He just tweeted a map showing the most popular vehicle in each state last year. He noted that in the Big 12 Ford rules, the Big 10 Chevy rules. If you ignore current conference memberships such a claim might be mostly true.
Then he said that on the coasts, “Honda/Toyota (imports) rule.”
Only, for the two main vehicles he was discussing, Camry and Accord (and to a lesser degree, CR-V), those vehicles aren’t imports. They’re made in the US.
- F-150: Dearborn, MI and Kansas City, MO
- Silverado: Flint, MI, Fort Wayne, IN and Silao, Mexico
- Ram Truck: Warren, MI
- Camry: Georgetown, KY
- Accord: Marysville, OH
- Outback: Lafayette, IN
- CR-V: East Liberty, OH, Jalisco, Mexico, Saitama, Japan
- GMC Sierra: Fort Wayne, IN
- Corolla: Ontario, Canada (moving to Mexico)
- Forester: Japan
In fact, if you account for the source of the parts in a vehicle, Camry has been — for several years — the most “American” car.
Indeed, of the cars he was discussing, only the Forester is primarily assembled in Japan — other “imports” are made in North America (Subaru keeps talking about bringing that production to IN, too, but it seems more likely they’ll just keep increasing Outback production there).
Maybe Rattner was just being sloppy, using the word “import” for the term “transplant” used within the industry. Though the comment seemed to be central his point — he added the word “import” to explain why this was interesting, it seemed.
Unless he was making a distinction about unionization — the transplants remain non-union, though UAW is working hard to change that — his comment was an odd betrayal of how unfamiliar he is with cars, even after serving as Obama’s Car Czar.