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Cars.com has released its Top American-Made Cars Index and the results are interesting: Four of the top five cars are Japanese brands (#1 Toyota Camry, #3 Honda Accord, #4 Toyota Sienna and #5 Hona Pilot).

On the surface, it seems difficult to decide how to feel about this.  Why are Japanese brands dominating the American market?  But ultimately, does it really matter what brand the cars are so long as they are built with American hands?  There isn't a single car company CEO who is part of the 99%, or even the 3% for that matter, so it's not about rooting for the boss.  What's worse, some American brands can't pass the sniff test when it comes to American assembly. They've given in to "globalization" more than global brands:

Five years ago, Ford had 20 models with 75 percent or higher domestic parts content. For the 2012 model year, that figure fell to three. Yet the same strategy has helped to bring Ford into the black with 11 straight quarterly profits.

"They have one of the highest content vehicles, the old Escape, and one of the lowest content vehicles, the Transit," said Kristin Dziczek, who directs the Labor and Industry group at Michigan's Center for Automotive Research. "There's a global supply chain for most things, and that ebbs and flows with currency, with trade and free-trade agreements. It ebbs and flows with union agreements with capturing outsourced work."

Ford isn't alone. Cars.com surveyed domestic parts content for the top 113 models on the market, which make up 89 percent of all the cars sold through May. More than 80 percent of those cars — the vast majority of what shoppers are buying — have domestic parts content below 75 percent or are assembled in Canada, Mexico or abroad.

So there is cause for celebration when we discover that the the #1 American-made car, the Toyota Camry, was assembled in Georgetown, Kentucky at a plant that was built under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA).  In fact, last year Toyota's President Tetsuo Agata wrote a letter to former Building and Construction Trades Department President Mark Ayers marking the 25th anniversary of Toyota's first North American plant.  Agata's adoration for PLAs is clear from his writing and demonstrates exemplary owner behavior with respect to labor:

Large-scale construction projects pose unique challenges for corporations such as ours that maintain the highest standards of safety, efficiency and productivity. To address these challenges, Toyota has consistently employed Project Labor Agreements for our major construction projects, and we could not have been more pleased with the results.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Our American brand of CEO has damaged the (5+ / 0-)

    image of both bosses and American products. Because, you see, the CEO prizes only the share price not the product or the workers that make the product or even the customers that buy the product.

    To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. -Joseph Chilton Pearce

    by glitterscale on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 11:11:34 AM PDT

  •  Reputation, reputation, reputation (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    varro

    My mechanic commented if all cars were built like my 1997 Honda Accord, he wouldn't have a business.

    It just passed its 204,000 mile oil change with a vague warning of "you'll probably have to get your breaks done in 20K miles.... maybe."

    With regular maintenance, they just don't die.  The modern Accords may or may not have that durability to them, but it's a risk people are more than happy to take.

    Tradition says that God gave us choice. Some of His disciples act like it is up to them to remove it. ~ kjoftherock

    by catwho on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 11:52:36 AM PDT

  •  Hasn't SOCIALISM scared auto manufacturers... (0+ / 0-)

    ....out of Canada?  

    Or is it that the auto manufacturers would rather pay a stable tax than constantly escalating premiums, and they're also getting a healthier workforce?

    9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

    by varro on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 12:05:17 PM PDT

  •  To be clear... (0+ / 0-)

    these ratings are based solely on sales numbers and domestic content--any vehicle less than 75% was not considered. So really it's a list of top selling cars with high domestic content. Of the top ten, five are from GM or Ford.

    Only the GM and Ford vehicles are built by union members. Ford and GM encourage their suppliers to be receptive to unionization efforts by their workers, as well.

    The Japanese transplants are all resolutely anti-union. They were deliberately built in right to work states. I would hesitate to give them too much credit for "exemplary owner behavior with respect to labor".

    The diary title no doubt will lead many people who don't bother to read it to believe you're talking about quality. Perhaps the word "selling" could be inserted somewhere in the title?

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 01:19:02 PM PDT

  •  Good results here (0+ / 0-)

    My 2001 Indiana-built Toyota Tundra has been nearly flawless for its 116,000 miles to date.  I wish it had been built in a plant with union workers, but the size and reputation best served our purposes when we bought it.  If I were to replace it today, I'd buy a Toyota Tacoma (for its size and reliability), certainly not a Chevy Colorado or Avalanche, nor a Ford Ranger.

    A few years ago Toyota built a plant in Canada instead of the U.S. partly because their worker costs were lower due to the health coverage there vs. the cost of worker health coverage in the U.S.  The recent rise of the Loonie's value makes Canada expensive these days, though.  

  •  Japanese cars several grand cheaper (0+ / 0-)

    than their American competitors.  Especially at the lower end, that's a big difference.

    To those who say the New Deal didn't work: WWII was also government spending

    by Visceral on Fri Jul 06, 2012 at 04:21:08 PM PDT

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