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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Kentucky town feels Toyota's pain

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Kentucky town feels Toyota's pain

Story by Louis Aguilar / Photos by Robin Buckson / The Detroit News

Georgetown, Ky. -- In another auto town -- in Michigan or Ohio, for example -- the scenario would be old news: The pride of a community is wounded when the automaker takes a bad tumble.

But the angst is raw and new here, at the home of Toyota's largest and oldest North American plant.

"I think a part of this is a conspiracy by Ford, Chrysler and GM," said retired sheriff's officer Henry Elam, 65, as he sat with a group of Georgetown old-timers in Fava's restaurant on Main Street.

A lot of folks in this town of 24,000 agree with him. They feel every punch and slap that have bruised Toyota's image in recent weeks.

"I didn't hear the secretary of transportation (Ray LaHood) say, 'Stop driving Detroit cars' during all their recalls," added Scott County Judge/Executive George Lusby.

"That kind of stuff is unproductive," said Lusby, who like other top public officials drives a donated Camry hybrid.

What's good for Toyota is good for Georgetown and Kentucky. And things don't feel so good right now.

The automaker has recalled 9 million vehicles worldwide to fix problems that could lead to unintended acceleration. On Tuesday, it recalled its vaunted Prius hybrid for a braking problem.

Furthermore, the company finds itself in Washington's crosshairs. Congressional hearings this month will discuss whether the automaker and federal safety officials acted promptly to acknowledge and fix troubles with Toyota vehicles.

Lusby and like-minded Georgetowners don't plan to watch the congressional hearings.

They're also tuning out the jokes from late-night comedians, and bristle at news reports.

"There have not been layoffs. They are not in bankruptcy. Certainly there is a problem. Certainly they are addressing the issue," Lusby said.

Butch Harp is among those who think Toyota's critics are piling on.

"The media has just been ridiculous; it's a circus,'" said Harp, 62, who owns two Fords.

"Toyota has had recalls before. But now (the media) are talking like they were General Motors or Chrysler."

Huge benefits arrive

Toyota's 22-year presence in this once-sleepy central Kentucky hamlet has made Georgetown one of the state's most affluent communities.

Nestled close to I-75, Georgetown is the home of a small liberal arts college with Baptist roots, and it's a stone's throw from the Kentucky Horse Park.

It got a new industry and a new identity when Toyota built its massive assembly plant northeast of town.

The population doubled. Median income spiked as the automaker hired thousands of full-time workers -- 6,600 today. And thousands more jobs were created, from auto suppliers to real estate agents to restaurant workers and motel clerks.

It's the flip side of the Detroit experience, where flagging business for the domestic automakers caused layoffs that led to a domino effect in other job sectors and withered the region's economy.

As Detroit is a cheerleader for Ford, GM and Chrysler, so Georgetown is a company town for Toyota. The Japan-headquartered automaker, Georgetown says, has been a fine and upstanding corporate American citizen.

Toyota helped build a new high school and a football stadium for Georgetown College. And the citizenry doesn't take those contributions for granted.

"We used to have the state's largest trailer park: It was the temporary classrooms of our old high school. Toyota changed that," Lusby said.

The town is proud of the plant, which has produced some of Toyota's top-selling models: Camry, Camry hybrid, Avalon and Venza. And it's proud of the automaker's reputation for quality, which has suffered a serious hit.

"The outpouring from the community here in Georgetown has been phenomenal," said plant spokesman Rick Hesterberg.

"People are calling and saying, 'Hang in there, we know you're going to get through it. We still believe in you.' "

Ever since the line in Assembly Plant One halted last week, while Toyota grappled with the pedal defect, shock waves have rippled across the community, said Mike Britsch, 44.

Like many other Toyota workers, Britsch, an assembly line team leader, defends his employer's commitment to quality. Every worker, he says, is expected to uphold that standard.

"It's about finding the root cause of a problem," said Britsch, who has worked for Toyota for 19 years. "We are given the time to find that root cause to eliminate it before it becomes an issue."

John "Jack" Conner, executive director of the Georgetown/Scott County Chamber of Commerce, thinks the current spate of recalls is a fluke.

"If you look at the history of the automotive industry over the last 50 years, you will likely come across many, many recalls," Conner said.

"And how many of them have been by Toyota? And how many companies shut the production of a plant out of concern of a recall? That tells me the commitment to safety and quality."

'Taking it personal'

Toyota's recall troubles have had no discernable economic impact on Georgetown.

The production line went back online this week.

But the fallout is far from over.

"A lot of us are taking it personal," said Renee Brown, who has worked at the plant for 10 years.

"We are all devoted to continuous improvement. So, all of this has made a lot of us refocus our efforts to do the best job we can out there."

Still, Brown and her Georgetown neighbors admit the events are unsettling.

"People are generally worried," said Brown, 37.

"The economy is already down. There is no overtime. What's tough is that we have such a terrific group of people who work here."

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100210/AUTO01/2100374/1148/AUTO01/Kentucky-town-feels-Toyota-s-pain#ixzz0fF9zFNUi

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"I think a part of this is a conspiracy by Ford, Chrysler and GM," said retired sheriff's officer Henry Elam, 65, as he sat with a group of Georgetown old-timers in Fava's restaurant on Main Street.

Too many people drank too much of that Toyota Kool Aid......

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Too many people drank too much of that Toyota Kool Aid......

it's politically motivated hate...

"it's the economy, stupid"

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"I think a part of this is a conspiracy by Ford, Chrysler and GM," said retired sheriff's officer Henry Elam, 65, as he sat with a group of Georgetown old-timers in Fava's restaurant on Main Street.

It's hard to believe GM, Ford and Chrysler have enough clout to push Toyota into WORLDWIDE recalls. I further didn't think they had enough push with the Japanese government to get them to investigate Toyotas essentially forcing them into recalls that started in Japan and then migrated to the U.S. Hell, I recently read a story about how people living in Toyota City, Japan are worried about the slips in Toyota's quality and the cover-ups of their safety issues. I guess the rednecks in Kentucky just know better. :lol:

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Don't forget to add Hyundai and every other automaker in the world who is benefiting from it, you twits.

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"Toyota has had recalls before. But now (the media) are talking like they were General Motors or Chrysler."

So, if the media continually talks about GM or Chrysler having a problem, it's okay. But if the media continually talks about Toyota having problems (read 'plural'), it's bias? Wow, me thinks somebody spiked the Kool-aid with booze.

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It's some of the comments in threads like this that make these forums suck. Prime examples:

I guess the rednecks in Kentucky just know better.

These idiots are such misinformed tools.

Way to show maturity, the both of you.

Before you open your mouth again, here is the truth about Georgetown: without the Toyota plant there, it would dry up. It is the only major manufacturing job in that town and most of the smaller manufacturing jobs are tied into Toyota. The rest is mostly retail and those jobs are there because the plant is there. Georgetown went from being a college town even smaller than Berea to a town that is catching up with Richmond in size.

The cold reality is that the citizens of Georgetown are quite afraid and they really do not have the slightest idea of what to do should Toyota go down. Georgetown is now having to face an issue they thought they never would face.

Now, I will give you the sheriff's comment is a genuine facepalm moment, but it's a thought being echoed throughout the entire state. I am also sure there are Toyota fanbois in your own state that are saying the same thing.

As much as I hate Toyota, they will still have people supporting them throughout this mess, they still will support Toyota right on through the criticism, right up until that glorious (not quite fantasy but not quite reality) moment the government forces Toyota out of the U.S. market.

At its very root, it isn't much different from how people on this very forum supported GM throughout the bailout and bankruptcy proceedings while critics were chanting "SHUT 'EM DOWN! SHUT 'EM DOWN!" The shoe is on the other foot, but remember how it felt when the shoe was on your foot.

Some of you really need to get in touch with reality and drop the "HOLIER THAN THOU; MY SHIT DON'T STANK" mentality.

Edited by whiteknight
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You are such a hypocrite YJ. If this was anywhere else you'd acknowledge, probably with some stupid meme, that these statements are idiotic and uniformed. Get over yourself.

You also conveniently glossed over that I said nothing about what good the plat has done for the town, because obviously any business that creates jobs in an area does. I'm referring to statements like:

"And how many of them have been by Toyota? And how many companies shut the production of a plant out of concern of a recall? That tells me the commitment to safety and quality."
"I think a part of this is a conspiracy by Ford, Chrysler and GM," said retired sheriff's officer Henry Elam, 65, as he sat with a group of Georgetown old-timers in Fava's restaurant on Main Street.
A lot of folks in this town of 24,000 agree with him.

Right, they were shut down because they were required to not out of the kindness of their own heart. If he bothered to look, he'd find Toyota recalled more cars than it sold in 2006. Then there's the cover ups and secret recalls. Misinformed? Tool? Yeah, I think so.

"Toyota has had recalls before. But now (the media) are talking like they were General Motors or Chrysler."

How much sympathy do you think they had for GM and Chrysler when they were in danger of going under?

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BFD. What Georgetown is facing is trivial compared to what Flint and other Michigan or Ohio cities have experienced in the last 30 years or so.

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You are such a hypocrite YJ. If this was anywhere else you'd acknowledge, probably with some stupid meme, that these statements are idiotic and uniformed. Get over yourself.

You also conveniently glossed over that I said nothing about what good the plant has done for the town, because obviously any business that creates jobs in an area does. I'm referring to statements like:

Right, they were shut down because they were required to not out of the kindness of their own heart. If he bothered to look, he;d find Toyota recalled more cars than it sold in 2006. Then there's the cover ups and secret recalls. Misinformed? Tool? Yeah, I think so.

How much sympathy do you think they had for GM and Chrysler when they were in danger of going under?

Hilarious.

  1. I'm a hypocrite? Right. You have just criticized me for posting stupid memes on these forums when you have done it as well. And when I am making a post that I intend to be 100 percent serious in tone, I never use dumb memes or post lackadaisical, stupid comments. I know I am not much of a comedian or "forum clown," but I do like the feeling I get from making someone else laugh, so that's why I sometimes post stupid things. So let me apologize right here and now if it was getting annoying.
  2. Say if this story was coming out of another state and I was making a 100 percent serious post, would my stance on the issue be different? To some degree, yes (see below). But I wouldn't call an entire state stupid in the process, etc.
  3. Re-read the post again. I never upheld anything being said. There is a serious degree of ignorance to obvious facts and immaturity with what is being said in this thread. That was how I was directing my post.
  4. I was not pointing out that you said nothing about the effect the plant has had on Georgetown. I had intentions of posting obvious reasons as to why people in that town made the comments that are being ridiculed so ferociously. One "bunch of dumb rednecks in Kentucky" post is enough to piss me off because I personally do not want to be typecast with such an ignorant umbrella statement. I can take a joke, but not a comment that is meant to be degrading.
  5. Misinformed? No. Tool? No. Truthfully, people in that town are following news of the Toyota situation with a magnifying glass and a microscope because it is pertinent to the well-being of their town. If anything they are being willfully dense. Why? For the reasons that I stated earlier. They know what is at stake and they willfully deny the truth because the reality of the situation is very, very unforgiving.
  6. How sympathetic were they? I don't know. I can't speak for the whole town. Although the plant is there, Georgetown is not Toyotatown; you do not see Toyotas on every block, in every driveway. It isn't so much that the people there care about Toyota itself, they care about keeping jobs there and making sure the local economy does not catastrophically fail. That's all there is to it. If Georgetown had a GM Epsilon plant being jeopardized in a similar fashion, the attitude would not be any different.

Edited by whiteknight
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YJ, check this out before we cry for Kentucky:

Here is GM's Buick City in Flint when it was pumping out cars:

buickcity.jpg

Here is what Toyota did to it:

buickcity2002.jpg

and nobody really cared when this happened to Flint. So Toyota and Kentucky, this is for you: :violin:

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I am not asking anyone to feel sorry for Kentucky. No where in either of my posts did I essentially say that.

I know what is eventually going to happen to Georgetown because Toyota will not come out of this the same company that they used to be. In fact, I don't really see Toyota staying in the United States after all of this is said and done. The damage dealt to Toyota is far worse than the damage that was dealt to GM. It took GM about 3 decades to finally fall apart. Toyota has fallen apart just about literally overnight and it continues to get worse and worse.

Yeah, it sucks that Kentucky's economy is going to hurt after the Georgetown plant is shuttered and the offices in Erlanger are closed. Berea, the town I currently live in, will hurt too because Tokico is a Toyota supplier. Richmond will also take some damage as well because RAPT is a Toyota supplier.

But there are other automotive plants in Kentucky that are easily forgotten. The Ford Louisville plant is here and will start building a lot of small cars soon. I can tell the new Focus is going to be a great selling car; no worries there. We also have the Corvette plant and there's a slim chance it's going anywhere. And who knows? Maybe some other automaker will come in and happily pick up the slack in the future.

Toyota is not the backbone of Kentucky, thankfully.

Edited by whiteknight
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YJ, good points in your latest post. It may suck for Georgetown Ky, but Toyota has done all of this to themselves, just like GM did, even if I did blame Toyota for the blowing up of Buick City.

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Hilarious.

  1. I'm a hypocrite? Right. You have just criticized me for posting stupid memes on these forums when you have done it as well. And when I am making a post that I intend to be 100 percent serious in tone, I never use dumb memes or post lackadaisical, stupid comments. I know I am not much of a comedian or "forum clown," but I do like the feeling I get from making someone else laugh, so that's why I sometimes post stupid things. So let me apologize right here and now if it was getting annoying.

Yeah, I post stupid things too, but on a far less frequent basis outside of the Lounge. I'm sure if I had the time and if I cared enough and went and checked your recent posts excludes the stupid istanbul one, more often than not it would. So you'll have to forgive me for not taking you seriously right away in this instance.

[*]Say if this story was coming out of another state and I was making a 100 percent serious post, would my stance on the issue be different? To some degree, yes (see below). But I wouldn't call an entire state stupid in the process, etc.

I do think you'd act differently. Didn't seem to bother when when NUMMI's closing was announced and that all of those people would loose their jobs. Same goes for the many plants GM, Ford, and Chrysler have had to close down. How many people suffer because of those plant losings. This isn't even about a plant closing, this is an article where asinine comments are made. Is it the whole state? Of course not, but pay attention and you'll find that no where in my posts did I explicitly say that the entire state or even city were misinformed tools. Should I have just specifically pointed out at those quotes? Well perhaps so. I would think you'd know which ones they were since they stick out pretty obviously, but apparently not.

[*]Re-read the post again. I never upheld anything being said. There is a serious degree of ignorance to obvious facts and immaturity with what is being said in this thread. That was how I was directing my post.
[*]I was not pointing out that you said nothing about the effect the plant has had on Georgetown. I had intentions of posting obvious reasons as to why people in that town made the comments that are being ridiculed so ferociously. One "bunch of dumb rednecks in Kentucky" post is enough to piss me off because I personally do not want to be typecast with such an ignorant umbrella statement. I can take a joke, but not a comment that is meant to be degrading.

Well you included my post so you directed it me, and thus we're having this discussion. It's laughable that you can sit there and tell me that a comment like this:

"I think a part of this is a conspiracy by Ford, Chrysler and GM,"

...isn't deserving of being called out as something a misinformed person or a tool would say.

[*]Misinformed? No. Tool? No. Truthfully, people in that town are following news of the Toyota situation with a magnifying glass and a microscope because it is pertinent to the well-being of their town. If anything they are being willfully dense. Why? For the reasons that I stated earlier. They know what is at stake and they willfully deny the truth because the reality of the situation is very, very unforgiving.

So denial is ok? Taking shots at GM and Chrysler is ok? Blocking out the truth is ok? I don't care that there's a plant in his town, that's no excuse for choosing to ignore facts and stating such rubbish.

[*]How sympathetic were they? I don't know. I can't speak for the whole town. Although the plant is there, Georgetown is not Toyotatown; you do not see Toyotas on every block, in every driveway. It isn't so much that the people there care about Toyota itself, they care about keeping jobs there and making sure the local economy does not catastrophically fail. That's all there is to it. If Georgetown had a GM Epsilon plant being jeopardized in a similar fashion, the attitude would not be any different.

I said nothing about hoping that the plant fails and ruins the economy, because obviously that would be terrible for the people, and not something anyone would want to have happen. I called out remarks about it being a Detroit 3 conspiracy, about how Toyota has so few recalls, etc. All Bull$h!. That is the point I'm making in this thread.

When you want to rant redneck insult rants you don't lump me in there when I haven't said anything of the sort. That's generalizing and that's what you were pissed off about in the first place.

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Yeah, I post stupid things too, but on a far less frequent basis outside of the Lounge. I'm sure if I had the time and if I cared enough and went and checked your recent posts excludes the stupid istanbul one, more often than not it would. So you'll have to forgive me for not taking you seriously right away in this instance.

There are a very small handful of posts outside of The Lounge that essentially are junk data that belong to me.

I am overly sarcastic and a bit melodramatic in others, though. I don't know if you would consider those posts as dumb as the ones embedded with stupid memes.

I do think you'd act differently. Didn't seem to bother when when NUMMI's closing was announced and that all of those people would loose their jobs. Same goes for the many plants GM, Ford, and Chrysler have had to close down. How many people suffer because of those plant losings. This isn't even about a plant closing, this is an article where asinine comments are made. Is it the whole state? Of course not, but pay attention and you'll find that no where in my posts did I explicitly say that the entire state or even city were misinformed tools. Should I have just specifically pointed out at those quotes? Well perhaps so. I would think you'd know which ones they were since they stick out pretty obviously, but apparently not.

I would act differently if I were being serious, but not in the way that you are assuming.

And as I said earlier, I am not asking for anyone to pity this state because this state really doesn't need it. I am telling people to think of the reasons why someone would make a statement like that.

Well you included my post so you directed it me, and thus we're having this discussion. It's laughable that you can sit there and tell me that a comment like this:

"I think a part of this is a conspiracy by Ford, Chrysler and GM,"

...isn't deserving of being called out as something a misinformed person or a tool would say.

Calling someone a tool is a bit harsh, though. The guy quoted is Toyota-biased for a clear and understandable reason. While it doesn't earn the guy a free-pass, I can look slightly beyond it. I can see calling the guy somewhat misinformed, though. However, I still think it boils down to someone who is essentially simply being told the truth but decides to stick his fingers in his ears.

In hindsight, I did perhaps take your post in a different context from what you originally intended it to be and my first post in this thread was more of an anger-fueled "take 'em all on" rant than a calm, well thought-out and well edited rebuttal. That was a error in judgment. That was completely my mistake.

So denial is ok? Taking shots at GM and Chrysler is ok? Blocking out the truth is ok? I don't care that there's a plant in his town, that's no excuse for choosing to ignore facts and stating such rubbish.

Again, I did not intend to advocate what I think to be willful denial or uphold any comment being said.

I said nothing about hoping that the plant fails and ruins the economy, because obviously that would be terrible for the people, and not something anyone would want to have happen. I called out remarks about it being a Detroit 3 conspiracy, about how Toyota has so few recalls, etc. All Bull$h!. That is the point I'm making in this thread.

I know you didn't say anything about hoping the plant would fail, etc.

I didn't intend for that remark to be totally directed to you. I had intended to give an explanation as to why someone would say something so completely blind that was directed to a general reader but didn't quite do so.

When you want to rant redneck insult rants you don't lump me in there when I haven't said anything of the sort. That's generalizing and that's what you were pissed off about in the first place.

In addition to what I said earlier, I can only say sorry.

Edited by whiteknight
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Cry me a river Kentucky.

We lost our NUMMI plant in California because Toyota just decided they didnt want to make the Matrix there without Pontiac.

These things happen. Someday Wyoming or someplace like that will lure all the car plants out of Kentucky with tax incentives or whatever. Welcome to the new economy.

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It's some of the comments in threads like this that make these forums suck. Prime examples:

Way to show maturity, the both of you.

Don't be so sensitive. They've been dealing with this for, what, two weeks? Come back and talk to me when they've been dealing with it for the whole 38 years of their life like I have. My Dad worked for GM (now retired) and I work in the auto industry for a supplier to both foreign and domestic OEM's. I'm an engineer. I've pretty much been on my toes for the last, oh I don't know, 8 years whether or not I'm going to come in and be told that today is my last day. Most of the folks I have worked with for the last 10 years in my current job have already been laid off. My last boss and the last two remaining coworkers from my last assignment are being let go on Monday. I was lucky enough to move to a different area of the company. I've seen a TON of good people along with some crappy ones that have lost their jobs. It's not fun. The business group I work in is being sold and/or eliminated so I have no idea how much longer I'll have a job.

I've lived in Michigan most of my life other than a year and a half in Mississippi. I've seen the devastation first hand that plant closures and company difficulties cause. Having said that, I take no pleasure or delight in the plight of any of those in Kentucky that fear for their jobs. I've been through the stress and continue to go through it on a DAILY basis.

I am, however, happy to see Toyota FINALLY get the same treatment in the media that GM, Ford and Chrysler have gotten for a long time. It's nice to see Toyota finally make the front page instead of their issues being somehow relegated to the back page of section C like it has been in the past. All I really want is to see all the automakers get treated equally. GM, Ford and Chrysler all deserved their bad press and got it. Now it is finally Toyota's turn.

Edited by 2QuickZ's
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As for my redneck comment, perhaps I should have used the term idiots? I was referring specifically to the people in the quotes, not the south as a whole. I've worked in several states in the south, lived in one and I would move down there in a heartbeat if I had the opportunity. I prefer Tennessee to Kentucky, though! :)

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Guys, settle down before I lock this.

No more caling each other out.

No more bashing states or people from said state.

There is no conspiracy. GM/F/C didn't break the gas pedals in 6+ million Toyotas or the brake systems in 300,000 Priuses/HS250s. Nor did they urge Toyota to cover up the defects for years.

Toyota isn't going anywhere (unfortunately). For every person that is scared to ever buy a Toyota again, there's at least two that aren't the least bit fazed. The worst that could happen to them is they'll sink to #2, #3, or #4.

Should a Toyota plant close, I'd bet on another autmaker buying the plant.

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Well if so called engineers in my workplace think the current events stream is conspiracy against Toyota, then I can understand the town which prospered because of the company feel that way.

People need to open their mind and brain up before making such comments.

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I'll admit calling them a tool is a bit harsh perhaps, even though many use that word quite freely around here, but whatever. YJ, if I came off as overly harsh, I'm sorry.

With that said, it doesn't matter if they are sheriffs, engineers, or scientists, to believe such a thing as it being a Detroit 3 conspiracy is completely absurd if ones thinks for even a moment about it (such as the fact hat all of the automakers benefit, especially Hyundai, oh and Toyota not having many safety issues/recalls is a flat out lie).

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Don't be so sensitive. They've been dealing with this for, what, two weeks? Come back and talk to me when they've been dealing with it for the whole 38 years of their life like I have. My Dad worked for GM (now retired) and I work in the auto industry for a supplier to both foreign and domestic OEM's. I'm an engineer. I've pretty much been on my toes for the last, oh I don't know, 8 years whether or not I'm going to come in and be told that today is my last day. Most of the folks I have worked with for the last 10 years in my current job have already been laid off. My last boss and the last two remaining coworkers from my last assignment are being let go on Monday. I was lucky enough to move to a different area of the company. I've seen a TON of good people along with some crappy ones that have lost their jobs. It's not fun. The business group I work in is being sold and/or eliminated so I have no idea how much longer I'll have a job.

I've lived in Michigan most of my life other than a year and a half in Mississippi. I've seen the devastation first hand that plant closures and company difficulties cause. Having said that, I take no pleasure or delight in the plight of any of those in Kentucky that fear for their jobs. I've been through the stress and continue to go through it on a DAILY basis.

I am, however, happy to see Toyota FINALLY get the same treatment in the media that GM, Ford and Chrysler have gotten for a long time. It's nice to see Toyota finally make the front page instead of their issues being somehow relegated to the back page of section C like it has been in the past. All I really want is to see all the automakers get treated equally. GM, Ford and Chrysler all deserved their bad press and got it. Now it is finally Toyota's turn.

Pretty much everything I wanted to say 2QZs said it for me.

Toyota will hurt, but they will come back, and G town will hang in there.

This automaker battle is far from over, and this is not even counting the coming assault of the chinese.....

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I'll admit calling them a tool is a bit harsh perhaps, even though many use that word quite freely around here, but whatever. YJ, if I came off as overly harsh, I'm sorry.

It's okay. I wasn't being very pleasant earlier either so I was asking for it.

With that said, it doesn't matter if they are sheriffs, engineers, or scientists, to believe such a thing as it being a Detroit 3 conspiracy is completely absurd if ones thinks for even a moment about it (such as the fact hat all of the automakers benefit, especially Hyundai, oh and Toyota not having many safety issues/recalls is a flat out lie).

It is absurd but when a person is starting to see that the sky is falling, sanity isn't exactly prevalent; denial is the first stage then full-blown panic follows. I know Toyota owners that haven't been phased by the recent recalls choose to think the "Detroit Conspiracy Theory" because they want to take a stroll out to the garage and still see a perfect Toyota-branded machine with great resale value. I know that's why my uncle said that. He's bought Toyota cars and trucks for years; the figurative black sheep, if you will, in my extended family which has mostly bought nothing but Domestic cars and trucks for years. He bought a 2010 Highlander even after his '95 Tacoma was bought back during the massive frame rust recall and there's a '98 Camry and a '03 Tundra in the driveway next to that. To think that the resale value is even a half-quarter less on all three of them than they usually would be, especially the Highlander, isn't exactly a very nice reality to come to terms with. Add the ugly reality regarding safety on top of that ...

Toyota supporters and fans are actually facing a reality those of us rooting for the home team haven't had to deal with and, more than likely, won't have to deal with.

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