Toyota Motor’s new Highlander sport utility vehicle should start rolling off the assembly line at a new $1.3 billion plant in northeast Mississippi by 2010, company and state officials have said.

The new plant will manufacture 150,000 Highlanders a year. It also will create 2,000 badly needed jobs in an area with an economy that has slowed.

Also, the company will start producing Camrys at a Subaru plant in Lafayette, Indiana. Toyota also has four engine plants in North America.

The announcement comes after a slump in the American car industry with Ford reporting increasing losses and Daimler-Chrysler cutting 13,000 jobs at its plants across North America.

Two of the Highlander models will be hybrids, btw. Something that Chrysler still hasn’t figured out — and GM lies about.



  1. Mister Justin says:

    So, will the American workers engage in a subversive plot to bring the quality of the vehicles down from the inside? (touches nose)

  2. Ryan Vande Water says:

    #1 – No, because they will likely be well-paid, non-union workers that know better than to sh!t where they eat.

    They will also realize that Toyota is just as “American” as any of the big 3, even if the name does sound “furren”

  3. JT says:

    It’s pretty amazing that Toyota can efficiently build vehicles with only 2,000 workers per assembly plant. With 8 assemble plants in the United States, that is roughly 16,000 non-union Toyota employees cranking out all of their North American production. Contrast that to Chrysler which is cutting 13,000 union employees just to bring their production in line with reduced sales. It’s pretty obvious that Toyota gets more productivity out of their non-union employees than the BIG three get from their UAW workers. If these UAW workers were so good and worth their pay, why wouldn’t Toyota and other Japanese auto manufactures locate their assemble plants in Michigan and Ohio to take advantage of these skilled out of work auto workers?

  4. moss says:

    Interesting to see the Camry/Subaru connection. If Toyota could help Subaru slip away from GM’s influence, they could take a car that feels like the niche that Volvo filled — back when they were in the affordable end of the price spectrum — and make that niche more like a chunk.

    Shed the superchargers and offer options like diesels, diesel or gas-hybrids — and continue to clean GM’s clock.

  5. moss says:

    #3 — you should know by now that wages and benefits for Toyota employees are almost identical to those in the Big 3 (that’s becoming a misnomer isn’t it?) — especially starting pay when you’re getting hired instead of laid off.

    The productivity reflects not only smarter engineering; but, that old saw that made organizing every union possible — dignity. When you’re treated like someone who’s participating in production — instead of a meaningless cog — there’s a significant difference in how you approach the day’s tasks. You can’t organize happy workers.

    Japan went through the same unionization for the same reasons as the US — especially after WW2. Manufacturers in Japan learned from the experience. Big 3 executives didn’t.

  6. Mister Justin says:

    2,

    Do you really think it’s the UNION to blame and not the company? You get the government you choose (well, most of the time) so it lends itself to saying that the company gets the business it deserves. US cars are shit and have been shit for a long time. And I don’t think it’s the Unions fault.

  7. Mike Randall says:

    Say, why aren’t workers back home in Nippon protesting the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs to low-wage America? Where is the Japanese Lou Dobbs? And is the American Lou Dobbs chalking up a victory in his “war on the middle class”?

    The Japanese, for all their oddities, understand that global trade benefits them.

  8. Floyd says:

    If I remember correctly, Toyota’s workers are UAW members. The difference is that Toyota managers and workers actually talk to each other, and they work together to build better vehicles. My Tacoma is American made, and has been a fine vehicle.

  9. MikeN says:

    I thought American workers were too dumb, and that the economy is sinking. Why would Toyota invest money here?

  10. Frank says:

    “Japan went through the same unionization for the same reasons as the US — especially after WW2. Manufacturers in Japan learned from the experience. Big 3 executives didn’t.”

    Unions share responsibility for the fate of the Big 3, but IMO it’s American style MBA management that’s the major cause. I work at a university and the 2 major disservices higher ed has done to this country are the colleges of education and MBA programs.

  11. catbeller says:

    Unions existed for fifty years at the auto plants, and somehow the companies made fat profits and sold cars.

    The companies didn’t need to get rid of unions to survive; they got rid of them to make a load more money — for a little while. And the elimination of the pension funds is pure theft by the companies.

    The japanese auto workers make the same as ours, maybe more. Even the ones working in the US.

    The American auto companies are dying because they stupidly keep trying to build cars to satisfy auto nuts longings for batmobiles and tanks, long after the rest of the world moved on. And somehow the japanese and korean companies makes tons of cash, do great R&D, and pay their workers like humans, with bennies.

    And of course it’s the workers’ fault that we failed, because they wanted to be paid enough to buy a house. How many houses do the board of directors own, I mean, how many each? Let’s try cutting their salaries.

    It’s not that they didn’t have cars that could make money. They consistently refused to manufacture them. I’d buy an Impact in a heartbeat. They crushed them all.

  12. JT says:

    #8 – If you go to the “UAW MADE” website:

    http://www.uaw.org/uawmade/cartruck2006.cfm

    They do list the Toyota Corolla and Tacoma. They must be making some inroads but they’ve got a long way to go.

  13. undissembled says:

    Toyota trucks kick ass

  14. MikeN says:

    Umm when the companies were profiting with the unions they didnt have to worry about retired union member pensions. They just promised those generous benefits when times were good, but never set aside the money to make the payments.

  15. Nth of the 49th says:

    Where are all the PARTS that are being put together to make vehicles in these Toyota plants being made is what people always forget to ask.

    Would it be ???? Japan.

  16. TheGlobalWarmer says:

    As long as the vehicles are BIG and encourage more driving and more urban sprawl who cares who makes them?

  17. Mike says:

    #11, what the rest of the world is driving is of very little relevance when you are trying to sell cars to Americans. And I’m sure it was easy to earn those fat profits when the US economy was much more isolated from foreign competition that what it is today. As it is, the US auto industry has had to rely on past government bailouts and protectionism just to find themselves in the pathetic situation they currently enjoy.

    Of course management gets a lot of the blame when talking about the US auto industry, but labor must also accept its share. Controlling variable costs is one of the key tools a company has in order to manage its losses when it finds itself in periods of unfavorable market conditions, and labor is normally the largest single variable costs it has; yet because of union contracts, these manufacturers were forced to pay salaries regardless if a plant was shut down and any cars were being produced. In fact, they actually have had to buy these workers out just to be able to stop paying for labor that was no longer needed.

    Nobody says it’s wrong to ask for more money… everybody wants more money. But strong-arming companies into paying unreasonable benefits, such as life-time healthcare benefits which have proven to be crushing liabilities to Ford and GM, is part of what has given unions a bad name in more recent times. And for all of these benefits extracted by labor, what have consumers gotten? Not only were American cars poorly designed for years, but they were poorly assembled as well. There is even the old joke about how you don’t want to buy a car that was built on Monday.

  18. Jeff says:

    “Where are all the PARTS that are being put together to make vehicles in these Toyota plants being made is what people always forget to ask.”

    Mostly America. Check out the following article:

    http://www.mindfully.org/Industry/2006/Ford-Mustang-Patriotic11may06.htm

    The Sienna had 90% of its parts made in Indiana. The Mustang only had 65% of its parts made in America.

  19. Mister Justin says:

    17
    Not only were American cars poorly designed for years, but they were poorly assembled as well.

    You could have started and stopped with that one line. You have bad design and bad production, and you think labour costs are the problem?

  20. OhForTheLoveOf says:

    #15 – Where are all the PARTS that are being put together to make vehicles in these Toyota plants being made is what people always forget to ask.

    Would it be ???? Japan.

    Comment by Nth of the 49th — 2/28/2007 @ 9:56 am

    When I bought my first Toyota Corrola (which lasted 15 years without any serious mechanical issues) in 1990 in Dayton, Ohio. When I popped the hood, lo and hehold there was a battery and a radiator made by Delco in… wait for it… Dayton, Ohio.

    Sure, people need food around the world, so let’s quit begrudging them thier jobs. But its just not true that all parts are made overseas. And Toyota builds the cars in the US and that’s a damn sight more than American auto makers do…

    I say, fuck Detroit… I will never buy an American car, not only because the foriegn based companies are better, but because buying foriegn actually employes Americans.

    #17 – what the rest of the world is driving is of very little relevance when you are trying to sell cars to Americans.

    That will change. Our economy is desperately ill. Hold on tight.

  21. bill says:

    I’ll never buy another US car. I’ll just keep driving my Porsche until it’s a ‘real classic’. (just like me)

  22. moss says:

    #15 — who cares where the parts are made as long as they are up to spec?

    I still chuckle when I recall a confrontation with a Harley-riding buddy of mine who whined all the time about “rice-burners”. I bet him $100 he couldn’t get his all-American hawg to run if I took off the Japanese parts on it.

    Easiest money I ever made. I quit after the first couple of removals turned his hot bike into a very heavy push scooter.

  23. Nth of the 49th says:

    ” who cares where the parts are made as long as they are up to spec?”

    The point is that corporations get huge tax breaks to build factories in different areas. If they are getting tax break for hiring people in an area but in reality are doing the majority of their manufacturing in another country and merely trucking in parts to assemble them. Then they are not helping , they are just taking advantage of tax breaks for more profit while at the same appearing as if they are “helping” a community etc.


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