At the height of the recession that nearly wrecked the US auto industry, I remember seeing loads of TV ads from local big three dealers which always ended with the phrase “be American; buy American”. Those dealers and plenty of other people in my social circles were promoting this notion that you weren’t American unless you bought things that were American-made. By “American-made”, the people running those ads really just meant “has an American badge on it… our American badge”.
Turns out, if you actually want to buy an American-made car, you have a lot of options besides what the big three offer. For example, BMW builds the X5 in South Carolina, Kia builds the Sorento in Georgia, Acura builds the NSX in Ohio, and as Toyota wanted me to find out, they build the Tundra and Tacoma in Texas.
That Texas plant was the subject of a recent press trip Toyota brought me on. Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas (TMMTX) is home to almost every pickup Toyota sells in America and the 2,600+ American employees building them really wish you’d stop calling their work “foreign” and “un-American”.
As I found out first hand, Toyota has gone great lengths to make their Tundra and Tacoma some of the most American trucks you can buy. It was an eye-opening experience for me and maybe it will be for you too.
Disclaimer: Toyota was so proud of their North American-produced cars and their TMMTX facility that they flew me out to Texas to go check it all out. Endless shrimp was not provided.
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