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After snapping at Ford Motor Co.’s heels, Japanese giant Toyota Motor Co.p. may finally overtake its Dearborn rival to become the world’s No. 2 automaker when it announces global sales next week.

Ford reported Thursday that its sales slipped last year by 253,000 units to 6.72 million, slightly below Toyota’s recent forecast for 6.78 million in vehicle sales for 2003.

The global ranking may be largely symbolic, but Ford’s drop to third place after 75 years as No. 2 underscores the challenges the automaker faces in its recovery efforts and the risks of more plant closings.

“For the past 25 years, Toyota has been expanding all over the world. Ford has really focused mostly on North America and Europe,” said Michael Robinet of CSM Worldwide, a forecasting firm in Northville. “I see Toyota passing Ford and sustaining the lead for a very, very long time.”

Last month, Toyota estimated its final 2003 figures would show an increase in global sales of 10 percent, bolstered by record sales of its Lexus and Toyota brands in North America.

Toyota’s U.S. vehicle sales rose 6.3 percent last year, to 1.87 million units, while Ford reported a 3.9 percent drop in U.S. sales, roughly in line with the overall market’s decline.

Rebecca Lindland, a forecaster at Lexington, Mass.-based Global Insight, estimates Toyota’s 2003 sales totalled 6.8 million vehicles, exceeding Ford’s, according to Bloomberg News.


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I'm not pleased by this news, though I'm unclear exactly why that is. And although the margin of victory is pretty slim, it's a victory for Toyota, nonetheless.

In the end, I think it's appropriate that GM considers Toyota its most relevant longterm threat. I can remember a time just a few years back when thinking about Toyota as the number one automaker in the world seemed laughable; now that seems like it may actually be a real possibility.
 

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Americans need to ask where they want their automakers headquarters to be. In the US, or Japan. Forget about assembly lines here and there. It's that simple.
 

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I remember just a few years ago (around 1999) when the thinking was that Ford would overtake GM by around 2010. Oh, how things have changed.

Toyota has been a global competitor for atleast a decade and a half. Anyone who didn't think that Toyota could challenge GM or Ford (in the past 15 years) wasn't studying the automotive industry close enough. I'm sure NOBODY predicted that Toyota would overtake Ford THIS soon.
 

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Originally posted by mason@Jan 23 2004, 03:10 PM
Americans need to ask where they want their automakers headquarters to be.  In the US, or Japan.  Forget about assembly lines here and there.  It's that simple.
The good news is that Ford is planning on moving Focus ZX3 and ZX5 production to Michigan (from Mexico). However, if they weren't, would you still consider them domestics? I'm not sure... IMHO, where the money goes when a car is sold is what matters. Since you have such a strong opinion, maybe you can answer these questions (which I've asked before, but no one has answered):

1. If a "domestic" car is designed in another country, uses mostly parts manufactured in another country, and is assembled in another country, with more of the money from its sale staying in those countries (rather than the USA), is that better for the USA's economy than an "import" that's designed in the USA, uses parts manufactured in the USA, and is assembled in the USA, with more of the money from its sale staying in the USA?

Does it depend on how much of the profits get invested back into the USA's economy and American workers vs how much goes to USA executive bonuses, corporate jets, etc... ?

2. Does anyone know the specific breakdown of where the profit for various manufacturers goes? (cite sources please)

3. How much money do companies like VW, Honda, and Toyota put into the economy in the USA? (in terms of jobs related to R&D, sales, manufacturing, assembly, advertising, etc...) How does this compare to the Big 3? (overall, per-vehicle sold in USA, and per vehicle sales $ total in USA) How much goes towards corporate executive jobs vs other jobs?

4. How much of the money from Japanese/German cars sold in the USA goes towards Japan/Germany? (in any form... be it for R&D, manufacturing, corporate execs, stockholders, etc...)

5. How many of my tax dollars are used to subsidize the big 3? How much towards Toyota, Honda, or VW?

6. How much does the big 3 put into the economies of other countries (manufacturing and/or assembly of many of the big 3's cars doesn't take place here).
 

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Originally posted by deslock@Jan 23 2004, 11:25 AM
3. How much money do companies like VW, Honda, and Toyota put into the economy in the USA? (in terms of jobs related to R&D, sales, manufacturing, assembly, advertising, etc...)
Volkswagen doesn't put much more into the economy than any other import, since they don't produce vehicles in the United States and haven't since the mid 1980s.

Honda, at one time, considered moving their headquarters to the US, since this country is so important to them on a global scale. They have R&D in the US as well as three car/truck manufacturing sites (I don't know how many motorcycle and recreational vehicle plants they have) and an engine plant or two. This doesn't count the one (two actually) Canadian plant and one (low volume) Mexican plant.

Toyota is similar to Honda in that the US is VERY important to their global plans. Toyota sells more cars in the US than Chevrolet or Ford. They have R&D facilities here plus two wholly owned plants, one joint-venture plant, one wholly owned plant being built, plus engine facilities. And then there is the manufacturing complex in Ontario.

By the way, Ford has always built the majority of Focuses for US consumption in Wayne, Michigan. It's just the hatchbacks that are produced in Mexico and will be moved to the US. Ford is using the Mexican plant to produce another upcoming Ford (and Mercury) model.
 

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With the new f-150 out now maybe they can reclaim there#2 status. the new trucks are really nice all truck makers could learn something from the interior.. its the nicest i have ever seen in a truck and most cars to ;)
 

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Originally posted by powervette@Jan 23 2004, 09:11 AM
Americans
stop
buying
japan
junk ! :pain:
Suuuuuuureeeee...that's going to happen.
Frankly, if everyone stopped buy japanese cars, then what would happen to the thousands of AMERICAN workers who build and assemble Japanese cars in the US? I'd rather see the unemployment rate go down than up!

Welcome to globalization people. ;)
 

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Originally posted by Hudson@Jan 23 2004, 10:13 AM
I remember just a few years ago (around 1999) when the thinking was that Ford would overtake GM by around 2010. Oh, how things have changed.

Toyota has been a global competitor for atleast a decade and a half. Anyone who didn't think that Toyota could challenge GM or Ford (in the past 15 years) wasn't studying the automotive industry close enough. I'm sure NOBODY predicted that Toyota would overtake Ford THIS soon.
:blink:
Yup... Ford stumbled. And GM regained its footing. Still, Toyota's got a long way to go to catch GM. If GM can sustain its marketshare or even increase it, there's no way Toyota can catch up without an acquisition.
But you're right.... no one predicted Toyota would overtake Ford. But they're only a couple of thousand cars separating 2nd and 3rd. A lot hinges on Ford's new products.
 

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1. If a "domestic" car is designed in another country, uses mostly parts manufactured in another country, and is assembled in another country, with more of the money from its sale staying in those countries (rather than the USA), is that better for the USA's economy than an "import" that's designed in the USA, uses parts manufactured in the USA, and is assembled in the USA, with more of the money from its sale staying in the USA?
It really all depends on the financial transactions involved. Also depends on the country. Some countries require that money earn in that country from an international firm stay within that country and is reinvested back. Or a certain percentage remains, etc.
Furthermore, it also depends on which number you are looking at -- GDP vs GNP. If a car is designed, engineeered, assembled outside the US, but is sold in the US, the only amount realized in GDP is the value of the car as sold in the US (ie - the amount spent to design, etc. does not count.); however, everythign is counted in GNP, assuming that the design company is US. If everything is US based, then both GDP and GNP will reflect that value. (Gosh I hope I got that right.)

Does it depend on how much of the profits get invested back into the USA's economy and American workers vs how much goes to USA executive bonuses, corporate jets, etc... ?
Yes. I don't know for sure if foreign companies are required to reinvest a certain percentage of their profits earn in teh US back into the US. I'm sure there is some political agenda surrounding it.
But suffice it to say, foreign products that are consumed within the United States does help the US economy.

2. Does anyone know the specific breakdown of where the profit for various manufacturers goes? (cite sources please)
I'm sure that data is out there, most likely protected by an NDA.

3. How much money do companies like VW, Honda, and Toyota put into the economy in the USA? (in terms of jobs related to R&D, sales, manufacturing, assembly, advertising, etc...) How does this compare to the Big 3? (overall, per-vehicle sold in USA, and per vehicle sales $ total in USA) How much goes towards corporate executive jobs vs other jobs?
Most of the R&D for foreign automakers is done in their home country, with a few exceptions. Some have CA design studios. There are quite a bit of foreign manufacturers that have assembly plants in the US, so the amount they spent by establishing the plants and paying the workers, etc. goes directly into the US economy.
To really get a sense of where the money is going, you need to look at their entire value chain and JIT systems. Where are they getting the steel? Is it Japan or from US Steel? Toyota uses GM brakes, so obviously that money goes to GM. Etc etc etc.
Profit margins for both Honda and Toyota are far higher than those realized by GM and Ford -- a couple hundred to a couple thousand PER CAR. Last I looked, only Cadillac and the big GM trucks and SUV's were the only ones capable of realizing a couple thousand dollars per vehicle.

4. How much of the money from Japanese/German cars sold in the USA goes towards Japan/Germany?  (in any form... be it for R&D, manufacturing, corporate execs, stockholders, etc...)
Assuming no required reinvestment back into the US economy and operations or some politial agenda or regulation? 100%.

5. How many of my tax dollars are used to subsidize the big 3? How much towards Toyota, Honda, or VW?
Technically? None. It's forbidden by the WTO. Buuuuut.... GM makes military equipment, most likely at very high profit margins... so the argument can be made that that's a subsidy. And GM was a defense contractor too... so..... you get the picture.

6. How much does the big 3 put into the economies of other countries (manufacturing and/or assembly of many of the big 3's cars doesn't take place here).
Depends on the number of factories GM and Ford control outside the US. Also depends on what kind of foreign investment they have. Do they fully control the entitiy? Or are an alliance partner. Also it's dependent on the contracts. Also depends on the country.
 

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Actually those Americans deserve to be out of work for not having the cajones for unionizing. The imports don't have unions, and because of this they put signifcantly less money into the economy, when comparing worker to worker.

And you people who don't understand economics can stop complaining about the high union salaries now. Yes, it seems ridiculous for a man to be paid 20+ dollars an hour to bolt a fender on, and it probably is ridiculous. But as Japanese sticker prices show, you will NOT be paying less money for your car if that worker is not in a union. I will repeat that. You will NOT pay less if your car is not union made. Last I checked Accords and Camries sticker considerably HIGHER than Malibus.

So the upshot is the American companies' union workers are buying a whole crapload more consumer goods and services than the import's domestic worker. You do the math. Our economy runs on people buying consumer goods and services. Should all the American automaker's workers disappear tomorrow we would have huge problems sustaining our economy.

No, I am not in a union. I am a salaried professional, if you must know. However, it is self-evident that everyone's job and salary will suffer if people continue supporting companies that give the least back in the form of worker's wages and then send the rest of the money overseas.

So please people, GM and to a lesser extent Ford have been trying to produce cars that equal or exceed standards set by imports. In more cases than not, they have been successful. Not only do most of their cars at least match the specifications of their import competitor, they cost thousands less, and the dealers will probably knock off some $$ too. So do yourself and us all a favor and buy domestic!! :D
Okay, I'll put the soapbox away. I just want the economy to work for the next 40 years. I'm only 24 and I've got a looong way to go until I can retire :(
 

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Originally posted by banzai79@Jan 23 2004, 05:00 PM
Actually those Americans deserve to be out of work for not having the cajones for unionizing. The imports don't have unions, and because of this they put signifcantly less money into the economy, when comparing worker to worker.

And you people who don't understand economics can stop complaining about the high union salaries now. Yes, it seems ridiculous for a man to be paid 20+ dollars an hour to bolt a fender on, and it probably is ridiculous. But as Japanese sticker prices show, you will NOT be paying less money for your car if that worker is not in a union. I will repeat that. You will NOT pay less if your car is not union made. Last I checked Accords and Camries sticker considerably HIGHER than Malibus.

So the upshot is the American companies' union workers are buying a whole crapload more consumer goods and services than the import's domestic worker. You do the math. Our economy runs on people buying consumer goods and services. Should all the American automaker's workers disappear tomorrow we would have huge problems sustaining our economy.

No, I am not in a union. I am a salaried professional, if you must know. However, it is self-evident that everyone's job and salary will suffer if people continue supporting companies that give the least back in the form of worker's wages and then send the rest of the money overseas.

So please people, GM and to a lesser extent Ford have been trying to produce cars that equal or exceed standards set by imports. In more cases than not, they have been successful. Not only do most of their cars at least match the specifications of their import competitor, they cost thousands less, and the dealers will probably knock off some $$ too. So do yourself and us all a favor and buy domestic!! :D
Okay, I'll put the soapbox away. I just want the economy to work for the next 40 years. I'm only 24 and I've got a looong way to go until I can retire :(
While I believe that no American should be out of work, it is most likely the case. The fact that GM, Ford, and Chrysler have a very heavy union burden practically gives them a non-compete with the Japanse and other foreign manufacturer.
They can make cars for far cheaper, but what kind of corner are cut to affect those prices? Do we really need 5-6 vehicles based on GMT360 or is it to meet some part of a UAW contract??
If GM, Ford, or DCX didn't have the hefty union weights on their shoulder, they could still under cut the Japanese in price, while not cutting as many corners, which means far better build quality, more differentiated interiors, better perceived quality, AND higher profit margins.
I don't know the number of foreign manufacturers are under UAW contract. Nor do I know the terms of those contracts, if they do exist.
The fact that Accords and Camry's have higher prices than the competition is because THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT. We silly Americans are going to pay this amount because we "know" the Accord and Camry are very high quality cars; they're reliable and *never* breakdown; most of all, they are proven cars! So Toyota and Honda can charge a premium, when in reality, they really are no different than a Malibu or a Grand Am, etc.
But here's the interesting thing, although Malibu and Grand Am may come with heavy discounts and 0% financing, GM will take a hit on the car side, but will experience a boom on the financing (GMAC) side -- which is exactly what happened. Miss a payment and the 0% immediately rockets to some ridiculous percentage. *cha ching* Does nothing to help GM's market share standings, but it does help the bottom line. :lol:

Anyways....I know there are other intangibles out there, but the union is definitely playing a significant part of this.
 

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Miss a payment and the 0% immediately rockets to some ridiculous percentage. *cha ching* Does nothing to help GM's market share standings, but it does help the bottom line.
No it doesn't. Interest rate stays at 0% thru the life of the contract.
 

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Originally posted by trichevy@Jan 23 2004, 07:13 PM
Miss a payment and the 0% immediately rockets to some ridiculous percentage. *cha ching* Does nothing to help GM's market share standings, but it does help the bottom line.
No it doesn't. Interest rate stays at 0% thru the life of the contract.
Then the fineprint has changed since I've taken a look at it.
 

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Now it makes sense! I knew if I searched hard enough I could find an article that could spin the issue in Ford's favor! :p

Detroit (AP): ...Sales figures do not include vehicles sold by affiliates in which an automaker holds a stake of less than 50 percent, Matsumoto said.

Adding sales by Mazda Motor Corp. - which is 33 percent owned by Ford - to the total of the Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker would make it larger than Toyota, he said. Mazda sold 1.02 million vehicles in its most recent fiscal year.

Toyota's sales results include those for truck and bus maker Hino Motors and Daihatsu Motor Co. Toyota owns 51.1 percent of Daihatsu and 50.1 percent of Hino. Ford's tally includes its brands Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Aston Martin, Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover.

GM maintained its firm hold as the world's largest automaker in 2003 by selling 8.6 million vehicles - a position analysts say it should keep for the foreseeable future because of its large global presence and aggressive strategies in emerging markets such as China."
 

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Miss a payment and the 0% immediately rockets to some ridiculous percentage. *cha ching* Does nothing to help GM's market share standings, but it does help the bottom line.
You shouldn't be stupid enough to miss a payment in the first place. If you can't afford the payments, maybe you should wait a while before getting a new car. Or, check out these things called "used cars".
 

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Originally posted by Jeffff@Jan 24 2004, 12:50 AM
Miss a payment and the 0% immediately rockets to some ridiculous percentage. *cha ching* Does nothing to help GM's market share standings, but it does help the bottom line.
You shouldn't be stupid enough to miss a payment in the first place. If you can't afford the payments, maybe you should wait a while before getting a new car. Or, check out these things called "used cars".
Believe me... there are a LOT of people out there who will do wacky things. I used to work at a leasing company.. and I remember seeing someone pay $18K for a Ford FESTIVA!!!!

People go in for the 0% financing and then something out of the blue happens... lose a job, forget the pay, etc. ANd the interest goes UP UP UP. I remember reading the fine print on one of those 0% financing deals and it stated pretty much that. The fineprint may have changed, but I wouldn't be surprised if it didn't.

I'm not in the market for a car at the moment, but when I am, I pay cash... all of it. NO need for me to be in debt, paying some interest rate over 12-24-36 months and end up paying $10K more than the car's MSRP. Forget it. EVen with 0% financing... I'd still pay it all up front.
 

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:blink:
A reporter on CNN stated that there was no real way for Toyota to reach GM's #1 status for sometime to come, seeing as Toyota would have to increase sales to over 8M. And since GM is now ressurgent and actually does incremental market share increases and is being extremely aggressive in new markets like China, there's no way for Toyota to catch GM if GM just sustains what it's doing and continues to gain momentum.
 

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Originally posted by mgescuro@Jan 24 2004, 07:46 PM
:blink:
A reporter on CNN stated that there was no real way for Toyota to reach GM's #1 status for sometime to come, seeing as Toyota would have to increase sales to over 8M. And since GM is now ressurgent and actually does incremental market share increases and is being extremely aggressive in new markets like China, there's no way for Toyota to catch GM if GM just sustains what it's doing and continues to gain momentum.
Never say never...
 
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