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.