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Toyota puts U.S. workers on alert: Made-in-Japan Camrys cheaper

Discussion in 'Auto News & Rumors' started by hemirunner426, Nov 20, 2017.

  1. hemirunner426

    Level 2 Supporter

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    Isn't that nice.The herd of koolaid drinking cattle will buy them anyway.
     
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  2. danbek

    danbek Well-Known Member

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    Maybe they can convince them that Camrys are race cars:rolleyes:
     
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  3. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Valued Member
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    UPDATED: 11/20/17 6:25 pm ET - adds details

    Toyota Motor Corp. issued an unsettling warning to Kentucky workers building its top-selling Camry sedan: Cut costs now or face an uncertain future.

    The automaker can build a Camry in Japan, ship it all the way to Kentucky and make more money selling that car than from one built at Toyota's factory in the state, the plant's president told employees in a 2 1/2 minute-long internal video obtained by Bloomberg News.

    "I'm not sharing this to scare you, but to heighten your awareness of the current risk we now have," Wil James, who has managed the plant for more than seven years, said in the video dated this month. He said Toyota isn't planning to close the factory and continues to invest in it for the next 30 years. "But all of this is on the assumption that we can make as much progress in cost reduction and efficiency as we've made in quality and safety."

    The video provides a glimpse into the cost-cutting drive spearheaded by President Akio Toyoda aimed at freeing up resources for a record research-and-development budget. While Toyota is spending heavily to cultivate electrification and artificial intelligence -- technologies that have the potential to transform the auto industry -- the company is squeezing its vaunted production system for more savings.

    Earlier this year, Toyoda set up a cost-saving task force comprised of four executive vice presidents and charged them with ensuring any new outlays are funded from cuts to other programs. James said in the video that Kentucky workers would be hearing more about cost-cutting efforts over the next few weeks.

    Spanning a size equal to 169 football fields, Georgetown is the auto industry's second-largest assembly plant in North America by volume and Toyota's biggest in the world. The company announced a $1.33 billion investment in the factory earlier this year to implement Toyota New Global Architecture, a more flexible production system that's underpinning almost every new model, from Prius hybrids to Toyota Highlander sport utility vehicles.

    Toyota's Tsutsumi plant in Japan had a head start implementing the new production system, which helps explain why it's cheaper to manufacture the Camry there than in Georgetown, said Rick Hesterberg, a company spokesman.

    [​IMG]
    Content From Thomson Reuters
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    "If you can make more profit from a Tsutsumi Camry than a Kentucky-built one, which plant would you pick to build it?" James said in the video message. He told workers they'll learn more about the cost gap and asked for "a lot more ideas to reach parity."

    Political pressure

    The message James delivered shows Toyota's U.S. operations are being included in the company's cost-cutting efforts even during politically sensitive times. President Donald Trump has pressured Toyota and its Japanese peers to locally produce more of the vehicles they sell in America.

    After enduring a Twitter attack in January over its plans to build a factory in Mexico, Toyota let Trump take credit for the investment the company announced in Georgetown in April. Earlier this month, the president praised Toyota and Mazda Motor Corp.'s plan to build a $1.6 billion joint car plant at a still-undecided U.S. site.

    Those projects add to the $45.6 billion in cumulative investment that members of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association have made in the U.S. through last year.

    UAW supporters called Toyota's video an attempt to quell pro-unionizing sentiments at the Kentucky plant, which employs more than 8,000 permanent workers and about 1,500 temporary ones. Joe Smiddy, 43, who works in Georgetown's welding shop, said the video may have had the opposite effect -- encouraging unionization, rather than dissuading it.

    "It actually made people mad," he said. "We've had a spike in the number of people coming to sign union cards."

    UAW's push

    The UAW has largely failed to organize Japanese, German or Korean automakers' U.S. plants. Workers at a Nissan Motor Co. factory in Tennessee voted against joining the union in August following a years-long organizing campaign.

    "With this message Toyota is trying to make the choice not between joining a union or not, but between voting for a union or having a job," said Harley Shaiken, a labor professor at the University of California Berkeley.

    Smiddy is a member of a committee of workers within the plant who are pressing the UAW to arrange a vote for the union to represent Georgetown employees. He declined to say how soon one may be arranged. Brian Rothenberg, a Detroit-based spokesman for the UAW, said he had no immediate comment.

    Hesterberg, the Toyota spokesman, described the video message as routine and said it had no connection with the UAW campaign. "We're here for the long term," Hesterberg said. "In keeping with a long-term mindset, cost competitiveness is always top of mind."
     
  4. MPE426HEMI

    MPE426HEMI Well-Known Member

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    Well......if you put dual exhaust and a spoiler on it!
     
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  5. MPE426HEMI

    MPE426HEMI Well-Known Member

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    Oh, they’ll buy more! Remember, NA=sh*t! Koolaiders would rather they came from the motherland of Japan.
     
    #5 MPE426HEMI, Nov 20, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2017
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  6. pt006

    pt006 Active Member

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    My parents gave me the most powerful and richest country in the world. However, in only two generations, we have turned the US into a colony! I can not even grasp the fact that the relatives of the people that bombed Pearl Harbor and killed so many Americans are now telling us how to live and work. I have 3 in-laws approaching retirement age who have NEVER owned an American car. Americans build the cars, buy the cars, then the Japanese, Germans, and Koreans send the profits back to their fatherland/motherland.

    Didn't we rebel against being a colony over 200 years ago?
     
  7. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    Fine. Make them in Japan. Then watch them rust prematurely as they did in the 70s and early 80s.
    This is very likely scare tactics to put the squeeze on US workers, as Toyota has a reputation for doing. Recall that they defaulted on pensions at the NUMMI plant.
    What is the state of health care costs in Japan vs the US? How much of a difference does that make in the overall cost?
     
  8. MPE426HEMI

    MPE426HEMI Well-Known Member

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    You can't say that stuff anymore. Be tolerant!
     
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  9. MPE426HEMI

    MPE426HEMI Well-Known Member

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    You nailed it Bob.
     
    #9 MPE426HEMI, Nov 21, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
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  10. Lampredi

    Lampredi Active Member

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    Perhaps Camry production would be consolidated in Japan, and RAV4 production would remain in Kentucky?
     
  11. CherokeeVision

    CherokeeVision Well-Known Member

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    So why are costs higher over here?
    Maybe the US plant spends more on quality control and equipment maintenance resulting in a better built product?
     
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  12. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    This could indeed be the prelude to shutting down the US plant (reneging on pensions and benefits) and opening a new plant somewhere else — India, China, Poland...
     
  13. GasAxe

    GasAxe Well-Known Member

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    You would think that in this day and age, any actions against pension and benefits obligations would be illegal or at worst, prohibitively expensive due to litigation. I understand the need to cut manufacturing costs, but I find it reprehensible when corporations treat their legacy costs like some sort of magnanimous give away. Those workers earned it with their service while playing by the company rules.
     
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  14. Bob Lincoln

    Bob Lincoln "CHECK FAULT CODES"
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    Then you must never buy a Toyota, for they have done it deliberately. Each plant is created as a separate company, so I believe it is part of their business plan to stiff workers on pensions and other liabilities.
     
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  15. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    What Bob said.
     
  16. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    Most people seem to think state workers didn't earn it. There are a few blatant abuses of the system but most state workers put in their time, taking lower incomes than in the private sector in exchange for those pensions that some (like our own governor) just don’t fund... and then blame them for being “freeloaders.”

    As for the actions, apparently Toyota is immune. Legally, as Bob said, each factory is a private company, owned by Toyota. I have no idea why the government didn’t go after Toyota on what is obviously a legal fiction; but then, the Supreme Court has decided that corporations are people, (people that can’t go to jail), so ... legal fictions are whatever the courts want them to be.

    Bad time to be “the little guy.” Better time, though, than, say, 1910.
     
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  17. voiceofstl

    voiceofstl Well-Known Member

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    Lets look closer to home. Canada. they have "free" healthcare. Does that factor into labor costs with the UAW in the Canadains plants?
     
  18. redriderbob

    redriderbob Mopar Guru!
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  19. TripleT

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    plant is being converted to make CUVs
     
  20. Lee N. Burns

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    This is correct. I won't go as far as saying it's "part of the business plan", but it's an available option that has been used in the past and as Dave stated; a legal fiction.

    I have stated the policies that disadvantage U.S./Canadian workers for many years. That has earned me names like xenophobic, isolationist, and racist. You might see why I have empathy for elected policy-makers who have earned similar titles for stating the same truth. Then you look around and see the multi-nationalist ties of those who create the titles in mass-media.

    These things I've learned as the result of my own research... In fact, you must do your own research; for as much as it would advantage the UAW to fund and publish similar research, the upper levels of union leadership are too busy paying off their mortgages with worker-training funds to concern themselves. I'm sure that story is helping the recruitment effort in Kentucky. For all that gnashing of teeth, keep in mind that transplant workers also face a ceiling in terms of career advancement. The highest dollar-value-to-economy jobs are not at all proportionally represented in this country.

    Disclosure: I don't work for a transplant company. I work for an OEM that still does the vast majority of its decision-making, procurement, R&D and manufacturing in North America. My boss drives a Toyota.
     
    #20 Lee N. Burns, Nov 22, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
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