Honda has lowered its most recent North American production forecast, reducing vehicles made here to 1.26 million vehicles, down about 12% from last year. Honda hopes to make 1.15 million vehicles in Japan in the current fiscal year, lowering its previous forecast of just a week earlier. It’s also stepping up production at Honda plants in China as well at those it operates with Chinese partners.
Demand for vehicles in China is increasing and the company hopes to make the most of this trend. Manufacturing in China lowers both production and transportation costs.
So I guess Americans need to buy more Japanese cars, right? Screw the “Big Three”? We’ve got to keep the Japanese, Korean and German car manufacturers interested in building cars here. (As IF.)
All this crap about proud Americans building imports has been clever, effective PR. It’s hard to argue against an “import” when your uncle helped build it. Parts could be pricey, though. But American manufacturers took care of that by gradually raising their prices until there was little cost difference between imported and domestic parts.
The imports were better cars. Americans just needed a justification to drive them when their friends and family members who worked for domestic automakers were being displaced because Detroit’s quality sucked and we wanted better cars.
It’s a brilliant strategy. Build locally, where demand is highest…until demand changes, then exploit that region’s lower manufacturing/transportation costs.
Missteps by domestic manufacturers have been legendary and savvy import car makers cashed in on every one of them. It took us decades to get even close to their quality.
So now that it’s no longer scandalous for an American farmer to drive an Accord, now that brand loyalty has been established in part due to the fact that imports are American-made, China’s economy has swollen to the extent that its mammoth population are no longer content to pedal around. They want to drive now. It’s simply business.
What ever happened to “See the USA in your Chevrolet?” Detroit knows but has denied it all along. Rather than responding to buyers, it preferred to lead us by our noses. THEY would tell US what we wanted to drive, which was huge, gas-guzzlers that made them more per unit sold. They tried to make Americans feel guilty for buying a superior product, then guilt-tripped us into “trading up”. The handwriting was on the wall long ago, as Japanese and later Korean manufacturers shifted to U.S. production, introducing heavier, more expensive, luxury models that we lapped up like prospectors lost in the desert.
I have no idea where this is going but it appears ominous…Any thoughts?