On the politics of buying a Toyota pickup in the Heartland


Yesterday I purchased a 2013 Toyota Tundra. This followed my previous five Ford F-150s in a row. In fact, I have driven a pickup since I was a senior in high school and every one was an F-150.

I drove my last F-150 for nearly 11 years. It was as fine a vehicle as I have ever owned. Still, I decided to go with the Tundra this time for a few reasons: styling, price and, frankly, I wasn’t in the mood to reward the UAW following their performance in Michigan this month.

Pickup trucks are kind of a big deal in Iowa. I took some crap at work and gentle ribbing from family. I heard “rice burner” several times and was asked if it runs on sake.

The reality is that it was assembled in San Antonio, Texas by American labor. My documentation says it was made with 81 percent United States originated parts. Fords are similar in composition. Compare that to the “American made” Dodge Ram, all of which are assembled in Mexico.

When I told my antagonist this he said, “yeah, but it is a Japanese owned company.” Even that isn’t true. Toyota Motor Corporation is a publicly traded company. It is owned by people all over the world. If you have a mutual fund in an IRA or 401K, you might own Toyota. When Toyota profits, owners around the world benefit… including millions of owners in the United States.

So it comes down to the executive leadership. The executive management of Toyota is in Japan and that of Ford is in Dearborn, Michigan. It isn’t clear to me why, however, I am supposed to have some kind of a patriotic loyalty to wealthy executives in Dearborn.

Frankly, I would buy a car that fits my needs and is a good value if it was assembled in Osaka of 100 percent Japanese originated parts. I believe in international trade and know, for an absolute certainty, that trade protectionism is a net loss in the aggregate.

Ironically, my antagonist at work finally revealed much when he said this: “You know what the bad thing is? You could drive that truck for 300,000 miles.” Yep. Bad for Toyota’s competitors but not bad for me.

Still, it was a tough call. Ford makes a fine truck and I have no complaints with my last one. I was really a 50/50 proposition. In the end, the tie-breaker was the behavior of UAW goons in Lansing, Michigan. I looked for the Union Label. Ford had one, Toyota didn’t. Toyota it was.

Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to On the politics of buying a Toyota pickup in the Heartland

  1. R.D. Walker says:

    Naturally, GM didn’t even enter into the equation.

  2. James says:

    If everyone bought Ford, Ford would become complacent, and the company would produce weaker products. When Ford knows that potential customers are comparison shopping, Ford will pay attention to details. Ford would certainly understand customer thinking if exectuves receive letters with explanations.
    Because of union problems, I would not identify who I was.

  3. Uke says:

    Here’s hoping someone in the leadership of Ford Motor Company reads this blog, eh? πŸ™‚

  4. BigJimTX says:

    I have many friends that work at the Tundra plant. It is an awesome facility and Toyota is a great company to work for. They are not union but they pay competitively. Many mechanics I know left the shops to get on the assembly line and they started off at $22+/hr., which is well above average pay for San Antonio. When Japan was hit and Fukushima was damaged, the line shut down for a while and Toyota paid their employees for training until it reopened. I have been a GM guy my entire life, but my next truck will be a Toyota if they come out with a heavy duty series. Otherwise it will have to be Ford.

  5. rj says:

    nice truck, I been drivein ford all my life, and my f250 will probably be the last one I buy, but if I was in market for gas truck I’d consider toyota, all I hear about them is good

  6. messup says:

    First car was a 1937 Ford two door. Next was a 1940 Ford Cabriolet (that’s a two door, convertible). And on and on.
    Today’s Ford will sell a product, service their product and maintain their product with disdain, ho-hummm attitude and “customer be damned” attitude. If a recall was issued for whatever, and a customer didn’t get it, and later discovered it on Ford’s technical bulletin web site (alot of “search and research”), apprising Ford of this issue asking for them to honor it years later…response!!! Tough!!! Pay for it.!

    Did you know, old man Ford in the 1920’s(see he was a sympathizer) went to Germany, met with Der Fuhrer who needed funding for his Third Reich “Brown Shirts,” advanced (then)$50,000.00 US dollars for “Der” to supply his newly minted “Brown Shirts” with button-down, long sleeve shirts???
    Yeah! Later, in the 1930’s Old Man Ford ceeded to “Der” a much needed funding of $500,000 US dollars for weapons, equipment and “misc.” designed to keep floating this bizzare “Der’s” folly.

    Imagine if Old Man Ford hadn’t given “Der” any of his askings, would history have been different??? You betcha sweet patootie!

    Yes! Toyota Tundra is the alternative…time to stop this We The Elite People of Culture of Corruption in Washington DC. Greed, Power and corruption. Pray. Amen.

  7. Fubar says:

    Kudos to you, as owner of a repair garage, you know what we see least of? Toyota and Nissan. I’m not sure if it’s because they break down less or owners go to dealers. (out here in the sticks we are really far from a dealership, but most people commute to a city )

    we are diehard ford owners, but secretly i like

    psst, don’t tell mr. fubar

  8. notamobster says:

    Yep. Look for the union label.

  9. trebor snoyl says:

    Our local police department is in the process of replacing their Ford Crown Victorias with Chevrolet Impalas, assembled in Australia, according to the local paper. Apparently the model they wanted was not availabe in the U.S. I’m amazed and astonished. What happened to Obama’s, “Keeping jobs in America?”

  10. dukkaA says:

    Awsome! However, I am a Ford Management and I work at a Ford Truck plant so its tough for me to comment…but I do like giving my money to wealthy American executives.

  11. ventucky local says:

    I drive an ’06 Tundra and it is a great “road truck”. My problem with this rig is it is a lousy “load truck”. It has plenty of power and the bed and body are durable but the suspension is a weak sister compared to the F-150 I was using before the company gave me the Toyota. Maybe the newer rigs are more heavily sprung? Most of my life these days is spent hauling tractor parts around California farm country and none of my customers use Tundras for the same load hauling issues. Nice rig when I have 600 lbs or less in it though.

    • R.D. Walker says:

      Might be some truth to that. My last F-150 had the expanded payload capacity. It could haul a heavy load. Of course I paid for that the 99.7% of the time that I don’t haul a heavy load in a much rougher ride. This truck definitely has a smoother ride.

  12. Ray Davies says:

    New Truck, be careful about getting dirt on it.

  13. Pirate Morgan says:

    similar story, I bought “American Made” jeans about a year ago, they fell apart after two washings, never again, I look for quality and price, let the union workers rot in hell.

  14. serfer62 says:

    I quit buying “American” cars in the 80s when I saw where the union dues were going…to the Kommiecrats