We were at the National Press Club yesterday to hear Toyota North America President Jim Press talk about his company, the auto industry at large and the road ahead. Toyota is a good NAM member and we were glad to be there and hear what he had to say. No doubt about it, they are having a good run with, as he said, the #1 selling passenger car in the US (Camry), the #1 selling luxury car (Lexus) and the #1 hybrid (Prius). Not bad. Over 60% of the cars they sell in the US are made in the US.
As for their contribution to the US economy, Toyota now has 9 plants, and directly employs over 32,000 people., Throw in another 177,000 employed with dealers and suppliers. The Center for Automotive Research estimates that Toyota directly or directly creates over 400,000 US jobs. So much for outsourcing — insourcing is the new normal. Corporate-wide, they spend over $22 million a day on research and development.
During the Q & A, someone asked what are the three top factors in deciding where to locate a plant. Press said there were no hard and fast rules, but did highlight logistics, proximity of workforce, ability of workforce and proximity to the supplier base as important factors. These are the themes that come up again and again — and are the same all over the world. It’s not wages that drive these decisions, it’s a ready workforce and proximity to customers and suppliers.
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