CARBIZ

TOYOTA NO LONGER "FOREIGN"

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National Post

"Toyota: More green and more domestic than you think

Stephen Beatty, National Post

Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Last week this newspaper published an editorial on the automobile industry and the environment. It began with an enlightening discussion on the industry's record, but then headed in a regrettable direction.

It claimed that hybrid autos are a form of "false environmentalism" and asserted that the Hummer H3 is more environmentally friendly than a Toyota Prius. Then it referred to Toyota as a "foreign" company compared to automakers headquartered in the United States. Finally, it took the Conservative government to task for offering incentives to "foreign" manufacturers over domestic ones.

The first claim is based on a study by Oregonbased CNW Marketing. There's certainly shock value in the Hummer/Prius comparison, and it received some play in North American media. Hummer, to its credit, did not jump on this bandwagon.

Font: ****Their reticence was well-founded. The study was not peer-reviewed, and little has been offered on its data sources, assumptions or methodology. The study was discredited by three highly reputable organizations -- Argonne National Laboratory, MIT and the Union of Concerned Scientists. All have performed assessments of vehicle energy use throughout their lifecycles.

An automobile's lifecycle is divided into two stages: the "driving stage" (the period it is in use) and the "non-driving stage" (which includes parts and vehicle manufacturing, repairs and end-of-life). The CNW study bases its Hummer/ Prius comparison on a conclusion that 85% of lifecycle energy use occurs during the nondriving stage, and only 15% from driving. The scientific organizations named above conclude precisely the opposite. This is an example where reputable science supports what is common sense for most people.

It's unclear how the CNW study calculates "total energy costs," but it divides these total costs by the "estimated lifetime miles" of the vehicle to arrive at a "per-mile energy cost. The higher the lifetime miles, the lower the per-mile energy cost. The Prius is assigned 109,000 lifetime miles -- more than three times lower than the Hummer -- based on assumptions that the Prius is typically a second car, and is used in "restricted or short-range environments such as college campuses or retirement neighbourhoods."

This is news to us, and would come as a surprise to Prius owners around the world. The assumptions about mileage and usage are simply false, and demonstrative of the flawed methodology and erroneous data. We are disappointed that this flimsy data were published by a national newspaper.

This brings us to the second current running through the editorial -- the labelling of Toyota as a foreign company in Canada vs. GM, Ford and Chrysler as "domestic" automakers. It is time to lay this antiquated notion to rest.

GM, Ford and Chrysler are no more "homegrown" than Toyota or our colleagues at Honda. All are companies with headquarters in a foreign country, and all have established manufacturing and distribution facilities here in Canada.

We arrived here in 1965. An individual seeking Canadian citizenship must be a permanent resident and have lived in Canada for at least three years. After 42 years and a proud record of job creation, investment and community involvement, have we not earned the right to be known as a domestic automaker?

Interesting to note that the Auto Pact was signed in 1965, allowing the free trade of autos and auto parts across the U.S.-Canada border. I wonder if that panicked Japan Inc., who at the time was well on to their assault on the North American electronics industry. Within 10 years, the North American TV industry was all but dead and the MITI's orchestrated assault on the auto market was just beginning.

I do hand it to the Japanese, who plan in decades, not model years.

Edited by CARBIZ
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The link isn't working for me...?

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I agree the hummer vs prius thing is crap, but what's the deal with "we've been here more than 3 years, so obviously we're domestic" arguement? :wacko:

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Why doesn't "Stephen" throw in the fact that on average the domestics are 80% US while Toyota less than 50%?

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Because the point of the article is to promote the sale of more Toyotas. That's why.

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Why doesn't "Stephen" throw in the fact that on average the domestics are 80% US while Toyota less than 50%?

Right or wrong, I would think that Canadian parts content percentages would be more relevant to Canadians reading a Canadian newspaper in Canada.

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Your post needs more references to Canada.

Aside from that, Canada is pretty much an extension of the US, economically speaking... *dons flame suit*

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Right or wrong, I would think that Canadian parts content percentages would be more relevant to Canadians reading a Canadian newspaper in Canada.

Why? We don't differentiate here in the US whether the parts are US or Canadian. If anything, it should say NA sourced parts.
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The Domestics have been building vehicles in Canada for years, upon years, and are (or at least WERE) a core part of the Central Canadian economy.

Toyota opened their first Canadian auto plant in 1987. However, they did create an aluminum wheel factory in my area in 1983.

Let Toyota come back in another, oh, 30 years and THEN tell me they are 'Domestic,' because, right now, they are still an Import brand.

Edited by Captainbooyah
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Rarely have I read something more poorly written from a supposed professional news source.

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I don't know why the link isn't working, but I should point out that the piece is actually a letter from the President of Toyota Canada, spinning that the Prius is the Second Coming.

Growing up here, I never even thought of the Big 3 as "foreign" until much older when I realized, oh, yeah - Americans are different! :AH-HA_wink:

Still, culturally and historically, the Big 3 have had a much bigger footprint on Canada's auto industry than Japan Inc will ever hope to have, and Toyota's President can spin that all he wants. Toyota has virtually no presence in Canada, other than a couple ASSEMBLY plants, a dealer network and a parts distribution centers. General MOtors designs and ENGINEERS some of the models here (Equinox/Impala.)

Still, this is what is coming: expect a general ratcheting up of BS from Toyota and Honda to convince us (North Americans) that they are as North American as apple pie - or maple syrup.

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I don't know why the link isn't working, but I should point out that the piece is actually a letter from the President of Toyota Canada, spinning that the Prius is the Second Coming.

Growing up here, I never even thought of the Big 3 as "foreign" until much older when I realized, oh, yeah - Americans are different! :AH-HA_wink:

Still, culturally and historically, the Big 3 have had a much bigger footprint on Canada's auto industry than Japan Inc will ever hope to have, and Toyota's President can spin that all he wants. Toyota has virtually no presence in Canada, other than a couple ASSEMBLY plants, a dealer network and a parts distribution centers. General MOtors designs and ENGINEERS some of the models here (Equinox/Impala.)

Still, this is what is coming: expect a general ratcheting up of BS from Toyota and Honda to convince us (North Americans) that they are as North American as apple pie - or maple syrup.

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tell an ugly chick 100 times she is hot and she will start to believe it so i guess this will probably work for toyota.

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tell an ugly chick 100 times she is hot and she will start to believe it so i guess this will probably work for toyota.

try "already has and will probably continue to work." It's amazing the number of people I talk to that go on about this kind of crap. One discussion I got into, the other person began talking like all Toyotas are built in the US. I had to first point out that not all of them are, then point out that paying someone to assemble the product in the US, but paying engineers and management in Japan doesn't really help out the US economy a whole heck of a lot. It's better than nothing of course, but I'd personally rather see a company with US management & engineers have something assembled somewhere else than the reverse. Management & engineering jobs are higher education and pay.

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No one should be buying the Toyota = Domestic argument until they convert their stocks and move their headquarters and all major operations to North America.

Its sad, really.

Edited by AxelTheRed
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General MOtors designs and ENGINEERS some of the models here (Equinox/Impala.)

The Equinox was engineered by you Canadians?

Candians have tarnished the image of the great General Motors for the last time!

Shut down that incompetent design studio!

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The Equinox was engineered by you Canadians?

Candians have tarnished the image of the great General Motors for the last time!

Shut down that incompetent design studio!

I know, I know... we should've just stuck with making maple syrup, plaid shirts, and mercury laced beaver pelt hats. :P

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No one should be buying the Toyota = Domestic argument until they convert their stocks and move their headquarters and all major operations to North America.

TCC TICKER Name Symbol Last Change

Autobytel, Inc. ABTL 4.49 +0.02 (+0.34%)

Autoliv Inc. ALV 57.89 +0.76 (+1.33%)

AutoNation Inc. AN 21.57 +0.21 (+0.98%)

ArvinMeritor Inc. ARM 20.65 -0.15 (-0.72%)

American Axle & Mfr. Holdings Inc. AXL 29.49 +0.17 (+0.58%)

<snip>

Toyota Motor Corporation (ADR) TM 119.31 -1.07 (-0.89%)

TRW Automotive Holdings TRW 41.46 +0.14 (+0.34%)

<sni>

Also the the Toyota "campus" in Torrance, CA is huge.

I think Toyota is not the same as a domestic producer, but neither is it the foreign subversive endeavor that assembles cars here from kits that they just add water to, to make them grow into cars. Toyota makes pretty good cars here and in Japan, but nothing that special. My wife recently became furious at her '99 Grand AM. It really has been troublesome. She insisted next time she would buy Toyota. She called customer service at GM to complain. I told her "you got to kidding; the car is 7 years old". Customer service calls her regularly to tell her that they are waiting on the report from the servicing dealer but that my wife has every reason not to expect this much trouble from the car. In the meantime Toyota refused to replace the idle control valve on my son in law's Corolla claiming that although it was under the mileage limit of the warranty, it was just over the time limit. Hmm!
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Hmm, I wasn't aware GM had a customer service line that you could call that was not attached to a specific dealership.

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tell an ugly chick 100 times she is hot and she will start to believe it so i guess this will probably work for toyota.

Toyota could tell me there Scion line is good looking a billion times and I will never believe it. LOL

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I believe that both Toyota and Honda are getting arrogant to the point of hubris - shades of where GM was 10 or 15 years ago. The auto buying public is buying it because so far the media is on side, but we all know how fickle the media is. A few more fumbles from Toyota or Honda and they will fall FAST.

The Element and the Scion product are simply the ugliest vehicles on the planet. If GM or Ford had designed them, the media would have killed them off by now. I mean, really - look at an Aztek and then an Element. They are equally ugly, yet equally "useful" in their own right. One was scorned by the media and the other adored.

Makes no sense to me.

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Actually I like both the Element and the Aztec thank you very much sir.

Actually the Aztec is not that far from the Equinox in some ways.

Chris

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I believe that both Toyota and Honda are getting arrogant to the point of hubris - shades of where GM was 10 or 15 years ago. The auto buying public is buying it because so far the media is on side, but we all know how fickle the media is. A few more fumbles from Toyota or Honda and they will fall FAST.

The Element and the Scion product are simply the ugliest vehicles on the planet. If GM or Ford had designed them, the media would have killed them off by now. I mean, really - look at an Aztek and then an Element. They are equally ugly, yet equally "useful" in their own right. One was scorned by the media and the other adored.

Makes no sense to me.

Toyota and Honda will not fall like the Big Three did, if they do at all. They're nowhere near as arrogant, complacent or inefficienct as Detroit was. I'm guessing the tables won't even begin to turn from imports to domestics for at least another 3-5 years unless GM, Ford and Chrysler make some huge and drastic changes to their products.

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