First of all, I think its pretty apparent at this point that the U.S. Government, and to a (slightly) lesser extent, Media, have taken this Recall thing way too far. As several outlets (that I’m far too lazy at the moment to collect/summarize) have pointed-out, virtually EVERY auto manufacturer has recalls EVERY year. While Toyota certainly could have been a little more proactive, compared to their peers’ responses to similar issues (some even worse, with less press!), I think the’ve done a pretty respectable job.
I’ve been hearing far-too-much that Americans should make a concerted effort to buy “American” cars (read: Chrysler, Ford, GM) to support their (er, our) unemployed countrymen and women. Combined with the actions taken by Congress (DoT, etc), summoning Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda to Washington to answer for his sins, I’m afraid this silliness may actually be gaining traction, if not widespread adoption.
The fact of the matter is that granted, it could be worse (*shudder*), lost on most observers is that Toyota makes more cars in America than Chrysler. That’s right. According to the International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, Toyota made 1,117,409 vehicles in the U.S. in 2008 to Chrysler‘s 1,106,028. Ford (from what I can tell, including all domestic brands) makes 1,602,011 cars in the U.S., although the report suggests less than 100,000 of them are actually Ford branded. For even more of an idea how important domestic (U.S.) manufacturing by foreign Automakers is to our Nation’s economy, check out the Cars.com American-made Index. Half or more of their lists are dominated the likes of Toyota, Honda, etc.
The media and government need to slow their roll, because if several get their wish, and the populace truly does “buy American” in the traditional sense, it would be a classic case of cutting off our nose to spite our face. Sure, the Government’s investments in GM and Chrysler could benefit, however, the last thing we want is Toyota (etc) firing tons of workers when no one buys their cars anymore.
*I deserve a medal for using “The Situation” in the headline without a picture of “The Situation,” no?
ht twitter.com/akreitman for the national sales data