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A Toyota Congress

I watched some of the Toyota hearings and was a bit embarrassed by how rude the people asking the questions were. They went from one question to the next, too busy to wait for an answer without interrupting. They grilled Mr Toyoda as to why more wasn’t done with the first complaint. Do your congressmen respond to every constituent’s complaint immediately? Can any manufacturer troubleshoot a technical issue based on one failure?

Disclaimer – I own a Toyota and had my car serviced for the recall. My car was made in a US based factory, as compared to my last car, a Ford Taurus which was made in a Canadian Factory. Yet, my Toyota is called a “Foreign” car.

Joe

  • Brian February 27, 2010, 8:23 am

    I believe the civility on both sides of the aisle is in the gutter right now and it’s a damn shame too.

    As for Toyota, they’ll bounce back.

  • Augustine February 27, 2010, 12:23 pm

    Joe,

    All this brouhaha has irked me quite a bit, even before Congress got involved. Call me a paranoid, but the blowing of this out of proportion is rather suspicious since the government got vested interests in the automotive industry.

    In spite of the title of this article, one realizes that most congressmen in the hearings have ties with Detroit: http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2010/02/23/general-specialized-consumer-services-toyota-recall-lawmakers_7380634.html

    Disclaimer: of my 3 cars, only one is not of an domestic brand, and it was purchased late last year after a string of 5 domestic cars.

  • Bucksome Boomer February 27, 2010, 12:56 pm

    Joe, I like the cartoons you find every week.

    If the way Congress behaves is embarassing to Americans (which I believe it is for the most part), can you imagine how we looked to the Japanese people?

  • Investor Junkie February 27, 2010, 6:52 pm

    Joe,

    Read my latest blog post. As I discuss in detail the risks of owning a Toyota and having this sudden acceleration.

    http://investorjunkie.com/is-owning-a-toyota-risky

    To summarize the chances of it happening are VERY slim.

  • Money Beagle March 11, 2010, 11:14 am

    If the profits from your car go back to another country, then yes, you drive a foreign car.

  • JOE March 11, 2010, 11:43 am

    Fair enough. So just to be clear, the Ford car built in Canada is an American (I mean USian, Canadians don’t use the term America to refer to themselves anyway) car, but a Toyota branded car built in the US is foreign, right?
    You are aware, the Toyota is included in the US GDP data, the Canada built Ford is not, it’s an import.

  • Augustine March 11, 2010, 3:46 pm

    So, when profits are sent to another country, the company is foreign. How about when GM send billions abroad to restructure its German operations when it hasn’t even posted a profit in years?

    I’d much rather support a company which sends profits abroad than a company that keeps losses at home.

    Disclaimer: of my 3 cars, one is of a foreign brand, but the only one made abroad, in Mexico, is a Ford.

  • Money Beagle March 12, 2010, 7:00 am

    If you guys want to use semantics to trick yourselves into believing that the Japanese companies are as American as Ford and GM, go right ahead. Bottom line, even if the GDP includes the Toyota, what it doesn’t include is the GDP from the multiplier effect of the profits that come through there. If a car company makes a profit of $5,000 on a car, they spend it, the person/company that they spend it will turn around and spend a portion of it and the chain continues. Once that $5,000 is whisked away overseas to be spent in Japan, it’s gone where if it were an American based company, that money would be largely spent in America, therefore helping the American economy. I know that globalization erodes some of this either way BUT the end result is still significant enough that there is a dramatic takeaway from the American economy when a foreign based car is purchased. I know a lot of people have their minds made up about their foreign cars, and that’s completely fine with me. I accept that. But, I just wish half those people would just be honest and admit that buying a Toyota or Honda or whatever has an impact on the American economy, and quit trying to trick themselves into believing everything comes out equal.

  • JOE March 12, 2010, 9:49 am

    I am open to an analysis of the numbers involved. I don’t know what percent of a car’s retail price goes to the dealer, in the US, or to the people building it. It seems intuitive to me that (no offense to Canada) a car built in Canada employs a Canadian to build it. And the profit won’t be spent here, it will go to invest in where Ford is building new facilities, here or elsewhere. If it gets distributed as a dividend, I suppose it really depends on who owns the shares, I can own Ford, but so can a Saudi Prince (don’t they own most of Citibank?)
    I haven’t dug in to this as deep as I might, but I’m sticking with the idea that given the choice, I’ll keep an American employed and find it disingenuous to call a US based company car built elsewhere an “American car.”

  • Augustine March 12, 2010, 11:29 am

    I will not buy an inferior car just because it sports an American brand. It is my duty to refuse to do so in order to keep America competitive in a global economy. That is the reason why Trabants are not made anymore.

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