>Toyota Passes Ford in Sales

>As reported in this article, Toyota is now the #2 seller of automobiles in the United States, surpassing Ford.

A brief Google search led me to this site: OICA, and the listings of the world’s biggest automakers. Here is a brief summary of the Top 5 (from 2006):

  1. General Motors: 8.926 million units
  2. Toyota: 8.036 million units
  3. Ford: 6.268 million units
  4. Volkswagen: 5.684 million units
  5. Honda: 3.669 million units

The next largest U.S. automaker is Chrysler, coming in at 2.544 million units.

The U.S. auto industry stirs considerable emotion, due to the introduction of foreign autos in the 1970s, the restructuring of the U.S. auto industry, and the construction of foreign-owned and U.S. staffed production facilities.

In researching the automakers, I can across several Feedback-type postings of people lamenting the fall of the U.S. automaker, how U.S. citizens are traitors to their nation by buying foreign automobiles, etc.

Many U.S. are gainfully employed by these automakers. True, wages are not as high as they once were, but the wages are still good, benefits still available, and the product produced still high-quality. Secondly, even automobiles produced by U.S. automakers are not truly U.S.-made autos. Where was your Chevy Avalanche made? Mexico. Where was your Pontiac GTO made? Australia. How about your PT Cruiser? Also, Mexico. The new Ford Fusion is also made in Mexico.

But what about those cars made in wholly in the U.S.? If you drive a Ford Escape, about 35% of the parts making up that auto came from outside the United States/Canada. A Ford Mustang is about 70% American. In comparison, a Toyota Camry, made in Kentucky, is about 75% American. A Nissan Altima, made in MS or TN, is about 65% American.

We, as Americans, tend to want the best value for our dollar. Corporations tend to want to enhanced profitability for both themselves and keep their stockholders happy, so seek to find that balance between quality of product and cost. This is oversimplification, but the relationship here is extremely dynamic and constantly in a state of flux. Besides value, psychology also plays a large role here, in the perceptions that consumers have regarding brands and perceived quality. Additionally, there may also be cultural forces at work, as well.

While it is possible to make a close-to-100% American auto (Ford Expedition-95%), the American consumer market forces, coupled with global economics, tend to work against that reality.

(The source for most of my information was derived from a USA Today article, dated March 22nd, 2007)

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