Ford, GM, and Ram Owners: Stop Making Excuses and Buy An American Truck
Once again, Cars.com has listed the Toyota Tundra has one of America’s most “American” vehicles, ranking ninth overall. According to domestic content labels provided by Ford, GM, and Chrysler-Fiat, the Tundra uses more parts made in America and Canada than any competing truck. Furthermore, the Tundra is built at a $1.5 billion dollar facility in San Antonio, Texas.
Here are the official domestic content ratings provided by the manufacturers to the US government:
- Tundra – 90% domestic content
- Ram 1500 – 70% domestic content
- Silverado/Sierra – 61% domestic content
- Ford F-150 – 60% domestic content
The question is, why would someone who really cared about American labor buy an F-150, Silverado/Sierra, or Ram 1500?
Excuse #1: The most common excuse for buying a “domestic” truck with only 60-70% of parts coming from the USA is “ya, but the profits stay here,” to which I say, “What profits?” Toyota isn’t exactly burning up the stock market. The strong yen is kiling their profit margins on products made in Japan, and that little earthquake/tsunami you might have heard about hasn’t helped them either.
There’s also the fact that Toyota spent $1.5 billion to build a Tundra factory in Texas. It’s safe to say that it’s going to take Toyota a while to earn a profit on the Tundra.
Excuse #2: “All the overhead (engineers, finance people, etc.) is in Japan – Ford, Chevy, and Chrysler keep it here.” First, I call BS on the idea that Chrysler (which is now officially Chrysler-Fiat) is keeping all their overhead in the USA. If you’ve bought a Ram in the last year, you bought some Italian engineering.
Secondly, so what? Let’s say for sake of argument that Japanese engineers or corporate HR people helped build the Tundra. Mexican laborers help build the F-150, Ram, and GM trucks every day…what’s the difference? Never mind the fact that the Tundra was designed at Toyota USA’s office in California.
Excuse #3: “The domestic content numbers are wrong.” Really? What basis of proof do you have? If so, what do you have to say to this little tidbit from Cars.com:
So why isn’t Detroit fielding more entrants? Blame the parts content and assembly locations…It’s cheaper to build in Mexico, and thanks to 1994’s North American Free Trade Agreement, it comes with little penalty. In 2010, Canadian autoworkers averaged $38.77 an hour in U.S. dollars, including benefits. Their U.S. counterparts averaged $33.46. Mexican autoworkers, in contrast, made just $3.75 an hour…
The reason that Ford, GM, and Chrysler-Fiat have lower domestic parts content is that they’re building their truck parts (such as the HEMI motor) in Mexico.
Excuse #4: “Well, it’s still better for America to buy a ‘domestic’ than it is to buy a Toyota.” Maybe. In some cases (such as most of the Lexus line), there are American-made alternatives. However, when it comes to half-ton trucks, the Tundra is the most American…and it has been for years.
Next time a Ram, GM, or Ford truck owner tells you they wanted to buy an “American” truck, you know what to tell them. If you really want to get their goat, you can put a “proudly made in the USA” bumper sticker on your Tundra.
Filed Under: Auto News