Toyota Hearts Canada

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

The Detroit automakers aren't the only ones feeling the cost crunch in Canada. The London Free Press reports our neighbor to the north is also the most expensive place Toyota assembles vehicles– in spite of a distinct lack of Canadian Auto Workers' union members. And yet, in spite of higher operating costs, ToMoCo may be looking to expand their RAV-4-producing Woodstock assembly plant even before it opens next fall. Toyota's playing down the rumored expansion. They're declaring that the plant must first open and perform before they'll consider adding more capacity. When asked why they'd consider spending more on a plant that already costs so much to operate, Toyota Canada's president Yoichi Tomihara replied "Toyota's philosophy is to make the investment in the long term, not the short term." Toyota executives also said they don't let current market conditions sway their strategy; economic conditions can change. Besides, they added, they like making vehicles in Canada. I'm thinking ToMoCo likes it anywhere where they don't have to deal with a labor union.

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  • Lprocter1982 Lprocter1982 on Feb 16, 2008

    Gee, bluecon, and I thought Toyota (and Ford) built their plants in farmland in the middle of nowhere because there was room there to build them. Ford's St. Thomas plant is unionized, but it's in farmland in the middle of nowhere. So, pray tell, what does the factory location have to do with the presence, or lack thereof, of a union? And while Canada likely does have more unionized workers by percentage as someone (maybe you, bluecon, I don't remember) pointed out, my point has always been it's not because it's our choice. No where is joining a union optional. I think given the choice, many Canadians would not join a union, because for the most part, it seems the unions protect the mediocre workers and just serve to deduct money from our paychecks.

  • George Labrador George Labrador on Feb 16, 2008

    I think Unions are necessary even in todays Market place, my old Union is a very large affair representing every thing from Chemicals, Oil & Gas,Paper, Broadcasting and Communications, its a all Canadian Union too, and I feel that that is important too! In the case of the CAW union, it was formed after a long labour dispute that was settled by Judge Rand and after wards the Rand formula was made legal in that all people in the bargaining unit must pay Union dues but they dont have to be a member of same, lets face it, when the Union bargains a Contract everyone benefits from it. If in the grocery business its up to you to get the Union doing what's right, if they dont have meetings and let the people know what's going on then shame on them, maybe time to change Unions? again its up to the people in the Bargaining unit. In the case of Toyota in Cambridge, from what I hear is that everyone has to do compulsory overtime, that is not so good imho, and again being on a two year trial more or less is pretty well standard in some Companies, then its up to the people that work for such companies to try and change things and having a Union might be the way to go, its very important that any Union must be from the bottom up and not from the Top down like the Auto Unions do.

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Feb 16, 2008

    I think Toyota pays to screen out applicants with unionizing backgrounds/tendencies. And while the loonie may make things expensive now, long term Ontario is a good place to be. Ontario has pretty good schools and some of the cheapest electricity on the continent.

  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Feb 18, 2008

    Lets not forget, if they build 'em in Canuckistan with the right % formula, they can import them to the US under NAFTA, keeping overall costs lower than if they shipped them from Japan, paid import tariffs, and paid Japanese labor prices.