Buy an American car! Buy a… Toyota?

Sad, but true:

Few sports cars have captured the nation’s imagination like the sleek Ford Mustang, a 21st-century reincarnation of an American classic. The Toyota Sienna minivan, by contrast, speaks to the utilitarian aesthetics of Japan: refined interiors, arm rests and lots and lots of cup holders.

Yet, by a crucial measure, the Sienna is far more American than the Mustang. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that were publicized in “Auto Industry Update: 2006,” a presentation by Farmington Hills, Mich., research company CSM Worldwide, show only 65% of the content of a Ford Mustang comes from the U.S. or Canada. Ford Motor Co. buys the rest of the Mustang’s parts abroad. By contrast, the Sienna, sold by Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp., is assembled in Indiana with 90% local components.

I think I smell a potential new Toyota ad slogan here: Toyota. More American than Ford.

OK, so it’s not all that catchy.

12 thoughts on “Buy an American car! Buy a… Toyota?

  1. Heh.  Makes me feel better, a bit, for owning a Sienna.

    That said, there’s a huge number of foreign automakers who have plants (manufacturing and/or assembly) plants in the US.  And lots of US automakers who farm out their manufacturing and/or assembly to foreign plants.

    Of course, the profits from Toyota flow to Japan, not the US.  But as far as that goes, lots of US institutional funds have investments in those companies, too, if they’re making money and performing well.  So that money flows back to us …

    It’s a global economy, man.

  2. Toyotas have seemed like American vehicles to me for awhile now.  I got a new Camry in 1992 that was made in Kentucky.  One has to make a special effort to get a car made in Japan, at least according to my local Toyota dealer.  It also depends upon what you think of as a Japanese car.  I think of one as being made in Japan, more than whether or not the parts are made there.

  3. While I would love for the American auto industry to make the best cars in the world, it just isn’t so.  Being regrettably poor, I bought the best car I could after my previous car was totaled in a collision, namely a ‘93 Toyota Tercel.  It’s got 166k on it now, passes emissions tests with no difficulty and gets about 25-32 mpg.  The only bad parts are the cheap seat upholstery is torn and the clearcoat has peeled off in big chunks.  Last summer I had a temp job that had me drive from Atlanta to Nashville, Memphis, Kansas City, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and all through New York state and City, as well as Long Island and northern New Jersey.  The only repairs I needed were a CV joint and an oxygen sensor.

    I doubt that there are many 13 year old American cars that have aged as well as the Tercels have.  I see lots of Tercels and other Japanese cars on the road still, but very few Escorts, Tempos, original Saturns, etc.

  4. It’s a global economy, man.

    Sad, but true:

    Don’t think it all that sad. America is a mid-level salary nation (I’d like to say high-level, but that doesn’t generally apply anymore), right? So if companies stay there or actually expand their production there (or in any similar / western country), that means that apparently not ALL of the worlds manufacturing HAS to go to China or India (or tommorrow’s China and India, once the wages get too high there).

    You know, one of the more hopeful scenarios is that some day capitalism might go through one of its better phases again, but globally? Not through the altruism of CEOs, but capitalism has been tamed before, especially in the mid and later stages of a (long-term) economic cycle. Meaning that workers actually got rights AND jobs both, and that wealth was spread wider than it is now, when we are driving forward to ever stronger concentration.

    There might be something to it that eventually (probbably not in our lifetime) you could stabilize capitalism worldwide for a time (not forever though, all balancing acts fail eventually, the china drops and breaks, and then you start over – but thats history for you).

    Okay, semi-coherent economic rant over.

  5. Fred Barkley, president of the Bluegrass Mustang Club of Lexington, Ky. (owner of 3 Mustangs), … says “I wouldn’t buy a Sienna … I don’t like them because they are foreign.”

    I thought he was gonna come up with something intelligent and less xenophobic. raspberry
    About 30 years ago a bloke I know said he’d never buy a Japanese car.
    Five years ago he bought one. I didn’t say a thing. LOL

  6. I’ve been banging on this drum for years now. Since I grew up in the home of a life long GM employee who was also a union member I was encouraged to always buy an American car (preferrably GM of course) and support the unions. I have always done both.

    Since GM is more foreign than American, both in parts and labor, they no longer qualify as an American car company in my mind. I support the American worker because I am one, this has nothing to do with any kind of moronic nationalist zeal.

  7. FYI, Ford builds piles of crap. Just thought I’d let you know. What are you going to do when GM becomes General Mopar?

    The only two fords I would ever consider buying are an 86 Mustang SVO and an Australian Falcon FG G6E Turbo.

  8. That’s a very clever bit of spam there, Eirk. Too bad I’m going to delete it and make Moloch sound like he’s talking to himself again.

  9. Well, in that case…

    Erik Chase: I still can’t see helping out a foreign car company. Ford has always employed more workers than Toyota, even though most of them are outside the USA compared to Toyota. I can’t see buying there product and taking away jobs from Americans since this American doesn’t know the difference between there/their. Plus, I don’t think they are unionized and have very good paying wadges. I’m sticking with GM and Ford no matter what. But, the article is very interesting and I never knew that about that car since I’m an uneducated redneck.

  10. toyota is a japenese company, and i cannot denigrate the sacrifices american servicemen made in ww2 to keep this country free. i would ride a donkey before i would give one dollar towards buying a japanese vehicle…………..learn how they have conducted business in this country by googling…… japanese lawsuits: forklifts, outboard motors, pianos, tvs, auotmobiles and you will learn a bit about the japanese business character……..

  11. Do you apply the same logic to your consumer electronics? That must make shopping for computers, DVD players, TVs, and other popular electronics difficult.

    What about German products? Do you boycott those as well for the same reason?

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