It's a wonder they still exist-those dumb enough to insist OEMs like Honda are destroying the American economy. The company line doesn't really work anymore though: Save our jobs-buy American. Reinvest in the U.S. economy-buy American. Drive a Chevy, Ford, GM or whatever other domestic happens to be the reddest, whitest and bluest at that particular moment-buy American. Attention all rednecks: Honda just might be more American than you think.
Fact: Honda has never been afraid to spend money in the U.S. Its capital investment in America reached more than $8.9 billion in 2006. This includes monies dumped into everything from its automaking facilities to its transmission plants, from its Power Equipment facilities to its Precision Parts warehouses.
Fact: Honda employs us. About 30,000 Americans work directly for Honda. That's a U.S. payroll of more than $1.9 billion a year-another 100,000 or so work for authorized dealers and the numbers of those indirectly employed by outside manufacturers, because of Honda, are staggering.
Fact: Honda gives back. Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, for example, contributes approximately $4.5 billion to its state's economy yearly. Alabama is not alone. Other regions with manufacturing facilities, like Ohio, benefit similarly.
But all of this is for nothing in the eyes of the redneck. No, Honda will always be a Japanese company, making Japanese cars for Japanese people...and of course a few million disloyal Americans. Damn traitors. Of course, most all of this benefits Japan. Such is the redneck philosophy.
Presenting such a case to the closed-minded can be nothing short of futile and, undoubtedly, many of us have had the opportunity of doing so at least once. Such conflicts are often best left avoided however difficult that may be, but silly remarks and long elevator rides more often than not result in as much.
The guy? Typical-the business in the front, party in the back sort of guy who's likely dated someone in his own family and has undoubtedly played banjo in at least one porch band. You know the type. The remarks? Predictable-rice burners, economic recessions and the so-called correlation between the two...you know the kind. As elevator ride conversations turn into parking lot-staged debates, the desire for reasonable conversations diminish. The guy's mode of transportation? A domestic pickup truck accompanied with the obligatory 12-inch lift and mudder tire combination. Would anything less make sense? The time came to inform my new friend of his serious lack of information up to this point. I pointed to my '08 Accord, which I happened to be standing next to, and explained to him how it was more red, white and blue then his truck built mostly of foreign-sourced parts ever was. After all, my Accord was built in Ohio, by people who live in Ohio, who also happen to be Americans. The pickup was not. The air was full of discontent and clever comebacks as he climbed up and slammed the door, all the while mullets flailing wildly in the wind. He was gone; all that was left were the exhaust fumes, which incidentally were spewed from a Mexican-made muffler.
I waited until he was out of sight before I stepped away from the Accord I had pointed to, walked across the lot and hopped into my own lifted domestic truck. Hey, everyone needs a tow vehicle.
- Aaron Bonk