Toyota: America's Car Company

katsuakiwatanabe toyota tbi

A new study from sheds light on the absurdity of thinking cars have a “nationality.”

When you consider that even a post-bailout GM will expand its use of foreign labour, it shouldn’t be that hard to understand how an “American” car isn’t really so, just because its maker was founded in Detroit.

And more generally, there seems to be little reason to think that American cars are really more American in any metrics that matter: Namely, labour and parts inputs.

According to the new survey, the most American car in America is the Toyota Camry, containing the highest percentage of American inputs, even surpassing the Ford F-150. Actually, Toyota utterly dominates the top 10 list, with a Honda thrown in for good measure.

Now some might object to this, saying that even though these cars are “made-in-America”, the value still flows overseas, but really, even that’s not right. Toyota still pays taxes in America. Its stock is traded in the US, and is no doubt owned by individual retail accounts and mutual funds.

If you insist on coming up with some definition of “American” that limits that moniker to the Big Three, we suppose it’s this: Only Chrysler, Ford and GM have the political clout to win a bailout if needed. We really can’t imagine Toyota or Honda receiving so much political support. Of course, this is a circular definition that still doesn’t say much, but it’s the best you can do.

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