For many of the decades before the turn of the century, it felt like the automotive industry was at odds with itself. The foreign vehicles that were being shipped in were thought to be ways for outside companies to swoop in and take over the sales and profits from the US without any actual investment into the country they were being sold in. As the industry has progressed, we’ve seen the proof that what was once a divide is now becoming a cohesive existence with Toyota leading the way toward building jobs and offering community involvement in the US.
What has changed from the early days to today? In the past, vehicles were often produced in other countries and then shipped to North America to be sold. Today, nearly ever automotive company, including our own domestic brands, builds many of the models that are sold near the market in which they will be sold. Toyota took this a step farther, especially when you consider the upheaval in the automotive industry that took place less than a decade ago. This is a company that has worked hard to fully invest in the markets it sells vehicles in, which is nearly all of them around the world.
In Princeton, Indiana, Toyota employs 4500 people in a small town that has grown up around the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana plant. This plant is supplied by local suppliers, which is yet another way this company has invested in the US, and is the location where the Sequoia, Highlander and Sienna are all built. The investment into this plant and the suppliers that serve it comes to nearly $4.1 billion in a location that’s capable of producing nearly 300,000 vehicles per year that are sold in the North American market.
During the economic downturn, many companies looked to use layoffs and early retirement packages to cut down on the number of employees in order to save money. Toyota has had zero layoffs even with the massive economic downfall that happened in 2008. When there is production downtime, Toyota reinvests in its team by offering community programs, training seminars, ways to sharpen skills and other programs that help to improve their employees and the communities they live in. This is a company that continues to understand the importance of the communities they serve and employ with volunteer opportunities and growth programs.
When it comes to the right way to do business, Toyota works to put people first by protecting jobs, employing more and being involved in community improvement projects that make a difference. The Hoosier State has an impressive partner in Toyota and the people of Princeton, IN certainly have enjoyed and improved lifestyle and greater sense of purpose since this plant arrived to put them to work. It’s about the people that build the products more than it’s about the products and Toyota has come a long way from being one of the companies that was thought to take from the US without giving back.