Donald Trump promised that as president, he would bring millions of jobs to the U.S. So far he hasn’t delivered, but that hasn’t stopped him for taking credit where none is due. And manufacturers, not wanting to face the ire of the great God-Emperor, have often played along, generally electing to not make a big deal over the fact that many of the plant expansions and new hiring announced in recent weeks have actually been in the works for years.
But on Monday, Toyota allowed Trump to directly muddy the waters, including a quote from King Orange Marmalade in a press release announcing a $1.33 billion investment in the company’s Kentucky manufacturing operation.
Toyota’s decision to invest $1.3 billion in their Kentucky plant is further evidence that manufacturers are now confident that the economic climate has greatly improved under my administration and echoes the recent National Association of Manufacturers’ 2017 Outlook Survey showing that 93% of manufacturers are now optimistic, which is an increase of 37% from just a few months ago.”―President Donald J. Trump
Yes, things were just so terrible under President Obama that four years ago, Toyota only invested $530 million in upgrades to their U.S. operation, only creating 750 new jobs.
The Toyota press release explains the reasons behind the expansion.
A $1.33 billion investment- the highest of any automaker in Kentucky and the second-largest in state history- will make Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) the first plant in North America to begin producing vehicles using Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA). Named the “Most American Made” car by Cars.com and the number one selling car in America for the past 15 years, the Camry, from the 2018 model year, will become the first Toyota vehicle made in the U.S. to fully incorporate the new vehicle development and production technology.
This $1.33 billion investment is part of Toyota’s plan to invest $10 billion dollars in the U.S. over the next five years, on top of the nearly $22 billion Toyota has invested in the U.S. over the past 60 years,” said Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor North America. “Toyota New Global Architecture is about exciting, ever-better vehicles for our customers as it will improve performance of all models, including increased fuel efficiency, more responsive handling, and a more stable, comfortable feel while driving.”
There it is. The expansion has nothing to do with the “economic climate” or Trump’s policies. It has to do with Toyota’s rollout of this thing they call the “Toyota New Global Architecture.” That reinvention of the carmaker’s manufacturing process has been in the works for several years. And, according to a 2015 Motor Trend article, the new process will slash Toyota’s manufacturing costs by about 20 percent, certainly a strong motive for bringing it to Kentucky and the largest Toyota plant in the world. (Which, by the way, achieved that status long before Trump.)
Given the way Trump blasted GM in January, it’s probably wise that Toyota allowed him a bit of public verbal masturbation on this. But that still doesn’t make it any more pleasant to watch.