As manufacturing announcements go, it was much ado about not much.
The news: Toyota will invest $10 million in its Georgetown, Ky., factory to begin producing gasoline-electric hybrid Camrys by late next year, which will add about 100 jobs at the factory.
By the time of the announcement, the details had been leaked and had been widely reported. But on Tuesday, Toyota went ahead with an elaborate satellite hookup that linked gatherings in Georgetown; Nagoya, Japan; and at the historic Willard Hotel, two blocks from the White House.
There were plenty of Toyota's American executives at all three sites. Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher was in Nagoya (I wonder why he wasn't in his old Kentucky home?). Kentucky Sens. Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell, along with Rep. Ben Chandler, marched in front of the microphone in our nation's capital basking in the warmth of 100 new jobs back home.
But the sophisticated hookup wasn't really about 100 jobs. It was about posturing.
In Georgetown, there was a Kentucky flag and a U.S. flag behind the podium. In Washington, there were two U.S. flags behind the podium, including one so new you could see the crisp folds marking it as freshly out of its factory package.
In Japan, there were no flags or Japanese executives.
This was about Toyota being an American company. And with the Senate marking up the energy bill this week, it was about Toyota claiming another jewel in its crown as the hybrid king.
In his subtle way, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. COO Jim Press extended the definition of hybrids to include fuel cells. He also said he expected in his lifetime for all vehicles to be hybrids.
Press also is a master of quick competitive jabs, and he took a not-so-subtle poke at Ford Motor Co., which has been grabbing a little hybrid gold in Washington with its hybrid version of the Escape.
Press matter-of-factly noted that in the United States in April, Toyota sold more Priuses than Mercury sold cars. He also noted that the Prius outsold the combined total of Ford's Volvo and Jaguar brands in the month.
Toyota's announcement on Tuesday was well conceived, thoroughly engineered and executed with professional precision.
Judging by the reaction in Washington, it worked.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at