28th Aug 2010, 21:51

"Low end? With leather and the third row option? What does the top of the line Highlander come with?"

AWD, 17 inch alloy wheels, engine immobilizer, power driver's seat lumbar adjustment, power driver's seat, rear cargo cover, leather steering wheel trim, simulated wood center console trim, simulated wood door trim, automatic climate control, automatic on/off headlights, auto-dim rear view mirror, roof rack, rear spoiler, external temperature display, anti-theft alarm system, height adjustable driver's seat, power front passenger seat, steering wheel audio controls, steering wheel cruise controls, multi-function remote, universal remote transmitter, simulated wood dash trim, front fog/driving lights, heated exterior mirrors, JBL audio, radio data system, compass, soft tonneau cover, front and rear head airbags, heated driver's seat, leather door trim, navigation system, running boards, tube-type side steps, DVD entertainment system, front and rear side airbags, heated passenger seat, power glass sunroof, trailer hitch, wheel locks.

Are all of the options we did not get in a base model with leather seats installed.

Good thing I still had my comparison saved from 6 years ago LOL.

28th Aug 2010, 22:58

In an MIT study "COMPARISON OF INDIRECT COST MULTIPLIERS FOR VEHICLE MANUFACTURING" the labor for vehicle assembly is approximately 6.5% of the MSRP. If the company is U.S. based we would keep an additional 16-22.2% in our economy from all of the jobs for R&D, Engineering, Corporate Overhead (Management), and Retirement and Health (HR) as well as Profit (depending on the methodology used). On top of that, foreign auto makers opening plants here receive tax breaks from the states, and avoid import tariffs by building cars here and shipping the parts in.

And FYI, JD Powers just announced that for the first time in nearly 20 years, domestic manufacturers have fewer problems than the foreign manufacturers.

29th Aug 2010, 09:37

Maybe so, but you did have the V6 option. A "low end" Highlander would be a 4 cylinder FWD with nothing extra on it. No leather, no third row. You have to get well into the 30's to get an American SUV with leather seats.

29th Aug 2010, 12:31

"What does the top of the line Highlander come with?"

Well, the top of the line V-6 Highlander we test drove came with pieces of interior trim falling off in our laps, brakes that lurched violently to the left when stopping, and an engine so anemic that my wife was terrified trying to merge onto a freeway (I told her to floor it and her response was "I'm bending the floorboard now!").

We couldn't wait to get it back to the dealership and go buy the much better built GM SUV that has proven flawless.

30th Aug 2010, 10:28

Pretty much all non-US brand car companies have R&D, engineering, national headquarters, PR firms, and contracts with regional and national ad firms. Many also not only assemble their cars here, but produce the parts that go in them as well. For example a major supplier for Toyota is Denso, and they have a large Denso plant making parts in Tennessee. Some Japanese cars use American parts suppliers as well. For example my Tacoma has a Harrison radiator, Timken wheel bearings, an SC unit built by Delphi, and the rest are mostly Denso USA manufactured components. In fact, some of the best-selling Japanese brands including the Camry and Accord have anywhere from 65-70% Domestically produced parts in them. Nissan is building a lithium ion battery plant outside of Nashville to be used in their upcoming electric cars.

But getting back to the core point here, I grew up in Tennessee. Nissan has a huge plant in Smyrna TN. I knew people who's parents who worked there. They got pretty good salaries and generous benefits. I know others who work for Toyota. Same thing. They have good jobs that support their families.

So I could just as easily make the same argument as those who make disparaging comments about buying "Imports". If we all boycotted Toyota, then I guess the 1000's of US workers in their plants would be laid off. How does that solve the problem of helping US workers? Money is money, and if a family can make a good living working for a company that might have headquarters in Japan, then why does that matter?

At the same time, GM makes Camaros in Canada, and Ford makes Fusions in Mexico. But they also make cars in the US. The same with Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes and all the others who develop, engineer, manufacture, and sell their products on a global scale.

Those that make the argument that we should be a sheltered economy where we only buy our own, don't understand global economics. This is the reality we live in. Buy what you want.

30th Aug 2010, 13:02

Okay, I am sorry, but you've gone on about trim pieces falling off, but have yet to elaborate any further as to what you mean. Now they are falling into your lap? What trim pieces are on the inside of the roof that are falling off?

You also quote brakes that are faulty. And since the Highlander gets to 60 easily in 7 seconds flat vs. at least a second or two SLOWER for any GM junk outside of the horrendous 14 mpg Trailblazer SS, I think you are overstating your "anemic" comments. I actually bought the RAV 4 Sport, and even Toyota's entry level SUV has much more quality components than any Chevy I have ever looked at. And anemic??? It has the same engine as the Highlander and it gets to 60 easily in 6.5 seconds... or faster than a 5.0 Mustang, which was about 7.3 with an AT. I hardly think anyone felt terrified merging onto a freeway with their old 5.0, do you?

You hate Toyota, we get it. Please stop quoting misinformation just to push your GM argument farther. I drove the Highlander, and it was amazing in all aspects over the Trailblazer I traded in. It was much smoother, much more refined, had a higher quality interior that isn't ugly monotone cheap plastic like the TB, and performance was so far above the TB, it was difficult to believe anyone would even look at a TB these days as a quality vehicle! I am sorry I wasted so much money and time in dealer waiting rooms on my TB. Never again. My experiences are real, and I actually drove the vehicle for 5 years. "Flawless" is a word that will NEVER be associated with GM... ever!

A Toyota with a million recalls on it will always be a better vehicle than ANY GM you can buy. My experience means a lot more than some stupid rating company who is probably paid off anyhow! I've never even been into a Toyota service department, as I do my own maintenance. I was on a first name basis with the Chevy service manager!

Look, I hate GM products, but will never go on about how they are falling apart on test drives and such. It doesn't happen. If it ever did, then shame on the dealer for not watching out who is test driving their cars and abusing them!

31st Aug 2010, 02:01

RE 8/20/10 10:28.

Yes some foreign manufacturers do employ R&D, but only a few. Some employ engineers, but usually more manufacturing (factory) and not design engineers, and these are accounted for in the 6.5% number previously mentioned (please read the aforementioned study for greater detail of the numbers). The PR and advertising firms will be employed, regardless of who is paying them foreign or domestic companies, so this is irrelevant. But foreign manufacturers will only build plants here to produce cars sold in significant quantities to justify their existence (cost of U.S. labor vs. import tariffs), and they do not employ nearly as many people (see below).

To answer your question, "How does that solve the problem of helping US workers? Money is money, and if a family can make a good living working for a company that might have headquarters in Japan, then why does that matter?"

Profit. Profit is anywhere from 2.5 to 6.5% per car, and that money is being sucked out of our economy, leaving less and less to go around every year. Last year our trade deficit was over $500 Billion, and that is the lowest it’s been since 2002. How many cars made in foreign owned domestic plants get exported overseas? Not many at all, if memory serves me only 2 and both by Nissan, the Murano and something else.

In reference to your comment "Those that make the argument that we should be a sheltered economy where we only buy our own, don't understand global economics. This is the reality we live in. Buy what you want." I believe you mean Protectionist, and that is precisely what you are doing by saying that people should buy a car from a foreign company made in TN, you are protecting the jobs of the people in TN. That said, I agree, people should buy what they want. America is the land of the free. I only asked that people consider purchasing from a U.S. auto maker when all else was considered equal. I don't think that public figures can endorse protectionism, because it would not be considered politically PC either globally or nationally. I do think that being protectionist of American companies is patriotic, because it makes fiscal sense. However, buying an inferior product just to be patriotic would be stupid!

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