Change can be hard for folks. We have so much that has been ingrained into our psyche that
any issue, concept, or new item that challenges our core beliefs poses a threat — either real or imagined.
Either way they take on importance in our lives.
Changes in NASCAR are no different. As someone who has watched this sport grow for 45 years, change has been the proverbial only constant. And sometimes the changes can shake your loyalty to a person, place, or company in this business.
For example, I remember when Richard Petty ‘defected’ to Ford for the 1969 season (he had even taken up drag racing, with tragic results, in 1965). And yet the sport survived as it is larger than any one company, brand, or even, dare I say it, person.
So all the Toyota bashing is to be expected. It has happened before to others who supposedly ‘buy’ wins or maybe even supposedly do something more sinister.
And it won’t be the last time.
As a recent Wall Street Journal article indicated only 6% of fans seem to care enough about Toyota’s arrival in NASCAR to be angry. Now while that sounds small, it could represent as many as 4.5-5 million fans so I won’t easily dismiss that statistic. But I will much more easily dismiss any conspiracy theorists, etc. who see Toyota as an ‘invader’ or a firm who has no economic impact on our country. Let’s look at a few numbers:
* Toyota employs approximately 36,000 US workers
* With a payroll of nearly 3 Billion USD
* Has invested nearly 16 Billion USD in America
* Donated 340 million USD to charities
* And has purchased 28 billion USD of parts from US suppliers
While Toyota’s US-based workforce is smaller than either Ford (about 55,000) or GM (about 74,000) let us not lose sight of the fact that neither
GM, Ford, (or Chrysler) employ 100% of the workforce, nor have 100% of their sales, within our borders. So those who worry about the repatriation of profits, lighten up — at least they have profits.
That’s (taking) the (long) view from here.
PS: I drive a Saturn Aura. (But we also have an older VW made in Mexico).