Here’s a fun fact: If you drive a Toyota Camry, you’re driving the most American vehicle of 2015. That’s right—your Camry is the baldest eagle on the road.
“How could this be?” you may ask, “isn’t Toyota Japanese?”
You’re correct. However, over 75% of Camry production (manufacturing and assembly) is completed in the United States—more than any other vehicle sold this year (including the Jeep Patriot… ironically named, to say the least). This means millions of dollars are being invested domestically and thousands of Americans are hard at work.
So, we’re left pondering the most common question asked at American Field. What, exactly, does “American-made” mean?
As historically “American” brands grow beyond our borders, so do their finances. As such, a subcategory of manufacturing language is formed. Products are not just “made” somewhere. Instead, brands “design” in one place, “manufacture” in another, and “assemble” in multiple locations.
How then do we trace the impact of that work?
With regard to the auto industry, Japanese automakers have employed over 90,000 Americans and invested nearly $44,000,000,000 in American-manufacturing. These investments boost local and national economies, lower our unemployment rate and benefit small, American-owned businesses (restaurants, trade shops, laundromats, etc.).
As a result, the lines of “American” vs “Non-American” are awkwardly blurred.
At American Field, we believe a brand or product is “Made in USA” when its existence requires American jobs to bring it to the masses (that’s good news, Camry fans). No matter the name on the label—if it’s manufactured here and it’s made well—it belongs in the field.
And that’s just where you’ll find it.