Op-Ed Asks, “Do Car Buyers Care About Made in America?”

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Ever since the 2012 Cars.com survey of the top made in America car came out, it has been criticized. The latest criticism comes from an Op-Ed that wonders if consumers really care about the survey.

Do Car Buyers Care About Made in America?

An Op-Ed asks an interesting question, "do car buyers care about the Made in America sticker anymore?

While the Op-Ed by the Street, points out that normally around Independence day “Made in America” products tend to sell better, overall it doesn’t seem to be a big motivator among car buyers. The surveyors agree, “The Cars.com survey indicated that 23% of U.S. car buyers limit themselves to American vehicles, and of those 45% would buy a vehicle produced by a foreign automaker if they knew the vehicle was assembled in the U.S.”

This year the American made car is the Camry according to Cars.com. The trade group, American Automotive Policy Council,  “pushed back against the rankings, saying the study is flawed and gives foreign automakers the ability to falsely market themselves as American,” according to a Huffington Post story. The AAPC group says that the survey should take into account that U.S. automakers Ford, Chrysler and GM “should get credit for having their headquarters here, and doing research and development work in the U.S.”

The reality of today’s auto manufactures is that it is extremely difficult to distinguish which car company is truly American. This is due to so many of the “Big 3” automakers owning pieces of different companies and the global nature of today’s economy.While the North American market is a “big profit” place for all manufactures, they all realize that other markets are important as well. This includes exporting cars to China which was recently issued a World Trade Organization compliant by the U.S. Government. The Chinese have been putting tariffs on American imports which they see as being propped up by the government bailouts.

A recent example of how international “American” automakers have become is Ford whose North American business contributes 60 percent of overall sales according to story on Forbes.com. The story says though that Ford is spending an impressive amount of time and money in the Asia/Pacific markets. It plans on releasing new models and is building new plants there to expand its business.

According to Forbes,

Although Ford posted a small loss for Asia/Pacific in the first quarter, it still expects the region to be profitable for the full year.

“When people think about buying an ‘American’ car, they might just think automatically of the Detroit Three,” said Patrick Olsen, Editor in Chief at Cars.com. “In reality, this classification isn’t as cut and dry as it used to be.  Today, Fiat owns a majority stake in Chrysler, companies like Toyota are increasing production of their vehicles in the U.S. and parts are coming in from all over the globe.  Our index accounts for all of these factors to determine where vehicles rank.”

Ford is conducting research/development and has built management buildings in these foreign markets. Should Ford then be deducted “points” from the Cars.com survey for having overseas operations like AAPC would like to see Toyota have happen to it?

With all the globalization of companies portfolios and the lack of American consumers consistently buying only Made in America vehicles, does the survey mean anything anymore? What do you think are you one of the 23%?

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Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. LJC says:

    The comments/findings of “Op-Ed” may hold true for car buyers but this dude is out touch with pickup truck buyers. We pickup truck buyers are the most dedicated and the hardest to sway.

  2. mk says:

    true that about pickup buyers being the hardest to convince to sway from what they have owned for years and years no matter where they are made now. I thought I would never buy anything but GM until 2007 bought my first toyota ever in a tundra. Since then, have not bought a Big 3 product and 2 other Toyotas (japan and usa made) and a Hyundai Santa fe made in USA.

    Personally, I prefer to buy American made, but in the end, it doesn’t influence me too much at all since I buy what I think is a good value and good reliability that we like to drive is what counts to me.

  3. KMS says:

    I’m like mk, I thought I would never buy anything but American until I purchased my first Tundra back in ’02. Now I’m on my third one and really don’t see ever going back to the “Big 3”. I toyed with the idea of the F-150 last year but the price finally turned me away. The Ram was very appealing but their reliability numbers are scary compared to Ford and Toyota. GM was never a consideration considering their quality, outdated design and features, etc… The wife drives a ’12 Hilander and loves it. The only vehicles I now have that is “American made” is my Harley along with my Can Am commander UTV.

  4. Mickey says:

    American made went out the window sometime ago. Value and reliability is what stays with me.

  5. Josh says:

    When I went looking for a new truck and picked the Tundra I didn’t even know it was made here until about a week before I bought it. I looked at the best bang for the buck in regards to performance, looks, and durability (I have beat some trucks up). Now I just us the MADE IN USA part to piss off my friends that all drive big 3’s made elsewhere lol.

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