Mom, Apple Pie and...Toyota?

Mom, Apple Pie and...Toyota?
http://tinyurl.com/lvfda
Ford Says It's Patriotic to Buy A Mustang, but Sienna Is Made In Indiana With More U.S. Parts
By JATHON SAPSFORD and NORIHIKO SHIROUZU May 11, 2006; Page B1
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.
There's more than a little irony in this, considering Ford has launched a campaign to regain its footing with an appeal to patriotism (catchphrase: "Red, White & Bold"). "Americans really do want to buy American brands," asserted Ford Executive Vice President Mark Fields in a recent speech. "We will compete vigorously to be America's car company."
As the Mustang shows, though, it's no longer easy to define what is American. For 20 years now, the dynamic car makers of Asia -- led by Toyota, Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. -- have been pouring money into North America, investing in plants, suppliers and dealerships as well as design, testing and research centers. Their factories used to be derided as "transplants," foreign-owned plants just knocking together imported parts. Today, the Asian car makers are a fully functioning industry, big and powerful enough to challenge Detroit's claim to the heart of U.S. car manufacturing.
The result is a brewing public-relations war, with both sides wrapping themselves in the Stars and Stripes. Toyota, for example has been running commercials touting its contribution to the areas of the U.S. economy where it has built factories.
Next year, the staid Toyota Camry will undergo the ultimate rite of passage by entering the most prestigious circuits of the National Association of Stock Car Racing. Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe said his company's vast network of dealerships saw the Nascar link as a crucial marketing tactic to raise Toyota's profile in the U.S. heartland. "Our dealers told us it was really important to do this," he says.
On Thursday, the Level Field Institute, a grass-roots organization founded by U.S. Big Three retirees, is scheduled to hold a news conference in Washington. Among the points the group is expected to make is its belief that comparing relative North American component content is an ineffective way to determine who is "more American" among auto makers. A better way, says Jim Doyle who heads Level Field, is to look at the number of jobs -- from research and development to manufacturing to retailing -- each auto maker creates per car sold in the U.S.
Mr. Doyle says the institute's study shows that Toyota in 2005 employed roughly three times more U.S. workers, on a basis of per car sold in the U.S., than Hyundai Motor Co. Each of the Big Three manufacturers in the same year employed roughly three times as many U.S. workers, on a per-car-sold basis, as Toyota. "What's better for the American economy?" Mr. Doyle asks. A GM car "built in Mexico with 147,000 jobs back here in America or a Honda built in Alabama with 4,000 or 5,000 jobs in America?"
Measuring local content is extremely difficult because a part made in America can be assembled from smaller parts, some of which might come from abroad. All of which underscores how the line between what is and isn't American, at least in the auto industry, is "going to be increasingly difficult to pinpoint" as car makers become increasingly international and produce more in local markets, says Michael Robinet, a vice president at CSM Worldwide.
General Motors Corp. is importing Korean-made cars to sell under the Chevy nameplate. Japanese car makers are using American designers for cars being sold in China. Some of the high end luxury BMW "imports" on the road are made in South Carolina. "We don't look at it as an American industry," says Mr. Robinet. "It really is a global industry."
That said, the Japanese manufacturing presence in the U.S. is growing. Foreign-based auto makers in the U.S., led by the Japanese, account for 1.7% of U.S. manufacturing jobs, according to a report by the Center for Automotive Research, Ann Arbor, Mich. After $28 billion in cumulative North America investment -- and annual purchases of parts reaching $45 billion or more in recent years -- 67% of the Japanese-brand cars now sold in North America are made in North America, according to the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association.
Japanese investment in U.S. production was a response to the trade tensions of the 1990s, when tensions flared over Japan's surplus with the U.S., of which autos and auto parts were a large portion. By spreading investment across the U.S., Japan's car makers have won crucial allies among U.S. politicians. Last year, when President Bush took to the road to tout his Social Security plan, one of his first stops was a major Nissan plant in Canton, Miss., a conservative corner of the country where the phrase "buy American" no longer means what it once did.
"As the son of a union member, I'll admit that free trade is an issue with which I've struggled," says Republican Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi, who has a Nissan Titan pickup truck in his garage. But he adds: "Remember that every Nissan built in Canton also was engineered by Americans, for Americans."
What isn't clear is how Mustang fans like Fred Barkley, president of the Bluegrass Mustang Club of Lexington, Ky., would react to the news that the Mustang is only 65% American, at least by one government measure. Mr. Barkley, owner of three Mustangs, one from 1965 and two from the early 1990s, says it "doesn't bother me too much." Told the Toyota Sienna has higher North American content than the Mustang, he is unimpressed. "I wouldn't buy a Sienna," he says. "I don't like them because they are foreign." -- Life's tough. It's tougher if you're stupid
John Wayne
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Does this mean this is the end of all rednecks as we know them? Damn.......should be interesting with Toyota at NASCAR, I'll bet their not greeted well. If it be sabotage in the pits or being run off the track in the first lap, you can bet its bound to bring some kind of shit. Sooner or later ...............could I be wrong in this assumption, comments please.

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A few fans may not be happy, but NASCAR (like all sports today) is about money. Toyota has some. After some initial uproar, everyone will be happy to take money from the sponsors and Toyota.
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And like every other "FWD" car on the track it will be a RWD conversion and have a FORD 9" rear. ;)
mike hunt

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wrote:

Not to mention that with the "common body template", the basic body on all brands will be closer to the Ford than anything else.
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The V6 Mustang has a parts content label that says 65% American parts, the V8 has a 90% American parts. The slider is a part like an engine that is 95% assembled China that has the final 5%, like the pans and fuel system, assembled in Canada or Mexico gets added to the 'made in North America' parts content.
The real answer as to what is an American car can be found in the first number of the VIN. I. E. The Mustang VIN has a '1,' made in the US, the Honda Accord has a '1.' The Nissan Titan has a '1.' The ONLY Toyotas that have a '1' are those assembled in the GM/Toyota assembly plant in California, where the UAW contract requires a 70% US content. The Sienna VIN has a '4' not a '1.' The Tundra VIN has a '5' not a '1' A '1' means at least 70% of the vehicles component parts, including the steel, plastic, rubber etc are sourced in the US, not north America. On the other hand a '4' means the vehicle was only assembled in the US of fewer than 70% US component parts, but more than 40%. A '5' means assembled in the US but of less than 40% US component parts.
mike hunt

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Gee, I all along thought business was about "competition" .. . to the winner belongs the spoils?!? Where does "American" enter into this?!?

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You are correct, it is indeed competition that has GM and Ford outselling Toyota by millions of vehicles in the US every year. The reason 'made in America' comes into play is that some Japanese trans plants like Honda and Nissan actually build their vehicles in the US, unlike Toyota that tries to fool buyers into believing their vehicle are made in the US, when they are in reality only assembled in the US of "world sourced parts"' as Toyota now says in it TV and print ads.
It was Honda, not a domestic company that complained to the FCC about Toyota deceptive advertising claim of made in America, leading Toyota to add the words "of world sourced parts" to their ads.
mike hunt

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Outselling, for now, and Ford and GM are also losing share every year, while Toyota is gaining. Remember, Toyota was just a blimp no more than a few decades ago. I would want to see GM succeed, but they are late to the game!
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You are forgetting the fact that the market is ever growing. GM is selling as many if not more than it sold when it had nearly 50% of the market. In 1978 a total of 8,000,000 vehicles were sold, in 2005 it was 16,500,000. In 2004 it was 18,000,000. The biggest market growth, over the past ten years has been in light truck and SUVs, not cars. Sales of the number one car in the US, the Camry was highest in 2003. Like every other manufacture Toyota most rapid growth has been in light truck and SUVs as well. However when it comes to that segment of the market, Toyota is an also ran. The best selling vehicle in the US is the Ford F150, at a rate more than twice that of the Camry which is only number four in sales. The Chevy Silverado and the Dodge Ram are number two and three. If you have watched the market GM sales have been up, not down, over the last three months. Together GM, Ford and Chrysler sold 57% of all of the vehicles old in the US in 2005. It took the twenty some odd import brands combined to sell the remaining 43%.
mike hunt

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