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  1. #1

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    Default Made in Japan...

    Last Saturday, I went to a local electronic store and bought a Pioneer CD Recorder (PDR-609, $161). The demo unit is labeled “Made in Japan”. There are three brand new units, in manufacturer seal boxes, one of them is “Made in Japan”, and the other two are “Made in Malaysia”. For electronic gears, I always think if the product is “Made in Japan”, it’s more reliable and better product, so I picked up the one that made in Japan (older production date, May 2000). Please share your opinion; do you really care where the product was made? I support the products that made in the USA, but for this kind of product, I did not have much choice.
    Anyway, I will have a lot of fun making many of my favorite CDs now…
    :)

  2. #2

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    I'm curious to see what others think about this. I guess I'd pick the one made in Japan, too.

    Made in China, or Taiwan bothers me more than Malaysia.

    The Japan-based companies do the same thing that a lot of American companies have done: Farm out production to other countries for the sake of cheap labor. It may make business sense, but still doesn't seem quite right to me. Does quality suffer because of it though? Or do we just get more affordable products? To me it kind of says that the company is more concerned with their profit margin than anything else, including quality.

    I'm always partial to (and willing to pay more for) a product of any kind that says Made in U.S.A. That's not always an option when it comes to some types of electronics.

    Jason

  3. #3

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    Originally posted by jcaut


    Made in China, or Taiwan bothers me more than Malaysia.


    Jason
    Jason
    I agree, few months ago, I went to test drive the Nikon N80, when I saw the label "Made in China" on the bottom of this camera, it's surprise the heck out of me... I cannot believe Nikon did that on one of their good line camera. I didn't buy the Nikon but got the Canon Elan7E instead... However, I don't mean to talk about Photographic equipment in here but to re-state the point of "Made in..." issue...
    Last edited by PETERNG; 10-01-2001 at 02:47 PM.

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    i know most of the cheaper sony recievers are made in malashia
    and my 777es is made in japan.

    scott

  5. #5

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    Default This doesn't specifically relate to audio...

    I've been thinking a lot about this topic. Most of the Cloyes Gear Co. manufacturing facilities are located here in Paris, Arkansas. For those who aren't familiar with Cloyes, they make timing sets (sprockets and gears, maybe chain--not sure). They supply most of the OE timing components for GM, Ford, and Chrysler, and make numerous aftermarket sets, as well.

    I'm sure Cloyes is located here in a low-income, rural part of Arkansas, because some of the cheapest labor in the U.S. is here. I worked at Cloyes, as summer help, while I was in high school and in college, several years ago. Back then, most full-time employee's started out around $6/hour and most production line workers made less than $10/hour. Many who work there do so because they want to live in this area. Many have other sources of income, such as farming. Some though, simply work there because they lack the ambition, and/or education, to do something else. Lately they've had some problems finding people to work, and many Hispanics have moved here to work at Cloyes.

    I can't comment on the quality of parts that Cloyes produces. I know the standards for the OE parts and Cloyes-branded parts are pretty strict.

    The point I wanted to make is this: If Cloyes moved their operation to Mexico for cheaper labor, would the quality of their parts decline as a direct result? I don't know. I'm just thinking as I type. Sorry for the rambling....

    Jason

  6. #6

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    Jason did you know the newer Polks are made in Mexico. I think its '96 and later not sure. I wonder were the Lsi's will be made?? My Polks are monitors from '91. As for what and were, I prefer audio equipment made in USA, Germany, and now Australia, Italy, and Canada. I know parts come from other contries but I prefer the manufacturer to be from these countries just MPO.
    Chris
    Last edited by CHRIS; 10-02-2001 at 06:30 AM.

  7. #7
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    I work in the automotive industry.
    When you go to Mexico, the labor rate drops by a factor of five (or more). Generally productivity, increases by at least a factor of two (pieces per man-hour). Capital investment in the facility goes down as well - ergonomics isn't such an issue (people are expected in Mexico to work hard). Nafta has eliminated most shipping fee's beyond that which the trucking company charges. Regarding quality, its a sad state of affairs, but most quality indicators point to Mexico for best practices.

    So, manufacturing cost go down by a factor of 10.
    Shipping costs goes up - perhaps double. And, quality generally improves.

    Knowing all of this, I strongly prefer buying products that are Made in the USA - including consumer electronics. Big business usually misses the biggest point that Made in the USA equates to helping fellow Americans help themselves. I have nothing against Mexicans (I'm not prejudiced)... but, I'd prefer that they develop their own economy all by themselves. The Rio-Grande defines the border between two sovereign countries - lets not forget this important fact.

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    Being "Hencho En Mexico" can be a touchy subject for Polk Audio. Actually, we prefer to say we are made in Baja California, because, in reality we are. Just so happens that Baja California is in Mexico.

    But I will say this: Polk has been in Mexico for so many years that not only are we one of the largest electronics manufacturers there, but we were followed there by the biggest of the big: Sony, Yamaha, Samsung, etc. And they all began training the Mexican workers -- who are very good, BTW -- in the ways of the samurai worker, making them even more efficient. In fact, over half of the 30 million TVs sold in the US last year were made in Mexico.

    I've seen the factory, seen the workers, seen the production lines... Spoken with the managers, spoken with the factory flacks and all that (see the newspaper issue with the story for photos and stuff), and I am thoroughly impressed with our operation. It's a third world country, but we try to provide first world working conditions, and I think we succeed. Good, happy workers make good happy products. I can't help but think that the even bigger companies would be doing just as good a job, if not better.

    But China... I just have trouble buying stuff "Made In China." I mean, they make every goddamn thing. Can you see the billions of Chinese people in sweatshops making little New England Fisherman tourist trinkets, you know those little wooden fisherman with the yellow slickers and sea gun perched on the pier? Something so American... What the hell do they know about that stuff? Everything in "Pier One" and those cheesy "import" stores is "Made is China," and I won't buy any of it. There's just something unsavory about a workforce making something it has no connection with, culturally. I guess when you're forced to buy something from China, you have to. But I make it a point not to.

    I don't mind the Japanese, tho. First of all, we bombed them. Second of all, they make pretty good stuff and they make it cheap. And they are not a despotic regime or communist country. The Chinese would eat us for lunch if we gave them half the chance, why should we buy tourist trinkets made by them?

    Just my 2c.

    MC
    ultramicah@yahoo.com

    "There's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight." - Lon Chaney

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    were was all the sda speakers made at?

    scott

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    I'm with Micah on one thing for sure. Peoples attitudes DO seem to improve after we bomb the snot out of them. Not saying that bombing is always a good thing, but it is a motivator. There is NOTHING that inspires people like a large scale B-52 strike. When they bomb from 8-10 miles up, you can't see them, nor can you hear them. The earth just begins to erupt.

    Almost all the stuff that I actively use, electronicswise, is made in the good old U.S. of Alpha.

    Sam Walmart

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    The fact that Polk speakers are made in Mexico doesn't cause me to have concerns about the quality. I'm sure Micah is right about the factory/workers. Polk is a quality company and I beleive that there standards high, especially compared to most other comparably priced speakers. Those workers from Mexico are probably very happy to have that job, and like Micah said, happy, well-trained, and well-supervised employees turn out good products.

    I don't mind electronics from Japan. And they seem to turn out decent cars, though I don't own any of them.
    I strive NOT to buy stuff from China.

    No question though that I hold American companies that produce their high quality products here in the U.S. in high regard.

  12. #12

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    I have a lot to say about this but it is not worth my time.
    Just one thing. Does anyone care that we have a lot of unemployment and hunger in our country and companies are giving jobs they could have to another country? Just to save a buck. They are helping some other country, then expect us to buy their product, and make their money from the country they are taking jobs from.
    It may make business sence but no sence of helping their country.
    Chris

  13. #13
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    >> There is NOTHING that inspires people like a large scale B-52 strike. << I am SCREAMING with laughter over that!

    >> Does anyone care that we have a lot of unemployment and hunger in our country and companies are giving jobs they could have to another country? <<

    This is a really important point in my mind. I personally care -- altho I'm in general a very uncaring person -- about this, and I know that this company that I work for cares about this, too: We are an American company, owned and operated on a daily basis by Americans, employing Americans both here in Baltimore and in San Diego (as well as in Mexico).

    But Americans in general, I think, have become difficult to work with, from the POV of the economic movers & shakers. American workers are "spoiled," and need too many expensive extras -- safety requirements, working hours, union wage controls and all sorts of props and enducements -- to make them profitable for some manufacturers. I'm not defending any of this, mind you, I'm just stating what I see. There is a conflict between the living wage (here, where the COL is very high) and the drive to produce products that are affordable. It's a vicious cycle. To buy more stuff, we need that stuff to be cheaper, but we're unwilling to give up our standard of living to produce it, so we look to other, less pressured locations, to provide it for us at a price that makes us happy. It's simple economics.

    And unfortunately, the largest workforce on earth, China, seems to have a lock on everything: cheap stuff we buy because it's cheap. Most people, to be sure, never ever do what I (and obviously a couple of you) do: check the "Made In..." sticker and make a buying decision based on it. No one does that. And every Chinese trinket or product we buy, brings the commies one step closer to eating our babies. Uh, sorry...

    What about the Americans on the street, starving and out of work? Well, in a way they are not victims of foreign labor, they are victims of American society and the drive for ever higher standards of living. They being crushed under the treads of a forward economy.

    The jobs are there, I'm convinced. (Altho, I'd hate to be out of work now, and my cold black heart goes out to all those feeling the effects of our economic slump at the moment.) But, to make my point, even many of our starving poor refuse to work in the conditions of those entry level or unskilled positions because the pay is sub-standard or the work is "demeaning." I'm not indicting here, I'm just making a statement. I drive thru impoverished areas of my own city, where the unemployed stand around on the street corners all day, and yet at every corner liquor store, fast food joint and industrial park in those areas, there are "HELP WANTED" signs pastered everywhere. If I were the owner of those businesses, and I needed help, I'd hire whoever applied and had even the slightest desire to work.

    In a small way, that's the way the international economy is working. You go where the labor is, to produce the products that your market wants at your market's price.

    It's a crime, but that's economics.

    MC
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    Micah,

    I hear you; but, you are wrong - though, you are in good company with many business executives.

    Ultimately, the question is:
    a) Do we want a manufacturing based economy
    b) Do we want an import based economy

    Personally, I hate war. Better to live for your country than to die for it.

    I think that when the USA bases its economy on cheap foreign labor, we ultimately are trying to control things that are clearly outside of our control (the labor of other country's citizens).

    Its getting very difficult to maintain this system.
    There is rioting outside WTO meetings - etc.

    All these issues simply "go away" with made in the USA.
    I personally have no interest in extending the priveledges of the USA to Baja Mexico - not when there are unemployed people in Baltimore that could really use a nice safe factory job at Polk.

    Shame on Polk for dropping SDA technology.
    Shame on Polk for building speakers in Mexico.
    Thank you Polk for listening to your customer.

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    very well said ron.

    scott

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    Default I respectfully disagree....

    My wife, the lovely Wendi, is a big shot in the state (SC) employment commission. The situation here is that there are more jobs to be had than people who will fill them. Our unemployment rate is just a bit higher than four percent. We have actually had employers leave the area because they couldn't get enough workers. This whole notion that there are LOTS of people looking for work is largely a myth. What there are, are a lot of people who are unwilling to take a entry level wage job. That is just the way it is. A lot of resorts are importing workers from Jamaica, Guatemala etc etc because our own people won't take the jobs.
    I, as a rule, support American companies to a large extent but the economy is so global now that is far more complex than that. For example, do you buy a Toyota made in Kentucky for a Ford made in Mexico or Canada?? Do I buy a American brand brake pad for my car or a Bosch (German) brake pad produced by my neighbor in the Bosch plant a mile away?? It's not that simple and we found in the early part of last century that isolationism, economically and politically is impossible.

    Another point that I would like to make is that it would be IMPOSSIBLE for us to make everything we consume. It simply isn't possible. Let's say our unemploymet rate is even at 10 percent, that 10 percent would not be able to produce the amount of goods we import. As a society, good, bad or otherwise we are depenedent on imports and that is not likely to ever change.

    I am not saying I don't support American priciples but it isn't always so clear cut.

    Troy
    Last edited by TroyD; 10-03-2001 at 11:13 AM.

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    If you buy the Ford the moneies spent will go back into US economy. If you buy the Toyota the monies are gong to Japan.
    Ford is still American owned and Toyota Japenese. Which brigs us back to keepingour products made here, we may not be self suportive but keeping as many jobs for Americans is far better then giving them to another country IMO.

    Micah-It's wrong for Americans to want safe working conditions, insurance, unemploymnt benefits and such. This makes us spoiled. If this is truely your opinion why don't you forgo you benefits package from Polk? I see far more problems asked about here on the newer products and almost none on the older. The most I ever had wrong, on older made in U.S., was a blown driver and tweeter, my falt by over driving them.
    Being disabled I have to buy my own health insurance, it is VERY expensive. I do nottake or get S.S. thou and buy my own doing. I can afford to take care of my self without having to rely on tax payers.

    Chris

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    Default ok...how about this though..

    Let me first start out by saying that I don't disagree with the "buy America sentiment" but it still isn't that simple....If you buy the Ford then you are supporting exactly what Polk is doing. And I tend to agree with that. You are supporting an American company that has farmed out part of the operation, that frankly, well trained monkeys could possibly perform. Also, you could look at it this way, Ford owns Jaguar (as well as investing in a lot of things outside our borders) so is that money REALLY staying in the US? Whereas, buying the Toyota I could look at it as I am supporting an American auto worker rather than some CEO in Detroit who makes millions a year.

    We as Americans have brought this on ourselves. If you said to someone, OK, if you take a 15 percent decrease in pay, accross the board, we can open another factory in the US as opposed to opening one in Mexico. How many people would take the pay cut?? Like it or not, gov't regulation and exorbitant labor costs drive companies overseas. It's a compromise and I am not saying that the companies aren't at fault either but in the end to stay in business you have to do what keeps the doors open. You could also employ George's analogy about the military. A lot of people are saying that we should get in there and kill all those bastards etc. etc. With the caveat that it isn't them or thier kids that go. It's very easy to say one thing but putting it into practice is another.

    Chris, I do empathisize with you man, I have a handicapped wife and too firmly believe that it is my responsibility, not the government or anyone elses, to take care of her.

    Troy

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    Troy
    Sorry to hear about your wife, I hope things aren't to bad or as good as they can be, for Wendi.
    When I made the statment about Ford and Toyota I was giving my opinion of best case senario of the two. I think Ford should stay here as well. We hear about companie laying off thousands of people, I know Ford did it in N.J.. I had a friend who worked there and got the axe. What we don't hear about is the thousands of jobs we give other countries. I don't feel it is as much the companies may go under as much as the upper mangement(white coller) want to much money and want the workers(blue ciller) to nt get raises. The white collers sure get them thoug.Kinda of like the NBA sort of. The owners want to much of a cut and charge more for tickets, do they recrout(spl) from other countries to get better players or to pay them less. The players know it is them the people are coming to see and don't want the uper mangmant getting more then them so they strike. Most think the players get paid way to much. Yeah they do but who should get it, who the people come to see or the owners who are rich enough already to buy an NBA team. Not a cheap buy to say the least.
    There are companies who keep it in the U.S. and make it. I think they might keep salries more incheck. There are speaker companies who keep it here also.
    I think this could be the never ending story, I'm out! (Most likly)
    Chris

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    I dont know how many of y'all know of a time when there were hardly any foreign cars on american roads ,,, and the cars Sucked! Take a look at most of your mid/late 70's cars (other than sports) like the K cars by chrysler and extending into the early 80's with a joke of a Le'Mans reborn? American cars were basicaly C*ap! Then in the early 70's, fiats, toyotas,hondas started comming over more and more... infact ... it was so great cause american car makers had to pull thier heads out of thier butts to compete- start making quality products!
    Competition is good for the economy and good for buyers! America needs to get off thier lazy behinds and get to work to keep up. I buy American when I can...but sometimes- the products are not as good..who's fault it that....

    Unions put the northern steal plants out of business..since they could not match costs with japan... issues like this have been going on since the revolutionary war...
    I admit that I hate to see businesses go overseas...but its our..yes Our own fault as americans that caused it. Too many bleeding Heart Liberals (btw- I;m dem.) that cry for this and that.

    Like the lady who sued mcdonalds for hot coffe...jeez..someone slap her!

    You can point all the fingers you want...shift blame where ever..
    but it boils down to the decicions of Americans.. it always has..it always will..

    Peace sells, but who's buying?

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    I don't think the car problem was totally to blame on American workers being lazy heads up their butts whatever. I feel it was more caused by the fake gas shortage causing the great gas crunch. Who can forget that with the lines and even odd days. We thought prices got high then, if we only knew.
    Chris

  22. #22

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    Default damn, I new I should have said my $.02 earlier

    I just reread this whole post. I would love to be able to reply to each and every agreement and disagreement, but I can't. Actually I could, but I'm much too lazy.

    I work in the manufacturing industry, chemicals, but it all applies. My wife works for a customs broker. We have had many conversations in the past about this subject.

    Americans as a whole are cheap bastards. We want every lap-of-luxury item, but we expect it to be the cheapest possible. That way we can buy more THINGS. Most people (even on this FORUM) will go to BEST BUY or CIRCUIT CITY to buy electronics, then go to a smaller electronics only store with all their concerns and questions. Walmart alone has DESTROYED more towns than has foreign manufacturing. American manufacturing costs usually dictate a higher price. Mostly due to environmental, safety, COL, & better overall work environment (OSHA, CERCLA, ETC). Personally, I'm glad they're there. There was a chemical company (I think it was DOW) that moved a major plant to India. BOOM, major explosion, millions of dollars, and thousands of dead later they moved the plant back to the U.S.A and accepted all the requirements that go along with it.

    Most major steps in manufacturing are automated. The machines, technology, and materials might be from one country, but the final assembly (more machines from the original country) is done for cheap labor elsewhere. The percentage of parts, labor, owning company dictates the "Made in ..." label. Many overseas companies will manipulate these numbers to get a lower duty rate or to bypass tariffs. Do those Polks made in Mexico say "Made in Mexico"? Even if they do, they'd be less likely to if it weren't for NAFTA.

    I also worked at an automotive handling/warehousing facility (Detroit). We stored and shipped the Mazdas coming out of the plant across the street. Sure it is a Japanese car company, but it was a Ford plant with the "monies" going mostly to the UAW employees and my union brothers and I (Ironworkers, go figure).

    I too would have picked the Japan model, but I think it was probably just the oldest and that the newer restocks will all say Malyasia at no difference to quality or jobloss.

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    Some more good points.

    I agree with you about Wal-Mart. Again, in Paris AR, there's NOTHING but Wal-Mart. Thank goodness it's not a Supercenter, or we wouldn't have any grocery stores left either.

    It's not that I'm against saving money, but there's more to it than that. They try to be all things-- grocery store, drug store, electronics store, jewelry store, automotive, hardware...... And they're not very good at any of it. They keep just the products they have to for just long enough to put anyone else in the area selling similar stuff, out of business. But like you said, the majority of people care more about price than quality or selection.

    I can't really justify paying $5 for a tube of toothpaste at the grocery store, though....

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    my mother-in-law is from a small town in tenn. and the super wallmart is the biggest employer!!

    scott

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    Sure, it's probably because they were able to shut down most of the small businesses. The townspeople have to work somewhere. Sure the superstores (not only Walmart) pay above minimum wage, but usually not by much. And in a small town they know a large percentage of what they spend on payroll will come right back to them.

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    Default Quality is job "1"

    While checking out some of the new products at the local store in the weekend, I can’t find stuffs that “Made in Japan’ anymore. Pioneer new DVD players: “Made in China”, Sony: “Made in Korea and Malaysia”, Toshiba, Phillips, JVC, Panasonic: “Made in Malaysia, Mexico and Hungary”. Most of them look so cheap and light weight, no dot matrix displays, fewer buttons, all plastic parts. Hang on to the stuffs that you already own folks; they are probably better than what the stores have out there now. Very few high-end products are still carrying the label “Made in Japan”, but they are very expensive…I found none of the products that "Made in USA" in the very same store...

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