2007: The year of Toyota

2007: The year of Toyota http://www.hollandsentinel.com/stories/011307/opinion_20070113024.shtml
MY SIDE By JEFF WINCEL
It has finally arrived, the year in which Toyota is expected to overtake
General Motors as the largest auto manufacturer in the world. If this was in the wake of the oil shortages of the mid-1970s or the early 1980s there would be a cry across the country to buy American --- to save GM. But this is the 2000s and Toyota looks more like an American company than does GM. While GM has continued to shutter its plants in the United States and spend its investment dollars in "low cost" countries such as China, Toyota continues to invest in new production plants in the United States and in American suppliers.
In an effort to keep the foreign automotive onslaught at bay, the domestics OEMs (original equipment manufactures) pushed through legislation that required all new cars to be labeled with the percent of domestic (American) content, believing that consumers would want to "buy American." This content sticker requirement is now coming back to haunt GM and Ford (Chrysler is no longer a domestic, but a German company), as consumers are seeing higher U.S.-supplied parts and assembly from companies like Toyota.
According to the Center for Automotive Research, Toyota purchased $28 billion in materials, components, goods and services from U.S. companies. It either directly employed or supported the employment of 386,000 American automotive workers. Automotive industry reports indicate that Toyota is now planning another U.S. assembly operation; all this while GM continues to surrender its American presence and employment.
Welcome to the 21st century and the rise of Toyota. I wonder how long it will take before all our domestic automotive companies are simply an afterthought in the global competitive market. In one of its most recent moves, after demanding its suppliers follow them to Mexico, Ford tossed out Lear, Johnson Controls and others on one of its key interior programs in favor of a new "low cost region" supplier. So like GM, not even in the NAFTA region are the OEMs capable of demonstrating any loyalty to its "home market" and domestic suppliers.
GM simply is in an endless race for the cheapest (not just the lowest cost) components it can find. It is a race that it will never win, always suffer from, and will ultimately lose whatever customer loyalty it has left. Toyota, even after paying higher prices (maybe) for its components from American suppliers, makes a much better car or truck than GM. So when we hear the cry to "Buy American," we just may be talking about buying a Toyota.
Jeff Wincel is principal of the LSC Consulting Group in Holland and an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University's Seidman School of Business.
-- The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. T.R. April 10, 1899
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*snipping content of article*
When I see stuff like this, I'm tempted to say what Carlos Mencia says...
"Why the f*ck is this news?"
hehehe
Thanks for the info, seriously.
Natalie
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I knew GM was going to eventually be in trouble when we tried to buy a new 1973 Cheverolet and later ending up buying a 1972 Carina. We'd had a 1962 Corvair, and we noted a lot of things hadn't changed since the 1960's on GM vehicles. We could not fit our family in a Chevelle, (The 1973 Chevelles were BUTT-UGLY besides.) but could fit our family nicely in the 72 Carina. Also, my mom, who had just recently repaired the floor on our Corvair for the second time with fiberglass matting to replace the metal that was rusting out, just had to pull up the carpet and look at the Carina and was shocked at how much paint there was UNDER THE CARPET where no one sees. The difference in quality between the 73 GM products we looked at and the 72 Carina was very marked. Toyota is still ahead of GM. GM has learned next to nothing from the NUMMI plant they run together with Toyota.
And again, who's still building cars in the US? While Ford, GM and Chrysler are abandoning Made in the USA for Hecho en Mexico and worse, Toyota keeps opening new plants in the US and buying from suppliers in the US. Hmmm.
A friend once told me that GM's attitude is, when a car fails, find out what parts were still running when it fails and cheapen them up so they all start failing at about the same time, so the customer will come back and buy another one. Toyota's attitude seems to be that when a part fails premeturely, to find out why that part failed, and make it better.
Case in point: The 1993 Toyota Corollas were fitted with Delco alternators. Despite the fact they are supposed to be electrically and mechanically identical to the ND's which came on Japanese made Corollas, they tend to have 1/3 the life, so guess what the replacement part is, and guess what part started going into the American Corollas?
Charles of Schaumburg
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"n5hsr" <...

We saw a Chevelle yesterday. It had been painted a few times, and it no longer had any insignia on it. I'm betting that's not the original engine.

Hmmm, indeed

Simple, yet effective.

*sigh*
Natalie
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That sounds like an urban legend.
Nonetheless, how does Toyota manage to make cars that sell so inexpensively? In my area, Costco is offering the Corolla for $14,000.
Even Hecho en Mexico, GM offers no similar cars at that pricepoint.
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wrote:

That sounds like an urban legend.
Nonetheless, how does Toyota manage to make cars that sell so inexpensively? In my area, Costco is offering the Corolla for $14,000.
Even Hecho en Mexico, GM offers no similar cars at that pricepoint.
Bill Tuthill
Perhaps Toyota was willing to take a cut in profits in order to build a sales base?
If it were some sort of trick, don't you think we would have discovered the flaw in craftsmanship by now? As we have with say, GM cars?
Natalie
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One reason may be the way we pay the upper management . I don't know about GM, but Ford just gave a poor CEO around 20 million to leave and Home Depot gave theirs over 120 million. Also they make many times more than what the average worker makes. Not sure about now, but in Japan the CEO did not use to make nearly that many times what the workers made.
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"Ralph Mowery" ...

Hmmm that makes sense, but we may never know. Here, we can get ahold of CEO tax returns. I don't think they have access to that much info on Japanese execs, but perhaps they do.
Natalie
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<article snipped>
I grew up as a GM guy. My last 6 new car purchases were 85 Nissan truck, 86 Chevy Nova (really a Corolla), 90 Nissan Axxess, 98 Sienna, 02 Jeep TJ and now the 07 Prius. I have a hard time now considering GM to be a quality product worthy of my cash. I want it to actually last a long while, as I run my vehicles forever and do not trade them in, and handle to my standards. The Jeep - well that's a Jeep thing. The most credible line of vehicles is Toyota today as I see it. This as I see it is exactly GM's problem. I have rented many GM cars; I would not buy them today. Tomes
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Tomes respectfully adds...

Tomes, I have too!
I have been driving for 19 years and have owned only GM automobiles.
Loyalty to a brand - not exactly.
I have been with Chevy, Oldsmobile & Saturn and so my GM loyalty has gone as far as it could go.
Having said that, my 1997 Saturn has been good for me for the past 10 years of reliable service.
Very few issues over the past decade and the Saturn was my first NEW car where I could claim original miles on the odometer.
But just look at Consumer Reports today and see where Saturn is now.
It makes me sad to see such an organization that produced such a high quality auto turn out such cheaply built cars today.
It just makes me sad to know that GM cares not about quality, but about profit.
The reports of the interior of the latest Saturn Vue feeling cheaply made just makes me embarassed of the name - Saturn - which once stood for quality.
I am; as you have seen with my recent postings; nervous about purchasing my first non-GM auto.
But before I go on and on about the issues with GM, let's discuss about some positives here.
I understand that certain autos in the Saturn lineup actually use Honda engines.
While this certainly is good news - it makes GM look like they are throwing in the towel by admitting that they can't build a reliable product without the help of the competition.

It is a very sad day for me - to admit that I agree that GM has lost the confidence of their loyal customers.
I am most likely going to purchase a Toyota brand and with the confidence of all the wonderful people in here.
I thank you all, now let's keep this wonderful dialog going - this is very informative! _________ ===fish==
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<good stuff snipped>

This is where I am now and I am quite comfortable here. Tomes
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Tomes suggests to fish...

Tell me Tomes, how is the service department?
For me, the Saturn service is amongst the best service experience I have ever had.
They are friendly, informative, accurate and very quick with getting the job done in impressive timing.
Plus they offer a free car wash with every service.
I like the service department at my local Toyota dealer. It looks very clean and professional. I have ask someone who has the practical experience. _________ ===fish==
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I have visited around 70 or 80 different service departments. All of them serviced Toyotas, some of them serviced other brands as well. There are many service departments with the attributes you described above, but unfortunately, there are almost as many that IMO, do not have all of those attributes. One of the attributes that you did not mention is technical competence, and most dealers are technically competent. If there is a weak link in Toyota's system, it is the friendly and informative part. My advice would be to get recommendations from people you know.
--

Ray O
(correct punctuation to reply)
  Click to see the full signature.
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"Ray O" <rokigawaATtristarassociatesDOTcom> wrote in message

My sister went to a dealer south of the Chicago area that's not known for really selling Toyotas. She's looking for a new one or a 'gently used' one, i.e. 1 or 2 years old. Some years back this dealer was trying to sell 2 and 3 year old Toyotas that hadn't been driven for sticker!, no adjustment for sitting on the lot. She was talking to the salesman and he was giving her the 'dumb blonde' talk down to attitude and she gave him an education in Toyotas, which he apparently had no real passion for or knowledge of. This particular dealer has become a two word joke among area Toyota dealers. I know a lot of people in the county he's in and most of the people that own Toyotas have either come up to a dealer in Chicago that will offer a better price or better deal or they go to Champaign or points south for the same reason. Most Toyota buyers seem to also be savvy when it comes to looking for a good price. Despite the fact I can drive less than 20 miles and get a much better deal, he refuses to bargain or deal. How he moves Toyotas is to trade them with other dealers. You will see very few Toyotas with his sticker on them around that area.
Charles of Schaumburg
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fish wrote:

All of this depends on the individual dealers, not the manufacturer. Every manufacturer has good and bad dealers.
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Well, here is where I have but little input, Fish. I bought my Sienna an hour and a half away because they had what I wanted and I got a very good deal in 1998. Therefore, I have been using a local shop hence. I intend to try out our local dealer where I bought the Prius, as they gave me a book where every other service is free and it all adds up to a 'normal' price or thereabouts. Worth a shot.
I do agree with the other posters on this in that each dealer's shop will be different and you will need to research out your own particular shop with folks that actually use it. Maybe do some exit polling or something, unless you know someone who goes there. Tomes
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fish wrote:

Saturns have always been cheaply built. You have been extremely lucky with yours.
My folks owned mostly GM cars for the longest time. They now drive a 2004 Toyota Corolla and they say it is the best and most reliable car they've ever owned.
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It seems you sure like your Toyotas, but your opinion is the opinion of a minority. More American still prefer what GM has to offer over Toyota, by far, GM sold 4.5 million in 2006 and Toyota sold 2 million less. Ford sold more than Toyota as well in 2006, at 3 million. Chrysler sold nearly as many at 2.4 million. Nearly 10 million Americans bought domestics in 2006, only 2.5 million bought Toyotas ;)
mike

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Well, I guess *someone* has to defend GM.
Honestly, I feel very sorry for GM's workers, but they were duped just like everyone else. In some of those towns, GM was a major, if not *the* major employer. All those folks are being screwed by the fat cats who mismanaged their future. It's not fair.
Wouldn't it be a kick if Toyota and other really good car companies ended up hiring those folks to build the cars here? Then all the "America First" fanatics couldn't squawk about the plight of American auto workers being cheated out of jobs.
I said then, and I'll say now, if I have to choose between losing my job because of my shitty domestic car and keeping the guy in Detroit employed, I'll choose me every time.
But I don't want those folks to suffer, either.
Natalie
*snipping rest*
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