Toyota Camry supports three-times more American workers than other top-ranked American cars
The term American-made has more than one definition. While working for a Canadian company, I was told more than once by completely-serious co-workers who were citizens of that country that they were “American” because they lived in North America. To which I would reply “take off you hoser” with a completely straight face. The term is often adopted by those who have an agenda or a point to make. No matter which organization publishes the American-made cars list Toyota’s most popular models always rank high. On the Cars.com list, the Camry is Number one and the Sienna number two. What we keyed in on though was how dominant the Camry is when it comes to the number of American workers supported.
Readers of Torque News may have noticed a story posted recently about the Tundra being the most American-made truck. That ranking was done by the Kogod School of Business at American University in Washington, D.C. I have communicated a few times with the main author of the list and he is a good man with no hidden agenda I can detect. However, he uses a different ranking system that puts other vehicles ahead of the Toyota on the top overall rankings. The tipping point, if you will, for the list he uses has to do with assigning some value to the “Profit and Tax” part of the rankings. In a nutshell, GM and Ford get an extra 6% because they are companies founded here and theoretically, they contribute more to the economy because of the taxes they pay on profits.
There’s only one problem with that. It first assumes there are profits, and then it assumes taxes are paid on those profits. With Ford, that is understandable, with GM, it isn’t. In 2009 when GM was granted a very unusual and unique trip through bankruptcy, GM got an unheard of deal. It was allowed to keep tax deductions based on its prior losses. The upshot is GM does not have to pay federal taxes on its profits if it chooses not to for decades. The other problem is that the bailout of GM cost the American taxpayers many billions in direct losses on the stock that the government held and then sold at a loss. We are not making a judgment on whether those things were good or bad. Just pointing out that in a comparison to Toyota, which is vastly more profitable in modern times than GM, it is a little silly to award GM points for the taxes it pays on profits.
Cars.com does not use this method. Its scale gives heavy weight to the parts manufacturing location, the vehicles’ content of domestic parts, the assembly location, and where the vehicle’s design is done (California for the most part on the Toyota vehicles that top the list). Cars.com also goes to great lengths to point out how many workers are supported by the vehicles on the list. The Camry does not just win that consideration; it crushes the rest of the cars by a ratio of 3 to 1 or more. Give the Cars.com listing a read. They make some very interesting points about what an American car is.