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When the Big Three auto makers meet President Bush, should Toyota be there?

Tuesday, 27 Mar 2007 | 8:34 AM ET
Chrysler Group President and Chief Executive Officer Tom LaSorda, left, General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner, center, and Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, right, speak to the media outside the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006, after they met with President Bush.  (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)
Ron Edmonds
Chrysler Group President and Chief Executive Officer Tom LaSorda, left, General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Rick Wagoner, center, and Ford Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, right, speak to the media outside the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006, after they met with President Bush. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

"Absolutely Toyota should be in that meeting. As far as I am concerned, after buying three of their cars which were fantastic and trouble free from a US Toyota in NJ, that they are as American as the 'Big 3.' They have invested tremendously in this country for many years and continue to be a model for US companies to follow. They are the company that has invested in ethanol. They have produced a fantastic car that is priced accordingly for our middle class. They are truly the 'best of breed!' -- Claudia D. NYC

"Yes, Toyota and Honda. All auto makers face the same problems, even though Toyota and Honda have coped much better. Perhaps the “Big Three” could learn some things." -- Charles B., New Hampshire

Considering the fact that Toyota is the leader in hybrid vehicles and builds over one million vehicles in the U.S., it really should be included in the meeting.” -- Chris B., Illinois


“Yes. Toyota is a major part of the U.S. auto industry and hires America workers, and builds plants here.” -- Paul W., California


“In view of the number of American workers employed by Toyota and the trend set by their quality and performance, it would be good business sense to have a leader in the industry included." -- B Johnston

“Absolutely, And Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Kia, Suzuki, Volvo, BMW, and Volkswagen. … We need a bigger goal than 20% by 2012. The U.S. needs to reduce oil consumption by 40% by 2012 to truly be “energy independent”. Glen, Texas

Certainly not. Toyota is a Japanese company.” -- William S., Texas

I would include Toyota in the mix. They build a vast number of cars in the U.S. utilizing U.S. labor and provide a quality product." -- Mitch M., North Carolina

"Yes, Toyota should be present. Toyota is the Wal-Mart of the automotive industry. They also have production facilities in the states and are building a new one. They are extremely efficient and have streamlined their processes to produce affordable, inexpensive, top quality cars. The Big Three could learn something from Toyota. If any automobile company is going to produce a low emission, environmentally friendly car, it's going to be Toyota and then others will follow. They are just grasping at straws to redeem their sinking sales.” -- Rae M., Arizona

"Should Toyota be part of the meeting with Bush? Well, that depends. Is this a meeting about alternative fuels like ethanol and BioDiesel, or is this a meeting about saving the US auto manufactures from imminent bankruptcy? It's funny that some say Toyota should not be at the meeting because they are a 'foreign' company even though they build vehicles here with American workers. If this is the case, then Ford also should not be there because they own Volvo and Jaguar. GM should not be there because they own SAAB and other foreign brands. By blocking Toyota and other foreign auto companies from attending, they are discriminating against all of the American workers who work at these factories. And, this is NOT an important meeting anyway. They are mainly focusing on ethanol which gets 33%+ LESS MPG than gasoline. BioDiesel doesn't have this drawback, or other drawbacks, that ethanol/E85 has. This meeting is just for show, and to make news. They aren't serious about a true alternative fuel when they focus on ethanol. And, if the REAL goal is to make a significant reduction in our use of imported oil/fuel, why would we block the foreign auto companies from attending who sell more vehicles combined in the US then just the domestics? Clearly, the goal isn't about 'alternative fuels'." -- Jeff S., Washington

More Comments

"Toyota should be there, there are more Toyota's on the road in this country than Ford, GM or Chrysler. What good will it do us in 10 years when the 'Big 3' are pumping out ethanol cars and the Japanese have cars that run on trash converted to fuel, back to the future style? Ethanol is not the answer, Ethanol is something else the government can tax that we have to use to go back and forth to work, the only thing it does is drop dependency on foreign oil. You can't tax solar or electric energy, so Ethanol is our answer. Oh and it has 30% less fuel economy btw." -- Cory W.

"Absolutely, Toyota should be actually one be of the 'Big Three.' We should change that Big Three to 'Big Four' if there is a true meaning of global economy, which we all know that the Big Three are huge players globally, Bush should consider inviting Toyota." -- Al W. R., MA

"Absolutely, Toyota and every manufacturer that produces cars in or for the U.S. market should be included. We are delusional about the 'Big Three' in that more than half of most of their cars are manufactured in Mexico, Korea, Japan, Brazil or Europe. We need to compete on a global scale with everyone involved and George Bush should treat all them equally." -Robert K., Lebanon, Ohio

"In the beginning there were many and several auto makers; Studebaker is an example. What happened to them? Where are they now? Can you buy a new Oldsmobile? What are we afraid of? If we can't compete on a global basis then we deserve to lose the shrinking three. I hear that their cost and our cost are much out of line. I first saw an innovative vehicle while visiting St. Bart some years ago and was so intrigued that I researched it online and found that I could buy this 'Smart Car' in another country for less than $5000 USD but could not bring it to America because it had not passed all the tests and wouldn't meet our safety standards. Now it is coming to America for greater than $15,000 loaded with all the garbage required. Between all of the requisite add-ons and taxes and tariffs, I wonder why we can't compete. Level the playing field, get rid of the fat unions and ask the auto workers to put in an honest day without all of the collective overhead." -- Bill C., Oklahoma

"Yes, Toyota should be present. Toyota is the Wal-Mart of the automotive industry. They also have production facilities in the states and are building a new one in MS. They are extremely efficient and have streamlined their processes to produce affordable, inexpensive, top quality cars. The 'Big Three" could learn something from Toyota. If any automobile company is going to produce a low emission, environment friendly car, it's going to be Toyota and then others will follow. They are just grasping at straws to redeem their sinking sales." -- Rae M., AR

"Of course. Toyota is trending to be the dominant force in the auto industry. The U.S. might as well get used to it and start recognizing the facts. The problem is there is no true leadership here. What we have, and have had here for years is a bunch of silver-spoon born brats trying to cover each other's a****. All they care about is maintaining an affluent lifestyle for themselves AND their children and so on." -- Zeke P.

"No, we should be concerned with American companies; the Japanese don’t care about America. Most of their profits go back to Japan and leave crumbs to us. They name an American to head the Toyota North America as a figurehead; he has no power, just for ecstatic purposes. They do the majority of their business in the US with companies they either own or have a major interest in. They live under different rules than the domestic auto companies. They pay very little toward worker retirements, health benefits and avoid the unions like the plague." -- Dave B.

"I would include Toyota in the mix, they build a vast number of cars in the USA utilizing USA labor and provide a quality product. If we excluded Toyota because they weren’t a 'USA' company we should ask the big USA auto companies how many cars, if any, or car parts, are manufactured by foreign labor as a percentage of all manufacturing utilizing the USA labor force. I think you would find that Toyota builds more cars and parts in the USA than any one of the major USA brands." -- Mitch M., North Carolina

"Yes, Toyota should be there, that way the three auto makers can learn from Toyota how to run the business the correct way. I had Ford Mustangs before - a 1967 and a 1989 - and both of them only last for 190,000 + miles with tons of repairs! Why? I finally bought a 2004 Toyota
Camry!" --
Cynthia G, Laguna Niguel, CA

more responses...



"No way Toyota should be there. They are not an American based firm. Our homeland boys deserve that, just like in the 80's with Lee I., from save Chrysler fame. What's up with the old buy American, help Americans and put your investment money where it belongs in USA based companies." -- Katie S., PA

"The fact of the matter is all major auto makers should participate. The importance of this type of pivotal policy should not be understated. Hey Hey Ho Ho Foreign Oil Has Got to Go. Either be part of the future or be consumed by the past." -- Russell H.

"With the largest, most successful auto maker not present what was the President attempting to accomplish? I believe it was something other than boosting the output of ethanol cars." -- Ed F., New York

"No, a totally foreign company should not have access to the meeting; especially in an industry that is so vital to our economy. Japanese auto makers have different cost structures than US auto makers, for ex. healthcare. You do not see the Japanese Prime Minister inviting US auto makers to Tokyo for a meeting on how to boost US sales in Japan!" -- Richard D., RI

"Of Course Toyota should be there! They sell a significant number of cars in the US. If alternative fuel is to be discussed, they are probably the best situated to forge forward in a meaningful effort." -- Jerry, PA

"Considering the fact that Toyota is the leader in hybrid vehicles AND build over 1 million vehicles in the USA, they really should be included in the meeting. The big three have been woefully behind and this is one of the reasons that they really can't sell their vehicles overseas; THEY CAN'T MEET THE STANDARDS." -- Chris B., IL

"Absolutely NOT! Toyota, despite its manufacturing facilities in this country, is not an American company. Its profits go straight to Japan. It does not operate under the same handicaps regarding pension and health coverage for all of its workers as the Big Three do, nor as DaimlerChrysler does (for its German employees). They should be viewed as a foreign company." -- Octave L.

"Why, is Toyota going to show all of them the correct way to run a company and build automobiles? Lead, follow, or get out of the way. The Big Three need to decide what they're going to do. The Big Three are concerned about the shareholder. Toyota and the japanese are concerned about making and keeping the customer happy. Where do you think I'm buying my next vehicle from?" -- Todd O.

"Yes. Toyota is a major part of the US auto industry and hires American workers, and builds plants here. Do we consider the Big 3 auto makers - concerned American companies - less American because they sell overseas and buy foreign auto companies? Toyota should be at the table." -- Paul W., San Jose, CA

"Of all the previous 'save America First' responses, and counter - 'lead, follow, but get out of the way' responses, the facts are ignored as easily as is the screw-up of the Iraq War prosecution. Toyota makes LOTS of cars, trucks, and Americans' jobs!! What hubris!! Only the "Big Three", meaning staunch Party contributors, can be at the White House!! This President still misses the mark of a Top-Ten-Executive." -- Richard H., FL

"Toyota should have been there. It is a great innovative, forward-looking company that is already producing fuel efficient cars in the U.S. Toyota has been producing fuel-efficient cars for years and its effort toward quality, dependability, and efficiency with a world view on the environment is commendable. The 'Big Three' blame pension and health costs as the reason for their losses. While costs may be a small part of their failure, the truth is, they have not been as innovative as Toyota. Their cars are gas-guzzling and not known for quality and dependability. How dare the 'Big Three' blame the cost of their workers who have devoted their lives to their companies." -- Lynne F.