Donald Trump embarrassed himself by rudely interrupting a major automotive company’s CEO and demanded that he build more plants in the U.S. Then, 45 took credit for the company ramping up one of its huge U.S. plant’s with a $1.33 billion investment.
But Toyota’s comeback was priceless.
Trump criticized Toyota’s $1 billion automotive plant in Mexico, where it will build Corollas starting in 2019. He held a March meeting for auto executives and employees in March. While there, Trump posed for the group photo. However, he callously excluded Japanese, Korean, and German auto manufacturers.
Bloomberg TV interviewed Will James, the Toyota president of the Kentucky plant, who said:
‘The bigger the U.S. investment the better right now for Toyota. Trump singled out the company in January for its plan to build a Corolla small-car factory in Mexico. As Toyota’s North American Chief Executive Officer Jim Lentz discussed setting up autonomous- and connected-car business units in the U.S. with Trump last month, the president cut him off and said the company needed to “build those new plants here.’
The Japanese-based company is redesigning its Camry sedan in its Georgetown, Kentucky plant later in 2017. Toyota’s marketing strategy highlights how much it is investing in the community, including adding 700 new jobs.
After Toyota’s announcement, Trump took credit for the automaker’s expansion. According to Bloomberg TV, America’s president said: “It’s further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration.”
James had the last laugh, though, when he told Bloomberg TV:
‘We’ve been working on this Camry now for over three years, so this is not something that’s just brand new and picked up most recently.’
Toyota was gracious, saying Trump understood how important the company’s investment, including $10 billion throughout the U.S. over next five years.
That said, however, the Kentucky factory’s president said that it began redesigning the Camry during President Barack Obama’s term.
James’ statement continued:
‘This is the largest investment in our plant’s history. This major overhaul will enable the plant to stay flexible and competitive, further cementing our presence in Kentucky.’
Toyota’s Georgetown plant is approximately 156 football fields big, and it manufactured over 500,000 Camry, Avalon, and Lexus ES sedans last year, or about one-fourth of all of North America vehicles.
The automaker will implement its New Global Architecture system [TNGA] for the first time in North America at its Camry plant. The system is a package for design, engineering, and manufacturing its cars, trucks, and crossovers. The system cuts the investment needed to ramp up a production line switchover for a new model in half.
The new Camrys will ride lower on a longer, stiffer frame with better suspension, which will improve the car’s driving action. Until families began to choose crossover sports utility vehicles, the Camry had been a leader in the in the U.S. for 15 years.
Kentucky is a “right to work” state, which means that employees cannot unionize. Workers will earn lower wages and less generous benefits.
Check out this Bloomberg video about Toyota and Trump below:
Featured Image: Toyota’s Twitter Page.
[h/t: Bloomberg TV.]