford given the experience in Hawai'i.

Does this mean that I choose US over foreign ownership? To a point perhaps but given the damage I saw on that particular Acura that day, I wouldn't choose that particular car for safety. On the other hand, if Ford had not chosen Volvo technology and maintained standard US-engineered safety equipment, what would happened then on that afternoon?

Lots of questions and postulates.

At this stage in my life, while I could easily afford higher end models, my Ford is suiting me just fine.

 
At 7/08/2009 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I went to look at a Pontiac the other day. I've never owned anything other than a GM in my life and I've owned mostly Pontiacs. The price was insane, but the real kicker was when the salesmen started bragging about the engine being made by Toyota. I just showed him the confusion on my face and walked out. We (especially those of us in Michigan) are so fierce in our loyalty to American made cars and they aren't even American made. To really put salt in the wound, that was what he was proud of!

 

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