Americans Should Buy U.S. Cars, Period

The auto industry has a long history of providing sound jobs and contributing to economic prosperity in the U.S. Now it’s time for consumers to give back by choosing domestic cars instead of foreign ones. Pro or con?

Pro: Help Your Country

A short time ago, my wife and I bought an American car, a Ford (F) Focus, and I left the dealership feeling very proud.

I didn’t expect that—the pride in doing our small part to help maintain the U.S. auto industry while it reinvents itself—but it was there. We’re Americans, and we are assisting American skilled workers and an industry that is essential to our nation’s economic recovery, as well as one potentially significant to our national security (as it was in World War II).

Some private industries are integral to long-term national financial viability. The Detroit car industry—like our aircraft manufacturing capacity—falls into this category.

We are all aware that in today’s global economy some parts on U.S. cars are from overseas, and even some models are assembled elsewhere. But the fact remains that a nation that abandons its core manufacturing base is committing itself to economic dependence on overseas corporations and countries.

So the question for my wife and me was this: Do we go with a slightly higher-rated foreign compact or an American car that has just about caught up?

We didn’t have to ponder long. Detroit and the UAW need consumers to believe in the present and future of a revitalized U.S. transportation industry. And yes, I fully support transportation diversification into high-speed trains, mass transit, and other alternatives to cars, but it’s easier to branch out from an existing production capacity than to start from scratch.

The best economic investment in realizing that goal is to buy an American car.

Con: Buy What’s Best

Why shouldn’t Americans buy the cars that suit their needs? When I went to shop for my first car, I was admonished to "buy American." But I bought a three-year-old Celica based upon Toyota’s (TM) reputation. At the same time, my sister, who had always driven long-lasting Toyotas, felt pressured to buy American: She purchased a three-year-old Ford Taurus. In six months the engine block of the Taurus cracked. Sixteen years later, my Toyota was still running when I sold it.

I want a car that is fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly, and easy to maintain, and lasts a long time. I will buy from the car manufacturer who understands my needs and concerns. If that company is American, I will buy American. Otherwise the free market ensures that better products will successfully vie for my dollar.

For years, U.S. car companies knew they needed to design fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly cars. But they continued to make gas-guzzling pollution machines, while the consumer suffered at the gas pump, and the air grew worse.

A message has to be sent to the leaders of the industry: "Make a product that suits the needs of consumers, and they will buy."

It is not fair to expect us to purchase a car that doesn’t meet our needs. I will buy American when it’s a product I can be proud of, a 21st century car good for me and the environment. Until then, my wallet is voting for the best car it can buy.

Opinions and conclusions expressed in the BusinessWeek Debate Room do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessWeek, BusinessWeek.com, or The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Reader Comments

stopshopholic

Why don't we import more H-1B visas from India to work in car manufacturing to help keep down union cost.

Rich

This debate becomes less relevant with many so called "American" cars produced in countries like Canada, Mexico, and even Korea. Several "foreign" makes quite frequently are made in the U.S. like my Toyota Avalon produced in Kentucky. So "patriotism" can have strange consequences. In all fairness, Aliyah should concede Detroit produced vehicles Americans wanted (with scant regard for the environment) and purchased in huge quantities, and many foreign companies eagerly jumped on the SUV bandwagon as well. As usual there is no one bad guy, group, corporation, or country but rather plenty of blame for everyone. Live long and prosper.

mac

First: "American" cars are made from parts delivered from all over the globe. Just because they are assembled in the U.S., does that make them "American"? Second: Like Ms. Marr, my experience with Japanese and German cars (particularly) is far more positive than with American cars. My sister's Dodge minivan's transmission fell out in her driveway after six months (new). While my BMW 2002 (73) still runs just fine. When Americans build quality cars (a la 1960s) that get good (25-plus mpg), I'll be first in line.

David R. Harada-Stone

What does it even mean to "buy American"? The Ford or GM car you purchase might well be made in Mexico or Canada (or in past years, even South Korea). The Honda or Toyota you buy may be made in Ohio or California. Just because the nameplate sounds "American" doesn't mean the car is American.

José Olavo Neis

Why should "Americans" buy only American cars? French people French cars, Germans, German cars, etc. Didn't America put up factories all over the world right after World War II? Not only car industries, but almost any kind of product. America introduced globalization long after other countries had any chance to compete. Is England worried for not having any single "English car"? I believe countries should produce and sell whatever they are good at.

Matt

It needs to be a balance. There must be competition.

Buy a Honda and support the local economies of the towns and states where those vehicles are built here in the U.S.

Buy American to support American jobs.

But do not confuse buying American with supporting GM or Ford as American corporations. They are led to sell you a product at a profit so that stockholders will invest more money. If they can build the car in Canada or Mexico for less and pocket the cash in stock options, they will and America will not benefit from it.
Nor will the local communities building Subarus who gave tax revenue to land the plant in their town.

Start buying American when it actually is being manufactured and consumed in America. Then it means something.

Don

I would love to buy American made cars, and did for years. Unfortunately, I got tired of poor quality and dealing with poor customer assistance.

There was the Ford with a recall for a bad head gasket at 8,000 miles, the Pontiac with failed anti-lock brakes, blown wheel cylinder, failed oxygen sensor, and blown manifold gasket all before 36,000 miles. The last straw was a Jeep that had numerous defects (rear door sounded like it was open when closed, gas gauge read 1/4 full when empty, brakes shuddered when applied after 10,000 miles). Even though the gas gauge problem was covered by a recall, Chrysler refused to repair it because they maintained my car was manufactured the day after the recall ended (even though I had documentation otherwise). I'm mechanically adept and baby my cars (maintenance well beyond what's recommended), yet I still had these problems.

Since this, I only buy Japanese vehicles. I do scheduled maintenance, and they run trouble free and just last and last.

If the U.S. auto industry wants people to buy its cars (and I do want you guys to succeed) it needs to build fuel efficient, high quality cars and treat their customers like customers, instead of adversaries. I have two Toyotas and a Honda, and if the Big Three want them out of my driveway, they need to improve product longevity and reliability.

Jim

We should all buy at least one American car in our respective communities. We should also demand that our companies stay competitive. The true war is one of building a better car at the right price.

Kenn

I have a problem with people telling me what to buy and when (as in "buy American, now!"). I am sure these same people would throw a tantrum if I yelled at them in the middle of Wal-Mart for buying that toy/playset/audio device/TV/DVD/car part/houseware item/hardware item/whatever that was shipped to their local store from China/Philippines/Japan/India/Mexico. If American products can be manufactured here and are made less expensively, shipped less expensively, and are of higher quality, then people may buy American without being pushed.

random

I'm right there with several of the commenters who point out that your Ford Taurus or Chevy Malibu is probably built in Mexico while your Toyota Tundra or Honda Accord is built in the U.S. If anything, foreign car manufacturers are providing thousands of jobs to Americans while domestic car manufacturers are anything but.

Reader

This is a dumb debate. First of all, what is defined as "American"? Is a Honda that is made in Ohio less "American" than a Ford that's built in Mexico? American auto companies had their chances again and again, but they did not care about the American consumer. Only their profit margins. And this is why they are losing.

Alexandra

Sure, why not buy American cars? It helps our economy and the cars have just as much quality, selection, and features as any foreign maker's cars. It's just fatuous to go looking abroad for a car, and then bitch that jobs are going overseas. See the irony.

DonJulito

I am a 67-year-old man that 9 years ago bought my first Honda and never looked back. Before that, I spent thousands of dollars in repair of American made cars. Lost even more in depreciation.

Presently own a Honda and a Toyota. Never have had an issue with either car.

Strategery

It's easy to make this decision if you look at the spec sheet hanging in the window of a new car (it also contains such information as the EPA MPG ratings, etc.). That sheet will tell you the percentage of the car that is from the U.S./Canada (the 51st state?), the country of origin for the engine and transmission, and it will also state the final assembly point. The Ford Focus is hardly an American car. It was (at least initially) designed in Germany; the engine is basically a Mazda design and is built in Mexico; and the transmission was probably made in Germany or Japan. It is very likely that the tires, electronics, and many other parts are from Asia. All told, probably about 60% of the car is U.S./Canadian.

shorts-r-us

Buy American, yeah right. What do Americans make nowadays? Every electronic item and every clothing item is made in China, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. The U.S are consumers not producers.

skeptical

I'm 62 years old and in my adult life have owned two Dodges, two Fords, and two Mercurys. My current Grand Marquis is nine years old and has never had a single problem. Absolutely no repairs--never been in the shop for anything. Even the tires, belts, and hoses are still original. My Dodge Diplomat and the Ford Crown Vic needed some air conditioner repair after many years driving under the scorching sun of the deep South. Other than that, nothing needed beyond routine brake jobs, new belts, hoses, lights, and such. I find it hard to believe all these claims of American cars falling apart in the driveway within months of manufacture. Rather, I think there is a lot of exaggeration in these stories. My last two vehicles (Crown Vic and Grand Marquis) were assembled in Canada--across the river from Detroit--making them basically American. They are solid, reliable cars with great pick-up, cargo capacity, and reasonable mileage (20 mpg city/25 mpg highway). I would keep buying these models for the rest of my life, as long as Ford keeps building them. Most police departments and taxi cab companies use them as well, so they have to be reliable and economical. American does not equal junk. Quite often it equates to quality.

pitbull friend

I bought a Saturn SL-2 sedan in 1997 and loved it. Mileage was excellent (better than the posted estimates) and it ran like a top. Stupid GM decided to cash in on the SUV craze and stopped making cars on this great low-maintenance platform. They brought back a similar low-end model with the Ion, but it was bigger, and the mileage wasn't as good.

It was still running very well, but had 125,000 on it. I had a chance to trade it for a Toyota Corolla of similar age but with only 40,000 miles on it.

I've always heard good things about Toyota, but this car feels like cheap crud compared to my Saturn. It feels cheap and tinny and has already needed more maintenance in 6 months than the Saturn did in 10 years. And the mileage is significantly worse.

Saturn put out great cars. Everyone I know who has had one loved it. Is that why GM seems poised to dump the brand?

dunno

A little bit apples to oranges, but what would the powers that be say if Americans decided that hey, our money would be safer and earn higher interest rates in a foreign country? And so everyone moved their money overseas (who needs a bank--everything is with plastic these days anyway)?

But actually this is hard to do--seems as if our government discourages such activity. And yet, where is the government opposition to factories and jobs going overseas?

Tom Henderson

I owned Ford and GM cars for many years, and I long became used to having serious, costly maintenance problems with them over time.

I eventually just assumed that this was simply part of being a car owner.

GM and Ford dealerships were also a big problem. Many times, I'd bring my car in for repair and the work would be unsatisfactory and overpriced.

Then, I bought my first Japanese car: a Toyota Corolla. I was stunned at how reliable it was. I had zero problems after 100,000 miles; then 200,000 miles. I'd never seen anything like this before. I vowed to never buy a GM or Ford vehicle again.

I then bought my first German car: a BMW Z3. Like the Toyota, it was amazingly reliable. It was also fun to drive. And what's more, when I took it into the dealership for service, I was actually treated with courtesy and respect. They got the work done quickly and efficiently and they didn't try to rip me off with unnecessary repairs (like I encoutered many times at GM and Ford dealerships).

If my experience is at all common, then it's really no wonder that GM and Ford are in the toilet and that frustrated consumers have turned their backs on their products.

ps

While it is noble to "buy American," what does buy American mean? Mazda 6 and Ford Fusion are blood brothers, Chevy Equinox engines are made in China. If you focus on domestic content as "Made in America," Honda Accords likely have more domestic content than a number of Big Three machines. Does buying an Aveo instead of a Daewoo mean buying American? Does buying a Toyota Matrix instead of a Pontiac Vibe count as foreign even though they come out of the same plant? The Big Three caused this problem themselves. They've badge engineered themselves into a corner. They even screwed up in China with badge engineering. Add to that having folks on full pension and bennies at 48 and turning off a generation of buyers with mediocre product (legacy, not now, the Big Three does make good cars), and it kind of tells you that it will take years to gain back the image and reputation they once had all those years ago.

John

I used to drive Chevys before, and I was always frustrated at all the repairs on them. My son gave me a 2004 Honda Accord for my birthday, and I just loved the car. It has 110,000 miles on it now and still runs great. If GM comes up with a vehicle that matches my Accord in performance and reliability, I would certainly consider buying one, but till then I am happy with my Honda.

allan

In the past 30 years I have bought 4 Fords, 1 Volvo (at the time owned by Ford), 1 Toyota and Bmw Z4 made in South Carolina. I never had a problem with any of these cars except the Toyota's charging system. There are plenty of good American cars, and routine repairs are cheap unlike those of the foreign cars. We must try and buy American. Let's put down our cell phones and start showing the world what we can do as Americans.

Jeff B

Okay, first Mr. Buy American Genius, that Ford Focus you bought and which you are so proud of was designed largely by Mazda. It is built on the same chassis as the Mazda3 and Volvo S40 (though somehow Ford managed to make their version handle a lot worse than the other two). Second, if you want to keep subsidizing companies who build mediocre products, go for it, but don't expect that this will in any way help America or you. Your vehicle will have a much worse resale value than a comparable Honda or Toyota four years from now. Make sure to wave your little flag when you trade it in. For 40 years all we've heard from Ford, GM, and Chrysler is excuses why they can't compete. They still don't make any best-in-class vehicles (the Ford Escape is a Mazda design too, by the way).

buy american?

One of the earlier commenters has it right--what does it mean to buy "American"? The parts are from all over the world, some U.S.-owned brands are made overseas (Volvo, anyone?) and some "foreign" brands are built here in the U.S. with U.S. parts (BMW, Toyota). No, it is up to the consumer to buy the best product at the best price--that is how the market works.

CLP

I have a Nissan Murano and love it. It is the perfect car for me. If an American company had made this car, I would have bought it from them. That said, American car companies may have improved quality in recent years. But good Lord, do they design ugly cars! Especially Ford and Chevy. That's their first problem. And change over your logos.

John

Buy used cars. Where it was made is irrelevant. I'll take my three-year-old Camry over any new car priced even $5,000 more. Save yourself the hit on depreciation in the first few years on a new car and also have a few more dollars in your pocket to spend locally.

Ron

Buy what helps Americans keep their jobs. Remove all the unnecessary options, and get the UAW to stop being greedy. I don't need a $40,000-plus truck to make a living.

Michael

65% of my Honda Accord's contents were manufactured in the USA/Canada, and my car was assembled in Ohio. A comparable Ford Fusion has 50% of its parts manufactured. in the USA/Canada and is built in Mexico. My Honda Accord will last forever and hold its own in resale value. A Ford Fusion will be worthless in a few years and will probably be found on the road dead (Ford). You tell me which is the better car to own. When GM and Ford actually start caring about the American workers and building cars that are as good and are equally as desirable as Honda's or Toyota's, I'll consider buying an American car. Until then, you won't see me driving anything but a Honda or Toyota.

Mark

It is time to get out of this industrial age. Let's stop wasting more money propping up an industry that will eventually fall anyway. Let's kick it to the curb now and save ourselves some pain in the coming future.

Eventually the other countries will go through the same problems when transportation evolves anyway.

Who Moved My Cheese?

swashy

Why should I pay for the pension of some imbecile that has done nothing more that putting a sticker in the window of a new car? I hate the UAW and will never buy anything made by these idiots.

GM Daughter

We've hosed ourselves so badly it really doesn't matter anymore. Nobody's gonna have a job and nobody's gonna buy anything. We won't be able to buy a foreign car, because we'll have nothing they want (except the food off of our tables) to trade for it. It's all our own fault for outsourcing everything.

RoMe

As a European supplier for various industries here in the U.S., we also make some of our products here in Illinois. When I read this thread I start to worry a lot. When I talk to my customers they are all moving their manufacturing offshore as their customers and the end user demand lower cost from them. The automotive manufacturers here in the U.S., if foreign or domestic, are under the pressure of the customers to cut costs also. If the U.S. does not start to create a program to get back manufacturing jobs in the U.S. soon by providing a worldwide competitive product, the same will happen as for electronics, toys, etc. And Europe will be heading the same way. Therefore the governments need to get together asap to talk about the way we distribute workload in the future.

dan

I agree that Detroit has had its issues, no question. I don't think people take into account the workers that design cars is the U.S. as well as all the infrastructure that goes along with it. This isn't just people on an assembly line making cars; there is an entire infrastructure behind it. When you purchase a foreign name-plate, that profit goes overseas, along with the business infrastructure to support it. We can't continue to bleed cash as a country and keep any semblance of a middle class.

Steve

I must be rare. Only major problem that I have had with a car in 30 years was with an Audi. Honda was the least problematic. I've had good cars from Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, and Acura.

Robert Laughing

Yes, the slugs who fought tooth and nail to avoid putting in seatbelts, three point seatbelts, and rear seatbelts, airbags, better crash-worthiness, better mileage, fought side-door beams, and just about everything an American driver would want or need, but Detroit found it cheaper and more expedient to buy a few lousy, cheap, greedy Congressmen. Buy a U.S. piece of? No way. Suffer, you bloody blighters.

peter

I detest the UAW. I will never buy a Ford, GM, or Chrysler. In fact, I will never rent one.

MC

I'm sorry, but I mistakenly thought that we have capitalism that says essentially may the product that best meets consumer needs win. Since when do these "American" companies have any loyalty to their customers? They are loyal only to the bottom line. They are paying the price for that loyalty and their own stupidity and irrationality.

Michael

I owned a 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix and put on more than 145,000 miles with no major repairs. I'm so sick of people formulating opinions off of the few bad stories they hear. For every person on this site who has had a bad experience, I could name five people I personally know that have never had a problem with their American cars. Cars are complex mechanical creations; things will go wrong on certain cars. You need to formulate your opinions from fleet data, not blog stories. I currently own a fully loaded Fusion SEL and for the price, safety, features, bumper to bumper warranty, and style, it blows Toyota and Honda out of the water. I got mine for under $20,000. Oh yeah, I have all wheel drive and get 31 MPG with a V6.

sumi cue

Quality and usefulness are the primary considerations when buying anything. It is part of one's fulfillment of his/her pursuit of happiness, an inalienable right mandated for me as a human being. For the American manufacturers to prosper, it is their duty and responsibility to deliver products that will satisfy this basic human yearning for beauty, quality, and usefulness of the products they buy. Hence, the question whether one's act of buying American-made cars or not buying them is patriotic or not should be changed to "whether the USA carmakers are being patriotic by delivering shoddy products to USA citizens." It is for the good old glory for Americans to insist that their country's manufacturers produce products that the USA can be proud of all over the world. Let the humankind engage in competition in this regard: who can best deliver quality products that will best enhance the well being of all the citizens of the world and not just the USA. Therefore, may the best win the game and may this competition strengthen freedom and justice for all.

EM

Buy the car from the company that makes the best product and has the best customer service you can afford. GM and Chrysler have neither. Their executives like Lutz only care about how much they get and their private planes.

The union deserves their fates because they could have demanded to build cars the market wants. They had the power. They deserve what they get.

VW is more American then GM with offices in Virginia and manufacturing in Tennessee. After all, give the people what they want and not what Bob Lutz and Rich Wagoner want to give us. Obama should not pander to the unions. Stick them in bankruptcy and let the market thin the herd. After all, markets kill bad companies and products.

Gene

I bought American--just got a new Honda. (My former PT Cruiser was made in Mexico.)

Elaine

Yup, I'm with MC above. A free-market economy tends toward maximum efficiency; if American manufacturers can't keep up with market demands, why should they have their inefficiency rewarded?

I know there's a jobs argument in this, which is what makes it difficult not to buy American, but honestly, if we do this buy-American thing, aren't we just postponing the inevitable? Better to put the unsustainable players out of their misery quickly rather than watch them flail around, and let creative destruction take its course. Harsh but necessary, in my humble opinion.

Mike

I would be for buying American automobiles, but I don't think we should buy them just to help out the economy. I feel that we should be able to get cars and trucks that last and have minimal repairs over their lifetime.

ibidibid

It makes fiscal sense to buy cars that are more reliable. Generally I--and it seems many others--have found that these are not among U.S. "brands." I can't afford to make purchasing decisions based on ideology, patriotism ,etc. For me, it has to be about price/value, now that our collective pockets have been savaged by a reckless industry that now wants our forgiveness and help.

Burbs Biz Lady

I've been buying Japanese-brand cars for decades--models that are made right here in the good ole USA. I'm supporting U.S. jobs, keeping communities vibrant, helping tax dollars flow in manufacturing areas, and enjoying well-built, well-priced, quality cars with good gas mileage. Isn't that what it's all about?

Marie

I have only owned American cars and have never had any major problem. Americans need to stop thinking American car companies don't build quality cars. They out there. When was the last time you bothered to look or took a test drive? When you buy a Toyota or Honda that was assembled in America by American workers, the profit doesn't stay in America; it goes to Japan.

RICK

I always purchased an American made car, but after spending $34,000 for a GM SUV I had nothing put problems with the electronic gauge. The only response I get when I take it back to the dealer to complain is "That item is not cover under the warranty." I had an RPM, speed, oil, and gas gauge all go out only to hear the same reply. But if I want to spend $3,200 to replace it they will be glad to install a new one. Next car I buy will be a foreign brand model.

Chryslers are the worst automobiles on the road and should be allow to go under. We already gave them more then they paid for the company from the Germans.

Screw GM. It's their fault for getting into the housing market and subprime loan business and poor decision.

Ford could have spent all that money on retooling their plants, but now they have to spend and lose money on Volvo, Range Rover, and Jaguar.

Capitalist

No. Buyers of automobiles should choose whatever they desire. Many U.S. cars have recalls, because they were built with union sloth workers. Unions have no purpose in today's society. They had a purpose years ago during the industrial revolution, but no longer.

No American has a guaranteed job with guaranteed pay increases. The only guarantees are death and taxes. Extinguishing all unions would provide equality and competition.

Chris

So many of you (falsely) claim that these American cars are actually designed/produced/assembled in foreign countries, yet you also rip on them for being built by the UAW . So which is it? Can't have it both ways.

The bottom line is this: The best argument anyone seems to make for not buying from GM, Ford, or Chrysler is a problem they had with their 73 Diplomat. Please people, educate yourselves and look at the latest quality/reliability surveys. Most of the recent American cars/trucks are as good or better than imports (Chevy Malibu, Cadillac CTS, Ford Fusion, etc.)

And trying to justify buying a Honda or Toyota because they have a few final assembly plants here is just plain ignorant.

The immense amount of design work, development, testing, validation, marketing, advertising, accounting, and distribution for a vehicle sold by the Big 3 in the US/Canada is done here in the US/Canada. And 95% of this work is done by non-union, highly skilled and educated designers, engineers, advertising/marketing personnel, accountants, and businesspeople. When you buy from a foreign nameplate you might be buying a vehicle that had its final assembly here (from imported parts), but you are supporting very few of these highly skilled jobs in the U.S.

Speaking as one of these engineers (with a bachelor's and master's degree) who works for one of the Big 3, the level of ignorance and apathy regarding the American auto industry that I continue to see/hear is shocking.

mammacat

When the U.S. produces a car that can beat the 33 mpg I'm getting with my Scion, and the payments are manageable for someone who lives alone and works and pays her bills, then I'll consider buying American. I work 36 miles from home, in a small rural hospital. You want me to quit, work at the neighborhood grocery store bagging groceries instead? I'm very happy with my Scion. I can afford the payments; my maintenance costs are low -- tell me again why I should trade her in for a gas-guzzling, expensive American car?

Tim

I had owned a Chevy truck just a year ago but sold it because of financial reasons. The truck had a few issues but nothing major. I liked their trucks but would not buy their cars. Now that we are bailing them out because of the union morons and their failure to actually produce a product that compares to many of the foreign cars I told my wife that I would never buy an American car again, because we are paying for their incompetence. I think we should make them go bankrupt and if they still can’t handle competition after reorganizing, tell the foreign auto companies that you have now an open market in the United States and you will need to build the cars in the U.S. or otherwise you will be taxed on importing autos. I believe they already have some type of tax similar to that so just increase it to get them to build the cars here.

Deb Garrett

I will never buy an American made car. They are ugly and the quality is awful. I've bought a Chevy Malibu and it was always in the shop; it didn't have a 100,000 mile warranty. Then I bought my first Nissan Maxima. It was great and the trade-in value of it was strong after 4 years. Never had a problem with it all that time. Next I bought a Nissan Murano. I've had it 2 years and haven't had any problems with a 100,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. I will always buy foreign cars and I don't care if the money goes to Japan. Nissan employs American workers at its plants in the USA. Those Detroit workers make entirely too much money and don't need full pensions. That's going to go away, too.

jtrock

I have had bad (a really awful Mercedes--electrical problems) foreign cars and bad American cars (Cadillac that kept stalling). When Detroit builds what America wants they will sell. There is virtually no quality difference today between car makers.

Sure GM is losing money. Even Toyota is losing money in this market. American consumers are smart--they will sort this out. If we let our domestic carmakers go out of business it will hurt for a long time, but we also do not want to prop up "zombie" companies that cannot compete. Without a viable plan we should not give money to support an industry that cannot compete.

I myself

You will have samples of good and bad running cars in every brand. That's just a fact. The Japanese marketed their efficiency. They embraced the counsel of Deming (the efficiency expert Detroit rejected as being a quack), and they preached that marketing message of efficient manufacturing again and again until we all heard it. American companies have tried to follow suit, talking up the efficiency angle. That's already sewed up; our companies are too far behind. Get back to the passion we felt for Mustangs and Corvettes. Emotion marketing is the key to recovery. There's just nothing to get excited about anymore.

Westernfan

Yup, the Detroit Three are still suffering from the reputation they earned for building lousy vehicles they sold 10 to 20 years ago--particularly the smaller passenger vehicles. They never quite figured out how to build small, high quality, fuel efficient vehicles--so they made a decent living building high quality trucks and SUVs that they could produce and sell profitably, until fuel hit $4 per gallon. If they, or anyone else, saw $4 fuel coming, they may have done things differently.

Bottom line? Detroit builds better vehicles today than they ever have, and yes they can compete with anyone. Very few people have much sympathy for these guys--but the domestic auto industry, and the suppliers and infrastructure they support, are essential to the survival and security of the U.S. economy.

Ray

For the sake of making a point, if each and every person owned nothing but vehicles made by the Big 3, these three companies would still be losing money. The problem has always been in overall management, right down to marketing, product strategy. By the way, I own a Honda made in Marysville, Ohio. Yes made in the United States of America. Marysville, a city in the state of Ohio. Ohio, which is a state in the USA. Made in the United States of America.

Anonymous

Check out the used-car blue blook trade-in value of the Ford Focus vs. a comparable Honda and Toyota--you'll be shocked.

US Citizen

My first American car was a Ford Contour. I could not recall how many times I had to take it to the dealer for repairs, recalls, etc. in the 7 years I owned it. I switched to a Toyota Camry later and I have been so pleased with that car. "Buy America" is a sentimental slogan that has no place in a free market economy. In a sense, you're a subsidizing auto companies that are inefficient in their production and make sub-par products. Such kind of subsidy just makes America weaker, not stronger. And please, don't make the argument that the auto industry is essential to our national security. It isn't.

James

Where does the company bank? Where are the retained earnings and profits kept? I see no argument regarding the Federal Reserve Requirement that requires that banks have a percentage of assets in reserve before they can make a loan. Honda and Toyota may have factories in the U.S., but a major portion of their assets are in Japan.

I agree the U.S. automobile industry and the aircraft industry are absolutely vital to the long-term interests of the United States, political, financial, and otherwise.

Scorpio

It's just that America has lost its innovative/competitive edge, because capitalists were engulfed by greed.

Buying these incompetent products will make these greedy capitalists rich and will make an average American poorer (when your car dies in sooner).

No, we won't buy your products.

Scorpio

Stopshopholic, good point. Why don't we abolish H-1B? No exploitation anymore--of Indians or Americans.

Chris

Frankly, GM shot itself in the foot when it killed its EV program in the early 2000s. Rather than beating Toyota at their own game, GM killed the project, citing there was not enough consumer demand. It amazes me how people in "C" level positions can be so ignorant when it comes to connecting with what the consumer really wants. Now, here they are again, with the Volt. I am interested in the Volt, but It may be too little, too late. If GM dies, it is surely because of its own doing, only exacerbated by the frozen credit markets. Right now Japan and Korea have better cars. Let's see if Ford can catch up and pass.

sam

I tend to think that any car built in America is an American car. An American-brand car that is built in China is not an American car as far as I am concerned.

Jules

99% of the people who have commented on this article are missing the point. Regardless of where a product is designed, engineered, and/or the parts come from, all of the profits from that GM, Ford, or Chrysler vehicle sale stay here in the United States. That revenue keeps Americans (blue collar and white collar) employed. The Americans who receive paychecks from the Big 3 then spend their money in their communities with large and small businesses.

Yes, employees of the imports spend their paychecks locally as well. However, there are far fewer Americans employed by the imports versus the Big 3.

GM and Ford make some excellent products that are equal in quality to the imports. The Chevy Malibu (made in Kansans and in Michigan) is an excellent example of a great quality car.

It's unrealistic to think that the U.S. can only be a "consuming" nation without producing anything. If we don't build anything here, where are people going to draw a paycheck from?

Chris Herz

What a silly debate. Way back in the sixties when astronauts first looked down on the Earth from space they did not see any bold black dotted lines dividing one people from another.

When I was young folks all over the world would buy "la belle Americaine." But Detroit threw all that away. Build good stuff, people will buy it. Build for Bubba, and who needs it?

Gary

Beyond the reliability superiority of Toyota and Honda, I am disgusted with the corporate service attitude of GM. I owned a 2002 Oldsmobile Bravada; under winter conditions, the brake pedal would collapse fully to the floor. I own a C6 Corvette that can deplete the battery when parked for as little as 48 hours. GM has not been unable or unmotivated to repair either issue. Why should we spend our money on a GM vehicle when GM has no interest in standing behind them? After $1,700 in repairs, I traded the Olds for a Toyota.

Jonathan

I'm curious as to the aspect that 1) You cannot but a good American car under $30,000, period, compared to a foreign car that will have a bit of luxury as well as good gas mileage; most American cars are cheap. 2) If you pull up in anything American (except the Caddy and Jeep), you look cheap whereas many foreign cars scream class (Mercedes, BMW, Audi). American has no cool cars; even the sports cars look clunky. Where do these American designers come from, Mars?

Dr. Bob

I feel that the American auto industry needs to survive and reorganize. We currently have no American cars in our household. Why? They make nothing we want to buy. Whose fault is this? Not the workers--they are working hard to make high quality vehicles. If they can make good Hondas in America, they can make good Chevys and Fords. The problem lies with management and culture of the industry. With all that has been happening in the world the last two years, why has Chevy spent millions perfecting a $140,000 Corvette they might sell 2,000 of? Hint--the code name was "Blue Devil" in honor of their chairman, who graduated from Duke. This is what is killing U.S. manufacturers, bad planning, bad management, and poor investment decisions (Saab, Volvo, Jaguar, Aston Martin, etc). Save the companies, and fire the management and their boards as a condition of survival. Then place some consumer and environmental experts to provide a counterweight to the auto culture--inject some reality.

Ayres c

Sue the unions. Shareholders should be allowed to sue the unions. Safety issues are long resolved. Unions have used the courts for years. Shareholders watching the UAW decimate earnings--$40 a share now down to $2 is ridiculous. If you don't like the job, move along. The transplants pay $44 an hour--double what most people make. The UAW should make buggy whips.

max

Ford makes a 40+ mpg pickup truck, the Ranger Turbo Diesel. It sells everywhere on planet Earth except the USA.

Ford also made an electric version of the Ranger.

So until Ford takes the assembly lines they already have that make high efficiency vehicles and starts selling them here, I don't see any reason to buy from them.

Chevy EV1? Remember that?

And notice that of the three "American" 1980s buzz boxes, the Chevy Chevette, Ford Escort, and the Chrysler K-cars (Omni, Reliant, LeBaron), which of those three do you still see running around? Oh, but it's Chrysler that might evaporate. Such irony.

My fellow "murikkans," "The stupid, oh it burns!"

BillR

Once upon a time, America was the symbol of free-market capitalism, whereby businesses compete for consumers purely by differentiating themselves on the basis of price/cost, quality/reliability, and product innovation.

Consumers can freely choose what brands to buy from whoever could produce the best product. If American companies can deliver a better product, people from all over--including America--will buy them. Apple, Boeing, Harley-Davidson come to mind here. Somehow recently the debate has veered over to questioning whether Americans who buy foreign products are un-American. I think American companies who produce inferior products and try to shame American consumers into buying them are un-American. I think Americans who question the patriotism of Americans who buy foreign products should check where they get their "everyday low prices" from--and ask themselves if they are willing to pay a premium for equivalent or inferior products.

Yay capitalism. Let the consumers pick from the best the world has to offer--and just maybe the American companies will figure out how to deliver the best products.

Pete Sommer

Rotten cars we have owned: 88 Taurus, 94 Caravan, 77 Volvo.

Near-perfect cars we have owned: 97 Toyota Camry, 2001 Accord.

Game over.

Robert P

Why does the debate have to be based on stereotypes: Buy American to help American workers or buy foreign cars for their quality. Again, there are plenty of low quality Japanese cars out there. I've had a Nissan, and that was enough to convince me never to buy Japanese again. Quality was poor and parts were way too expensive.

downhill

Anyone persuaded into a buying decision based on anything other than what you get vs. how much you pay now plus down the road (i.e. total-cost-of-ownership) is suckered--the persuader does it for no other need than the product he champions, cannot speak for itself, that it lags by a mile in those key aspects. Next time before you buy a Ford or GM or Chrysler, ask the salesmen what cars they and their spouses drive, and then get them to point out their cars from the parking lot. The last time I checked, and I checked many car dealers, they all didn't drive Ford or GM, amazingly or, really should be, not amazingly. So much for buying Ford or GM. Suckers beware. Your kind sympathy and patriotism is someone else's profit.

Liz

When Detroit stops producing garbage, then I will buy an American car.

ps

Max raises a good point. Have people seen the quality of Detroit in Europe? The Mondeos and Focuses are incredible. Opel and Vauxhall produce extremely attractive cars. It seems that Detroit in the past has taken a more cavalier approach here in the states to products based on the fact that U.S. clients were not as demanding as their European counterparts. Why has it taken so long to get the new Focus here? At least GM has taken some Opels and called them Saturns--but wait, they're casting Saturn loose. You can't pin these issues on the factory workers. It's dumb decision-making by execs due to pressure from clueless number-obsessed bean counters.

Michele

Buying from our American automakers is wrong on so many levels. The biggest is the lack of investment back into the U.S. They are greedy, out of touch, sell shoddy cars, don't work to help the environment, leave cities like Detroit in ruins, and then rob us of tax dollars for a bailout. The only issue I have is that in the end, an economy based on 70% consumer spending is what got us into this economic mess. We need large industry to offset this and start selling things we make. I say if we are going to subsidize the industry and buy American we should also demand that they shift their purchasing and production strategy to be more U.S.-focused.

Paul

To say that foreign car companies build only environmentally responsible autos is so far from the truth. Look at Toyota's line and tell me that they don't build gas guzzlers: the Tundra, Land Cruiser, Sienna, Sequoia, 4-Runner, and FJ Cruiser all get less than 17 mpg city. On top of that, six more models get less than 21 mpg city. By my count that is more than half of their lineup.

Katy

If American carmakers made cars that lasted as long and as well as foreign ones, then Americans would buy more of them. I have my "foreign" car almost 10 years now, and my mechanic always reminds me that when I'm selling it to come to him first. That's how good it is--starts up today just as well as it did when I first bought it and it gets fantastic gas mileage (36 mpg).

Howard

Let's see in 2001 I bought an "American car," a Buick, and a Japanese car, a Honda Accord. It turns out the Buick was made in Mexico, and the Honda in Ohio. So, please tell me which car is foreign or which car is American.

mike

When Detroit gets control of the unions and changes the way they conduct business, as well as producing a quality product, then I will begin buying American.

phyllis

For many years we bought only American automobiles and trucks. We felt we should since it would help the American economy. In 2002 we purchased our first non-American vehicle. In 2005 I needed a new vehicle and started my quest to find a fuel-efficient American-made vehicle. Couldn't find one that got more than 26 to 28 mpg, even ones that were so tiny on the inside that a normal size adult couldn't fit in the back seat.

I ended up purchasing a Prius, and I am glad I did. Great fuel economy and plenty of space for passengers and transporting items.

I do not fault the UAW for the cost of American cars, as my Prius was not cheap. I do fault the auto industry execs and owners who continued down the path of ever larger vehicles for America, fighting any regulation for higher efficiency with billions of dollars that could have been used to develop and produce a more efficient vehicle that wasn't the size of a clown car.

Until the American auto industry decides to put a little effort into developing fuel efficient vehicles that are normal size like my Prius, we will continue to purchase "foreign" vehicles.

Rationalist

In a democratic capitalistic world, people should not be forced in a direct or indirect way to buy products. Any organization which produces good products, does good marketing, and provides good services has a good chance to succeed in a capitalistic economy. If you look at Apple, they don't force people to buy iPods or beg government for money. People the world over buy their product for their quality, innovation, and service. Sony and their likes could not break into their market. It is the same with software services. We don't tell the world to use Google and Youtube--everybody uses them because of their innovation and services.

I guess people should feel free to buy cars that provide best value for money and not because misguided patriotism.

Kat

I buy American, and that is why I drive a Toyota. The Toyota I drive was built in America by American workers. Why should I buy a car from a U.S. company that has abandoned the U.S. and its workers? All you need to do is take a look around Flint, Michigan, and you can get an idea of what the U.S. auto companies feel about America. I will continue to support American workers--not American companies.

smchris

What's best is a bus, subway, metro or Amtrak. Or bicycle. Or living close enough to work to walk.

The American auto/suburb mix is poison for so many reasons, has been poison for decades and only spread like a cancer when oil was cheap as water. Time for some reality. Time to get more "Euro."

The best thing for America would be if nobody bought any cars for a couple years until they retooled to sane vehicles. Then? Sure, buy American.

dreamon

If there never were foreign carmakers, people here would still be handing over very hard earned cash to domestic car makers who intentionally built in "calculated obsolescence in five years (probably less) in their car" so that they could laugh all the way to the bank while treating consumer as nothing more than stupid, dumb cash cow.

Be glad that Japanese carmakers started coming in and after initial struggles, learned the important lessons of serving the customer, started raising the bar for others to follow.

For most of us working Joes and Janes, just think how hard (stress) we have to work to earn our cash every hour. You sure do not want to waste them on unnecessary adventures on the second most expensive item you will every buy in your life.

Does not matter who it will be in the future--anyone with the best product at the best price will get my business, because my own customers are demanding same high standard from me and if I cannot meet the bar, they will go some other place for a better bargain. Fair and simple.

By the way, do not blame off shore businesses for taking our jobs. It is the CEO/management/shareholders who consciously (and tried very hard to) sent all those jobs overseas so that the short term bottom line gets bigger, which in turn manifested as big bonus check for all the upper echelons.

Just remember, upper echelons live in a different world that is quite different than that of the ordinary life of Joe and Jane. It truly makes them feel like they are nothing if they do not have multiple multi-dollar homes all over or do not own a $200 million dollar boat or cannot stay at $10,000 a night hotel.

rcpmax

I am tired of this old, tired debate. After many years of owning and working on my own cars--having owned both foreign and domestic--and being a full-time mechanic for several years, I have seen which are better. Just like the old adage of "let the best man win," it is the same for cars. For me the "best man" is foreign and mostly Japanese. Period.

Doug Roberts

What is an American car? Honda Accords are built in the U.S., using U.S. manufactured components by Americans. The various state sales taxes, income taxes, business taxes, are paid to the state and the federal government. The employees of the Honda assembly plants spend their paychecks in the U.S. I would guess that 90% of the financial transactions that make up the manufacture, distribution, and sales of Honda Accords directly benefit U.S. citizens.

Fords are also built in the U.S. But they manufacture engines in Brazil, transmissions in Mexico, and many other components come from suppliers all over the world. Why is it more patriotic to buy a Ford or a Chevy instead of a Honda or Toyota?

Large companies like auto manufacturers are not limited by geographical borders. There is no patriotism involved. Just buy the car that makes the most sense for you and keep patriotism out of it. Patriotism is dangerous anyway.

PNW Trojan

Don't know what Michael, with his 99 Pontiac (above @1:17) is smoking, but the information I depend upon comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Consumer Reports --the only two unbiased, trustworthy agencies that evaluate cars thoroughly. Another common sense approach is how many people are buying which cars? What is the 5, 10, 20 year trend? Clearly, Detroit produced garbage scows that killed or injured a lot of people, so they could pay management and the UAW obscene sums. Thinking people went and bought Japanese or European, until Detroit ruined certain European brands. There are great American cars being built here, by BMW, Toyota, and Honda, among a few others.

Robert

I did this for years when it was unfashionable to do so. A Ranger, then a Contour, and a barely used Probe. Then the cost of keeping those got to me. After that it was the most basic Accent, which got me back and forth to work for the next seven years without a single maintenance issue. Sorry, you need to make a simple economical car before getting my business again.

Peter Pan

The answer is surprisingly simple. If the government prints money and gives it to us, then we should by domestic cars. If we earn money and want more car for the buck, then we should pick the most reliable and best designed car, no matter where it comes from.

Reading

GM doesn't believe "buy American" applies to them: Recently GM looked for a battery vendor for their new Volt. They chose a Korean firm because the American companies "were not far enough along" to supply the best battery to GM. Maybe if GM had been working on an electric car the American firms would be farther along. But to claim "buy American" for their cars and then to go overseas for a potentially game-changing technology is completely wrong. Don't be snowed by the car executives--they are after profits and nothing else.

Robert

It makes sense to support your own country and industries. Buy American--absolutely.

It even makes more sense to pressure Congress in zeroing out H-1B visas until our employment picture looks decent again.

Stuart Logan

The reasons the US makers are inefficient are down to commonality. For some reason they decided to build cars to American tastes; bigger and more variety is better attitude.

Take the Ford Focus: There is a European version and a U.S. version, with 1,400 different componants.

The reason BMW, VW, Toyota, and Honda make it is their version is sold globally and very little is changed to optimize supply chains and allow inventory to be sent to demand.

The reason Ford is in good shape is a lot down to good vehicals in Europe than it is to good business practices, once it has common cars for global markets (i.e how many U.S. people have heard of a Ka, S-Max, C-Max, Mondeo etc). It will florish again. GM just got too big, and should be broken up and the strongest survive.

sandspj

In 2007, Japan sold 2.9 million cars and trucks to us, and we sold fewer then 50,000 to Japan (source: Wall Street Journal). Toyota sold 2.9 millon cars and trucks to North America with 1.2 million assembled in North America. We let this happen.

Realist

Still in the market for buggy whips? I'm not. I'll buy American again when they are the better product and not until.

When GM went into the tank, was Rick Waggoner expected to resign after apologizing to the shareholders for his poor performance as did the former CEO of Toyota? No--Waggoner was given another chance to continue down the potholed road he deliberately chose before the economic collapse became his new reality despite numerous warnings from knowledgeable sources. No adverse expectations for Ford's Mulally or Chrysler's Nardelli, either.

Now, Waggoner and his plush posse expect the Congress, the UAW, and the American people to ride to the rescue of their opulent remuneration. Screw them. The workers will take their lumps if the Big Three go under, but they already know how to make the most of their wages. Waggoner, Mulally, and Nardelli will just have to learn as they go.

Kevin

There's no problem with "Buy American" so long as the basis for the argument is one of quality, not of nationalism.

I heartily agree with Ms. Marr, that I will gladly purchase an American car if they are ever made to address my concerns. If you're going to tell me that the Big Three did build cars Americans wanted, I'll remind you that none other than Chrysler's (then GM's) Bob Lutz said "The customer is not always right;" you can't always listen to the customer and give them what they say they want, being a successful business means having foresight to meet customer's needs that even they are not aware of.

In this case, that means fuel-efficient, low- or no-emissions cars. The rest--well-built, long-lasting, safe, etc. are all qualities we've been demanding for years.

Craig

Somebody said to sue the unions? I have to say that if the editor of Buzzflash believes that buying an American piece of crap car (probably made in Mexico with Japanese steel and Korean/Taiwanese parts) because it's good for America, I have to wonder even more so than I do already, if Buzzflash is not really a progressive Web site.

reeger

I own two late-model Fords and two late-model Nissans. I must say that the quality is finally there in the American cars, so far. But the problem is that the American cars have let many people down, so am I lucky that both Fords haven't had that too many problems? Maybe. But I know of others who have had problems with them, but both my Nissans run like beasts--you can beat them hard and they don't complain. The American car manufacturers have to make quality, reliability, and durability their number one priority; design and style come second. Most of Toyota's are plain-looking cars compared to Ford and GMs, but they can take a beating. And in the end, value is what counts. I am happy so far with my two Fords. I hope to continue to be happy up to 150,000 on both. If they last that long, then I will replace them with another Ford. If not, then I am sticking with the Japanese. It's that plain and simple. And Rick Wagoner should go. He's run that company into the ground. At least Mulally turned Boeing around, and I hope he can do the same for Ford. So far things look a little better at Ford than GM.

Nataly

I'm buying the car that can give me the best bang for my buck. Period!

I can't afford to invest in a car that will not retain its residual value well, will fall apart quickly, will be a gas guzzler, and be recalled gazillion times because it was not properly built in the first place.

Bopper

Why buy American anything? Let's buy our military equipment from our friends the Chinese. Let's use illegal aliens to build our houses, let's buy our water and food from the Colombians and Mexicans, and let's let Russians be our cops, firemen, and EMTs. Why should we do anything except what is cheaper? Aren't we the wisest and smartest people in the world?

Bogie

An American car is a vehicle assembled in the United States. How about a $5,000 tax credit to buyers of U.S.-assembled vehicles, regardless if they are GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Subaru, or whatever? If GM wants to go ahead with plans to import Buicks from China, that won't qualify. Giving consumers the stimulus instead of the failed executives of the Big Three will jump start the U.S. economy. Why penalize the Japanese and Koreans for opening up U.S. plants?

Another John

Ford will survive, in my humble opinion. If GM is mostly an assembler of GM branded vehicles, then it's not like we're losing a technology giant. Perhaps 50 years ago, that would not have been the case, but this is today's reality--not our grandfather's Buick--to borrow one of their tag lines. Personally, I would rather see GM, Ford, and Chrysler remain but you want in the game the player that produces. We live in the information age now. Executives should know what that means. When the President says that business as usual is over, I don't believe many people fully appreciate what that means. "You can fool some of the people some of the time, you can even fool most of the people most of the time, but you can never fool all of the people all of the time." As the light of the information age grows brighter, we will find the first two parts of this little sage piece of advice fading.

John

No I wouldn't help them. Piss on them. They would not help me, so [forget] 'em.

NT

Buy American means shut down Wal-Mart. If anybody is responsible for American jobs it is this union-hating behemoth. Ask Rubbermaid and they will tell you why. All that cheap crappy stuff was not Made in America where quality used to matter.

Vinny

As long as the only beautiful cars designed by Detroit are "concept" cars, which are not in production, nobody will consider buying a "tasteless" GM Ford or Chrysler. It's the design as well as quality that matter. It looks like Detroit doesn't know anymore what the American people want. A word to the wise.
Oh, by the way, what's the American equivalent of the most sold cars in the world:
Mercedes: American equivalent?
Audi: American equivalent?
BMW: American equivalent?
Porsche: American equivalent?
Toyota: American equivalent?
Honda: American equivalent?
Nissan: American equivalent?
Acura: American equivalent?
Lexus: American equivalent?
I could go on like this but I guess you couldn't find any answer to an American equivalent car which would be better looking and build as before mentioned brands.

This is a message to Detroit's engineers: Start thinking outside the box and start designing cars people will look at and say: Wow. Until you build "wow" cars, you'll be in trouble. So wake up and show the world that you can still do it as you did in the past, some 60 years ago.

Peter Panther

When I came to the U.S., everybody was telling me: Don't buy an American car.

I was wondering about this, as many Europeans have a weak spot for American cars. Of the sixties and before.

Why became the once great American cars such junk?

1. Higher labor costs than competitors.

2. To compete, they have to save money on parts. Which is why that gear box from China breaks down after 6 months, not like the long lasting gear boxes from Germany and Japan that you will find in German and Japanese cars.

3. Short term thinking. Profit maximizing. Throw idealists out of the factories.

On top of all, American cars are no longer American cars. They are more and more Chinese parts, screwed together in Mexico or Canada.

Sid Crosby

Buy American just doesn't mean cars. The next time you're buying anything, check to see where it's made and look at the shelf where you picked it up to see if there's a comparable item that's made in the U.S. My kids color and needed new crayons. We went to Wal-Mart, and there were Chinese crayons for $.99 and USA-made Crayola for $1.39. These are the things that make a difference, and you don't need to sacrifice anything more than $.40. Wal-Mart is an outlet for Chinese crap regardless of what they say. There are tons of good American products out there that if we just took a moment to check we'd see that you can buy American without sacrificing quality. We have two newer Hondas and a newer Chrysler Minivan, and I love the Mini--70,000 miles and never a problem. You can get a good one or a bad one of anything, but I do agree that the Japanese and Germans work very hard to make a better car.

Another John

You have to realize that one of the bright spots for GM currently is overseas sales, especially in Asia.

If folks in Asia also decide their purchases based on patriotism, not only GM but lot of U.S. companies will be in more trouble.

You have to make products that consumers want. There is no getting around that fact.

chuong nguyen

I've never experienced the feeling of driving an auto. But I really want to express some of my thinking about this issue.

I cannot understand the defined meaning "American," and I raise a question for myself: Is a Toyota or any "foreign named" car made in the U.S. and by the American employees not an American auto? Or is an American auto the one made right here in the U.S. by an American corporation that is owned by a very American guy?

The issue is unclear. Perhaps the answer is yes for the second question. I wonder why people have to necessarily buy an American one so as to support the nation's economy while the foreign-based manufacturing factories also provide thousands of the Americans jobs. On the other hand, purchasing products that best suit the consumers' needs and wallets is the best goal for them.

Rod

"Americans Should Buy U.S. Cars, Period"

I did. One was a 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser and the other was a 2007 Chevrolet HHR. Both manufactured in Mexico.

diego bellafiore

Americans must buy Americans cars. And no one around the world must buy American debt.

Frugal Georgian

The Hondas of Alabama, Ohio, BMW of South Carolina, Toyota of Kentucky, Kia of Alabama--and soon Georgia, etc., are the better built, best value for new cars, as noted.

I didn't want such debt and went with the ultimate in green--buying used. The '96 Crown Vic police interceptor sold online by the GSA auction site, at an $1,800 winning bid, works fine. Has the federal police tinted windows, too. An import, though, as it was made in Ford's Canada plant. Five-star crash rating. And bought on the credit card, it can't be re-po'd as the Bush/GOP economic meltdown gets worse.

Jeffrey B.

We cannot support an industry, whether essential or not, that will not support itself. It is not unpatriotic to purchase, with those very difficult to come by dollars, the best suited product to your needs. With a 40/60 split on highway/around-town, I get 28 to 29 mpg in my reliable and comfortable Toyota. And, 80% of the dollars I purchased it with, almost 5 years ago, went to American workers; 100% of my service dollars go to American workers, who help me keep it in tip-top shape.

When Detroit starts giving me a deal like that, I'll be at a dealership at 05:00 in the morning--waiting to purchase. Until then, nope.

Gold

Oh lord, this question is so last century. Why not just ask directly should the GM be rescued by government?

The reality today is this: The domestic demand for new car is a lot less than the capacity of GM to build, not to mention their shrinking market share to Japanese.

It is simple math. GM has to sell 2 millions new cars to break even. They could only sell 1 million. GM has to trim down or be eliminated.

Dr. James J. Stewart

This is an easy one--just buy a Toyota or a Honda that's made in the U.S.

In 2007, the Toyota Web site says, 1.6 million of its autos were produced in North America. There are about12 plants in North America employing thousands of US citizens.

So no need to buy a lower-quality GM, Ford, or Chrysler. (I rent them monthly, and believe me, they are lower quality--just visit http://www.consumereports.org, Autos, to confirm).

Stephen

Sorry, I've had enough of crappy, substandard cars built by U.S. automakers that die before reaching 100,000 miles. I'll hang on to my German-made auto that's ready to turn 400,000 miles and still runs like a top.

graphicsguy

If American cars can match the quality and efficiency of Japanese and European cars, it totally justifies going American even after the economy improves as the pros by far outweigh the cons. Unfortunately they've only started thinking about this after getting nipped in the bud. Well, better late than never. The next generation hybrids and electric cars from Detroit are going to be interesting.

To stopshopholic:

Why drag H1-Bs into this? They've been slammed enough in other articles and there's absolutely no need to start that stuff in here.

Mark

When you buy a car from an American car company, the money stays in this country, and corporate profits are collected here.

All you people driving foreign cars helped to destroy our auto industry.

In a country that doesn't manufacture anything, where are your kids and grandchildren going to work? The service sector won't support this nation.

Damian Palmares

I just don't trust American automobiles, even though I will admit they have come along way in reliability, appearance and aesthetics inside and out, but I just can't see myself driving American unless it's a Corvette and then only a Z06 and only certain C5 and C6 models. That's just me. Their design team still needs some serious help. I've never owned an American built car, and I'm 33 years old and have owned roughly 13 cars since I was 16. I daily drive a 92 Acura Legend LS (which I've had for around ten years) that has 260,000 miles on it and runs like it's brand new, has auto climate control, heated leather seats, full power, and heated mirrors. I also own a 94 Mitsubishi 3000GT VR4, for those of you not familiar it is a 320HP Twin Turbo V6, all-wheel drive, 4 wheel steering, auto climate control, all leather, and full power. You have to opt for a $5,000 interior leather package on a new C6 for it to not look cheap. That's the problem with American cars in my opinion. If I'm going to spend $50,000 on a Vette, why can't GM get the interior right the first time around? It looks cheap without the V3 leather stitching package.

Robert Laughing

Another John @ 4:25: "You can fool some of the people some of the time, you can even fool most of the people most of the time, but you can never fool all of the people all of the time."

I disagree here, friend, as both political parties have not only fooled us repeatedly, they've lied, and robbed us, along with our children and grandchildren, and have gotten filthy rich through selling us out. Stupid voters, and even more idiotic, non-voters.

Charlie Ricker

Re: "Americans Should Buy U.S. Cars, Period":

The thesis is nonsense.

I purchased a new Ford Fusion today. The car's "final assembly point" was Hermosillo, Mexico.

The Ford is parked in my garage beside a Subaru Outback "team crafted" in Indiana.

The statement "it's time for consumers to give back by choosing domestic cars instead of foreign ones" is silly.

The Big Three and the UAW must earn the right to build cars by manufacturing superior products. For too long their leadership, like their products, have been shoddy.

In the marketplace the only helping hand they will get is the one at the end of their elbow.

young

Americans should buy U.S. cars. Sure we should buy U.S. sneakers, undershirts, and everything else? How many Americans out there are willing to shell out $200 for everyday sneakers, $200 for dress shirts?

Protectionism will jack up the price of American-made Chevys over night to $50,000 or up to give UAW members lifetime job guarantees for making inferior car. What happened to the billions dollar taxpayers gave Detroit automakers to develop electric cars decade ago? They wasted all the money and not a single car ran on the street. What geniuses.

mike

The biggest "union" cost was health care, and the union didn't have anything to do with it rising 5-fold over the last decade. That is why more American cars are made in Canada than the U.S.

The other "union" cost was their pensions that the companies didn't fund. They raided them just like the government raids or underfunds social security.

The union didn't decide to keep making SUVs and trucks or to constantly oppose higher fuel standards.

Roger Howard

Sure. Let's support American made cars. I bought a Hyundai Elantra that was made in Montgomery, Alabama.

Peter Panther

GM, Ford, and Chrysler think the U.S. is a dumping ground for inferior products.

A Ford, built in Europe for Europe, is a much better car than the junk that's called a Ford here.

GM's Opel plant produces much better cars for Europe than GM's Mexican and Canadian plants for the U.S.

And Jaguar, what a brand. The Jaguar XJ is just a Ford, called a Ford Mondeo in Europe. But Ford probably thinks it's OK to sell it to U.S. citizens as a Jaguar.

How can companies that treat their compatriots as fools expect to be bailed out by those same people?

GM, Chrysler, and to a lesser degrees Ford, are dead brands that nobody trusts. That they aren't even American cars anymore has been shown by many people in this discussion.

It's probably better to let them die and use money to found a new car company and create a new brand from scratch.

ps

There are a number of thoughtful postings and an even greater number of idiotic ones, from both sides of the fence. A UAW job is not a birthright and yes, they are overpaid. But when you look at the labor cost component of a car, it's pretty small these days. The fact is that from an efficiency level the Big Three have improved, but the Japanese are still the gold standard. And the Japanese factory workers make the same, if not better, wages than the Big Three. Productivity gains can easily make up the labor cost difference. If you look at the cost disadvantage, it's not the UAW salary bennies and legacy costs. Look at management expense. From the CEO to vice president to senior manager levels, the U.S. cost is exponentially higher than any other maker, whether Europe or Asia. I'd love to see BusinessWeek do an analysis of how much management expense figures into the equation. I'm not letting the UAW off the hook, but they are not the sole issue or the biggest issue. But they have crafted a fat, lazy image in the eyes of the American public that they must deal with.

SG

Foreign car companies employ many American workers. Thus, "Buy American" can also mean to buy a Toyota Tundra made in Alabama.

Joe in Texarkana

Some of these posting note that American quality has improved in recent years. However, most folks make today's decisions based on past experience. Unfortunately, there were just too many poorly made American vehicles in the past few years. GM, et al, have only themselves to blame for the problems they created, and winning back American consumers will be a tough uphill battle. I wish them the best, but feel they are attempting to close the gate after the horse left.

JP

Everyone is to blame except the consumer. Don't tell people they should buy certain products. People buy what they want. You no longer live in a Democracy when the majority of people don't want the government (they just elected into office by the way) to spend insane amounts of their money on broken businesses. The government should be banned from interfering with the free market. I read last year that each American if given equal share of the U.S. debt would owe $77,000. I wonder what it will be when they "fix" the economy. And you want them to go buy a product they don't trust just because it employs people? So do the other companies that compete with them.

Rav

American cars:
Parts are made from all over Third World countries. Even some engines and transmissions were made oversea. They may not even be assembled in the U.S.

Foreign Cars:
Many popular models of Japanese and some Korean cars (I'm not sure about European cars) are made and assembled here with Americans' hands.

So if I get the logic right, the money you pay for an American car goes to 1) the company execs, and 2) oversea. When you buy Japanese or Korean cars, the money you spent for your car goes back to Americans' hands. Oh, I forgot they pay taxes here, too.

Redefine "American cars" before blabbing like an idiot.

@innovate

Buying American just because it is American, instead of buying the best product, is what allowed the USA car companies to get into the mess they are in.

Besides, economically it's better for someone to buy a Honda built in the USA than a GM built in Mexico or Canada.

DanM

These types of articles miss the larger issue in the auto industry. For the last decade we've bought cars because we wanted to, not because we needed to. Access to cheap and easy credit and a booming economy fueled sales. In the 1980s getting 100,000 miles on a car was rare; today the warranty is that long.

So you have a product whose life cycle has doubled while its cost has gone way up. Credit has tightened up to more normal standards and a baby boomer generation will begin to drive many fewer miles as they retire.

Add it all up and even if a recovery happens soon, auto sales are in the dumps for a long, long time

Eric

My GM truck had its engine fail at 40,000 miles and had to be replaced. The seat post mount cracked (NTHSA knows about this but concluded a loose driver's seat did not warrant a recall on all the vehicles to which this happened). The windshield wipers failed (was recalled). The stereo system never worked properly. And I'm leaving out a few other problems with the vehicle.

My Hondas have run flawlessly.

Further, American companies have offshored huge amounts of IT/tech work to other countries. It is disingenuous of them to tell us to buy American when they choose to buy foreign labor themselves.

Dante

I did not buy an American car. I bought a General Motors Chevy Avalanche made in Mexico. My friend bought an American car. He bought a Toyota Camry made in Kentucky.

Sean C

Anyone who buys a car that they don't need isn't being a good citizen of the world. Why should we, as consumers, be obligated to prop up failing industries? Just because they're American? That's like asking someone to eat apple pie, when they're allergic to apples, just because it's American. Subscribing to ideals over wisdom is folly.

GLOBALIZATION

GM and Ford have good shares of overseas markets. For a lot of decades America has been selling cars, planes, army products, nuclear plants, etc., to the world and gaining huge profits. When Americans sell their goods to the world, they never think of other countries; they call it business. Now with America and the whole world's economic slump, everybody is talking about "Buy American." Don't forget your ancestors are from other countries also. So if you want to wish something good, then wish the whole world should come out of this slowdown. This is globalization, we go together, suffer together, and we will succeed together.

Don't be hypocrite.

Jeff B

First, it is an absolute fallacy that when you buy a domestic brand that the profits stay in the USA. Those of you who work for the UAW or the Big 3 and believe this, you are just as out of touch as your CEOs. GM has invested hundreds of millions in China while it continues to lay off American workers. Ford builds many of its cars in Mexico. Just exactly what money do you think they use to build and run those plants? Duh. Those are the profits from your Grand Marquis and Equinox, my friends.

Second, for those of you who don't read much, domestic brands are not equal to the Japanese when it comes to quality (except for recent strides Ford has made with its latest cars, which they should be proud of). And none of the domestic brands have good resale value compared to the best from Honda and Toyota and BMW. Those are facts--not WW II anecdotes and patriotic sound bites. Wanna be a real patriot? Buy the best product you can afford--whatever the brand. Competition forces poor companies to improve or die, while we get better products. Unless you want to end up in a socialist country, don't buy all the hype about saving American jobs. That is a very short-term view.

Hope they get it

I sincerely hope the American auto industry gets it and gets their act together. Everyone wants them to succeed, but they need to listen to consumer needs.

John Q American

Buy American? Why don't the big guys understand that they are not building cars we want or need? I saw a clip on MSNBC with GM reporting its record quarterly loss. Funny, in the background they show the assembly line and the workers. Guess what they were building? Big ass suburbans and Tahoes. If they are too stupid to get it, let them fail.

HarryPuttar

If the manufacturers show seriousness, I will buy even if I suffer low quality. But if Detroit fattens on my hard earned money, then no way. Let them to sink.

Rhoal R. Tapp

Why would we be hostage to American-made autos? American businesses are not hostages to keeping jobs in America. Are American car companies making autos better, not equal, to the foreign automakers, especially if the price is more? Are American car companies giving value for the money?

Judi

I am not obligated to buy anything from anyone that doesn't meet my needs and isn't the best quality. For how many years did the American automakers try to pass off cars that turned into rust buckets in a matter of years. Why do I owe it to them? They're in business. It's called the "free market" (well kind of). Offer me something that's comparable to my Audi in handling, paint quality, engineering, and safety, and then maybe we'll talk.

jt

A trip on the 405 freeway says it all. Very few GM, Ford, and Chrysler vehicles from the 1980s and 1990s still on the road. Ford and GM outsold Toyota and Honda back then. Now, far more 1980s and 1990s Toyota and Hondas left. What happened to Detroit cars? All in the junkyard.

Why are Detroit cars in the junkyard? Because they are underengineered and built cheaply because money was diverted into UAW contracts. These contracts allow the UAW worker to retire at 48 years of age with gold-plated pension payments and health care.

It is unfair to ask Americans to buy inferior Detroit cars just so UAW workers can retire in style at 48 years of age while everyone else works into their 1960s.

I am no fool.

Robert Smith

Production of vehicles has become a global affair; the same can be said of banks. So I would venture to challenge the idea of "buying American" as even being possible. As for the image issue, the U.S. auto companies have serious issues just with the idea of bankruptcy--try that for a image nightmare when you consider warranties and a super legal mess. Is Chrysler's "lifetime" warranty worth anything now?

ayres cayo

Smith professor Peter Morici testifies on state of U.S. Auto Industry--CBO Analyst/University of Maryland B-school

"Without a new labor agreement that brings wages, benefits, and work rules in line with those at the most competitive transplant factories, and without reduced debt and other liabilities, the Detroit Three will continue to lag in product innovation and field too few attractive new vehicles, because their higher costs, debt and other liabilities require them to spend less on new productive development than they should. Also, they are inclined to field products with less desirable content to compensate for higher costs. As consumers find vehicles made by Japanese and other transplants more attractive, like those imported from Korea and eventually from China, the Detroit Three will cede market share of one or a few percentage points each year.

If Chapter 11 is put off, the successors to GM, Ford and Chrysler that emerge from a bankruptcy reorganization process will be smaller and support fewer jobs than if these companies endure this difficult transition in 2009.

More jobs can be saved among GM, Ford and Chrysler and their suppliers if bankruptcy reorganization is endured now than in the future.

Game Over unless the UAW matches the most competitive transplants -- The transplants just voluntarily took pay cuts to protect their buddies jobs - not the UAW"

http://www.smith.umd.edu/news/stories/2008/morici-testimony.aspx

Efraim

For money that I pay, I want to get a product that is working. Attaching a flag to the top of a broken car does not make it moving. Sorry.

Wheeling

Workers making $30 to $60 an hour and making low quality products must be fired with their bosses and union administration to get some unemployment and to learn how to survive with no free lunches from the government just because they're owners originally from the U.S. Nothing should smell politics around market; we are not longer in 1950s.

Ty H.

I lived in the rust belt Midwest (Dayton,Ohio). When it was time to produce better cars, the boys from Detroit kept corporate welfare going by asking Ohio for more tax subsidies, some of which were to last several years. When the big two wanted to make money with the Explorer and the Suburban, now all of sudden you need help because no wants to drive them. Meanwhile your Japanese counterparts started to build fuel-efficient cars and you laughed. Who's laughing now with piles of useless metal in their lots?

Chuong Nguyen

Buying an American auto in order to support the nation's economy is just an excuse of the deficient American auto corporation that cannot make products as qualified as foreign brands (like Toyota, Honda, and Mitsubishi).

We have no reasons to buy (or throw money through the window) the poorer products instead of foreign brands. On the other hand, we can support the economy in a thousand ways. Thus buying American cars is not the sole solution for us (while manufacturing Toyota cars right here in the U.S. provides jobs to millions of Americans. That's better than GM, which manufactures cars in Mexico). Through this, I hope American corporations will realize their deficiency.

JH

If they would hire Japanese managers, I likely would buy American. Think about it, Toyota and Honda build their cars here, using parts from many of the same suppliers. So what's the only difference? Management.

JB

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,465005,00.html

Enlighten yourselves before you begin blabbering nonsense.

ricecake

I don't even have health insurance, and I'm saving as much and shop as sensibly as I can. I don't care who makes the car and where it was made as long as the car is gas efficient and low maintenance, plus lasts long. I don't need more than one car, and I don't change a car every freaking year or two. I drive my car until it dies or until I die.

I think GM workers and their families are enjoying a much better life and living than I am, because they make much more money than me. So sorry I can't be any help to any of them.

Bob

At 70-plus, I've owned many American, British, French, German, Italian, and Japanese cars over the years--some bought new, others bought used. Overall, the American and Japanese cars have been the most reliable; the British, French, and Italian are far more problematic. In recent years, the Japanese have attracted us with their combination of desirable features and reliability, so our garage currently holds a Subaru turbo Forester, Honda S2000, and Audi A3 3.2 Quattro--each a whole lot of reliable fun.

Mike Holland

Me and my brother ran an auto parts store years ago. We were always buying American. Then I started 12 years of working on cars, and I started seeing something. Most, but not all, American cars were junk. Buick has a good car. I did have a Ford Taurus. And the transmission went out at 94,000 miles. That was the last straw. I got a Toyota Camry. It was a good car. Now I have a Honda Civic. It's a great car. It was made in the USA.
--Mike T. Holland

Robert

Sure, some foreign cars are assembled in the U.S. But more important is where all the R&D is done. These are the good jobs. Besides, a large part of foreign cars are still imported. Just look at the ports.

max

If you preach protectionism, what would America do if the world followed and stopped drinking Coca Cola, Jack Daniels, Sprite, etc.?

Tim

There are several models of American car that appeal to me and I went to check them out. From GM
Chevy Malibu LTZ V6 (sorry, only two on the lot, no deals to be had. Want a 4 cylinder with cloth seats we can deal.)
Buick Lacrosse (Sorry, no GS on the lot)
Pontiac G8 (Sorry, GXPs spoken for months ahead)

America does build a few great cars; unfortunately few applies to the quantity as well. Now I hear Chevy is considering a delay of the Z28. The one American car I've really been waiting for.

I bought an Acura TL type S and love it. Great car.

Jeremy W

I just heard the 2010 Toyota Prius will get 50 mph highway and 49 mph city. GM, Chrysler, and Ford are 5 to 10 years behind Toyota, as usual. GM, Ford, and Chrysler have betrayed Americans for the past 40 years by a complete and total lack of leadership in automobile engineering. They've lived in a very lucrative and comfortable bubble than finally burst. They will get our support when they start making world class cars.

By North

It doesn't matter where and how a car is built--if one has to pay more for it simply because it provides jobs to our fellow citizens, it is tantamount to a social welfare. It is a socialism under the guise of "patriotism." And it is certainly a form of protectionism. If each nation of the world taxed their citizens with their own version of the "buy made here," it will wipe out all the comparative advantages in the world. What we need to do is to close GM and the like, and move the workers to new industries that we can truly be competitive domestically as well as globally.

Giovanni

Let us be honest for a moment: "Buying American" is Communism undercover. It reminds me of Chinese policies that do not let outer companies sell their stuff there, but hey, happily sell their stuff overseas.

We know that American cars might be bought by Americans, but the money the companies will get will not only go to American workers but also to expand their operations overseas, just like Matthew Perry did when he forced Japan to international trade.

Now, with one single crisis Americans will back off?

Is that what you've struggled to build?

Harry Eldridge

Tesla just accepted delivery and it is fine other than the fact 90% of this car is not American.

John

Buy American?

So first of all, taxpayers need to bail out the economy, then we are needing to have greater fiscal discipline, but are being asked to buy American cars, which are not great investments.

Therefore, spend money in a time of difficulty to buy a car we don't want due to it being unreliable, only to support a company that simply has the wrong strategy/objective that hasn't changed.

Let GM go bankrupt, and let the other makers gain market share and hire the same workforce.

GM is a laughing stock, and stinks of ignorance.

Eric

I do buy American: Toyota makes them here in the United States. When I buy something it is because it meets my standards, not because of patriotism.

TomV

I agree with the con argument, except for that whining, sniveling, left-leaning, grass-hugging paragraph about green cars. Okay, I'm calling BS. The truth is, CAFE standards made the Big 3 build cars that met gas efficiency standards, and guess what? We didn't buy them. Americans have always wanted power and/or comfort, and not to drive in an underpowered MatchBox car. Where the Big 3 screwed up was quality (poor) with bad durability horror stories like the Taurus mentioned. Their cars were boring and had no flair. To float union expenses built into the cost of each car, they made interiors cheap that looked cheap. One of the reasons for the quality/looks deficiencies was the too widely spread R&D by the Big 3 trying to float so many brands, which was stupid but also too expensive to fix with state franchise protection laws. The con argument left these little things out, and I'm sick of hearing the tree-hugger arguments all the time.

Ore

The strongest reason I have heard to keep GM running is that if we let GM bankrupt, about million jobs will be gone. Really? Did anybody bother to calculate the job loss as the result of the GM's necessary restructuring by downsizing all its productions? GM is no longer the big employer it once was. It is now a much smaller operations and those GM jobs (including those of the downstream suppliers) are pretty much already a goner, if not now, soon. The question we have to face is how to generate a million good-paying jobs (say, $50,000 year) for our high school graduates who, on the average, read at about 8th grade level and do 7th grade math taught in Asian countries?

Steve R.

As a "smart" consumer, with limited resources, I do my homework before purchasing a product, any product: car, computer, cell phone, consumer electronics, clothing, what have you. The least of my concerns is where it's made.

Consumer Reports and other similar resources for comparing best and worst products is usually where I start: what's available, what amenities does it offer, and at what price, high to low.

Once I see what is out there and at what price I buy the best product for the money I can afford, that provides the longest life with the least maintenance and the most enjoyment.

A "good" company knows that it must develop a relationship between its product and the consumer who buys that product. If the customer enjoys that relationship, the company will have a repeat customer who may generate more customers for that company via word of mouth.

Historically, that's been the way of free market capitalism and consumer spending for thousands of years, going back to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Babylon, Greece, Rome, and the Chinese silk route, made famous by the Italian explorer Marco Polo.

This idea that "buy American" is somehow tied to American patriotism is a new and erroneous one propagated on the uninformed, American consumer by labor unions as another form of protectionism back in the 1980s and 1990s when Detroit realized they were losing serious market share.

I wonder how many of these unionized, Detroit autoworkers shop @ Wal-Mart where a good portion of the goods sold are made in China and other countries; why don't they buy American?

It's nothing more than a co-dependent relationship Detroit's big 3 is foisting on the American public by appealing to the "patriotic." The American taxpayer is being asked to continue enabling this delinquent, corporate child to continue its self-destructive behavior and the taxpayer and guilt-ridden, patriotic American consumer will buy "American" just for the sake of buying American.

This country has gained more jobs from overseas transplants to America than it's ever lost to outsourcing, or companies moving overseas.

Say no to Detroit and this nonsense that those who buy American are somehow "more" patriotic than those who don't. It's an international marketplace now and the economies of the world are too interdependent for this type of juvenile, provincial, protectionist thinking.

TMcK

Travelling, I was struck with a simple observation. In Korea I only saw only Korean vehicles. No Honda, Toyota, BMW, or Mercedes cars or trucks anywhere.

In Japan, a similar story--no Hyundai, Daewoo, BMW, VW, or Mercedes.

In Germany, most the cars are German; even the cabs are Mercedes. No Korean, French, Italian vehicles.

Even if you believe America makes crap that nobody wants, how do you explain the obvious? The only place that free trade is free, is inside the U.S. These countries have protected home markets and have educated people who understand that it is critical to have research, design, and engineering of vehicles done in their country.

Any jackass can assemble a car. The few jobs the transplants bring are more than offset by the massive profits shipped out of the U.S. to be invested in research and design at home. When the UAW folds, the wages at the remaining Japanese plants will fall faster than home values.

Americans had better wake up. What's left of our manufacturing should get aligned with our government. During WWII, The Big 3 in Detroit converted all plants to wartime manufacturing including tanks and heavy bombers. This economic downturn will be mild compared to what will happen once we have no manufacturing base left. (5 to 7 years)

Will you be happy when GM sells Hummer to a Chinese automaker? (Then we can order military vehicles for Afghanistan direct from China and save on shipping). China requires a 50% technology transfer for anyone doing business there and will use it to destroy whatever manufacturing survives here.

I don't think anyone should purchase substandard goods or get shoddy service. The U.S. makers are up to the job and producing on par or better than the competition. Consider that when you buy from a U.S. company, you are buying more than just the ride.

Casual Observer

As cars have become multinational in their parts, so have consumers' allegiances. I would appreciate knowing what the nation of origin percentages are. I won't buy a Chinese Saab, for example. How can a car from a country with no regard for the base of its population aspire to build a "comfort" auto?

My new Fords and Jeeps all lasted beyond 300,000 miles, not so for any import, older than 1991.

Cane

So much for capitalism and the free market economy. The U.S. has turned into one big Ponzi scheme after another and now taxpayers get to pay for all the stupid decisions made by the financial elite of our nation. To add insult to injury, now I'm being lectured on what to buy--give me a break. Maybe we just all need to wake up from our consumer haze and get over it.

Harold

For years the auto companies gave everything to the unions and sacrificed the quality of their autos and the quality of their innovation to support union demands, and passed the cost on to the buy-American-car-buyer.

I, for one, got sick and tired of my American cars falling apart while friends drove foreign cars for thousands of miles without a tenth of my repair costs.

Remember the "car you knew America could build"? It was a testament to the "quality" of union-built automobiles. I traded in that piece of junk, which I bought new, and some cash, for a pre-owned Nissan seven years ago. One year later my wife also bought a pre-owned Nissan and we are still using both cars. Maintenance? Just the annual maintenance, which we regularly do, and did, on all of our cars.

The auto companies should file for bankruptcy. It will not be the end of the world, simply the end of the union's stranglehold on American manufacturing.

Dave

The difference in quality Japanese vs. American is not that much anymore. I know for a fact Japanese cars have their share of quality issues. We own a Nissan Murano and not only is it a gas guzzler, its stiffness in steering and suspension system feels most unnatural. Moreover, after a couple of years, we are now spending big bucks to fix to get rid of it. I can't wait to replace it with an American car and do my small part to help our economy.

Kat

Can anyone name one brand of car that is produced entirely in the United States? Not based here, not assembled here. 100% American from design to parts to technology. There just isn't one.

My problem with the "Buy American" thing is that while it's a noble idea, it isn't going to be effective. When you drive by a Ford dealership and a Toyota dealership, the people inside are all Americans trying to make a living. If one of them goes under, it's the Americans working there that are going to suffer. I don't care one way or the other how it ends up for the CEOs and other men on top of the ladder; they made their collective bed. It's the guy working 40 hours a week on the lot trying to pay the bills that I'm concerned about. It doesn't matter if it's the American company, the Japanese company, or the Korean company. It's the working man that is going to suffer.

Brian

We cannot keep simply bailing everyone out of problems. It is time for America to reap what it sowed. I am an American and I love America, but they don't build American cars like they used to. Start making the parts in America and building them from scratch with no imported parts, and we will start to see more people buying from American manufacturers. So for right now, buying American instead of Japanese is kind of dumb. You get less gas mileage and your car will not live as long. Don't feel compelled to feel sorry for not buying a "POS" car from American manufacturers. If they continue to build junk, we should continue to not support them. When they decide to compete and make great cars with great gas mileage, then support American manufacturers.

Also, don't let the American system corrupt your thinking. If you are driving an imported car, don't feel like less of an American, because what is America made up of anyway? Well from what I see, everyone and their mom consists of America. There is more than one race and one color in America, and I am not going to sit here and rebuke Americans for buying a car that is efficient rather than buying an American brand piece of crap.

Hartmut Rast

I am very surprised about the debate on going national, which seems to me like going back to the stone age of a liberalized economy. Being focussed only on U.S. products would turn out to be counterproductive very soon. U.S. carmakers are in these currently deep troubles, because they've stuck far too long on their gas guzzlers and procrastinated on urgently needed restructuring of nearly the whole production line.

One has to reflect that several national banks holding trillions of dollars as a deposit--in other words, as loans for the U.S. government and their bailouts--and the financial crisis would deepen or be disastrous if they switch their USD into Euros, for example.

In a globalized world, you can't play any longer the protectionism card, and the sooner we all take measures to float the ship called world economy the better we will steam with pride to new shores in the future and not to the well known calamities of the past. That should be what history has taught us.
--Hartmut Rast

JS

First of all, the big problem the American car industry is having has more to do with their stretching too far by putting out 20 different models at a time. The reason foreign cars are doing so great is not only because they build a quality product, but because they stick to four or five models. So not only does the American car industry need to start building quality cars but they also need to start building less model types.

I recently purchased a Trailblazer. I purchased the vehicle not for economic or environmental reasons, but because it was a vehicle that suited my family's needs. I purchased this vehicle a year ago and I have had to bring it to the dealer for repairs five times already. This really worries me, because if I am already having problems with this vehicle, what's it going to be like when my warranty expires? This isn't something I should have to worry about. I want a dependable vehicle. I am really tired of planned obsolescence. They could make cars more dependable, but they don't. So I say let them fail, because they have been ripping off the American people and the rest of the world with their poorly built cars.

I believe George Carlin sums up our current situation. Search YouTube for "George Carlin Who Controls America."

blogger

Folks, we have a $500 billion-plus trade deficit. Eventually our currency will implode if we continue these imbalances. It's also in the nation's own best interest to maintain a vibrant manufacturing sector. The decline in manufacturing is a serious security concern. Once you lose an industry, it is hard to rebuild.

Audra

The argument that Americans should support the U.S. auto companies by buying their cars is a false argument. The moment that these same companies made the decision to make their cars in Mexico and other places to avoid America's labor costs, they ceased to be exclusively American companies. They became global companies. That comes with a price. They should not be getting bailouts unless these companies agree to build their products in the United States, even if it is with non-union labor as their foreign competitors do.

PC

The U.S. used to make great cars. Many of them are still running in Cuba and elsewhere. Cadillac was the gold standard. My son just sold his 1996 Toyota Camry with more than 100,000 miles on it. Never had any problems. Recently I purchased a Hyundai Sonata, which costs less than the Chevy Malibu or Ford Fusion, yet has more standard safety features and has better gas mileage. My brother owned a VW Beetle for 13 years, until it rusted from salted roads. Build in quality--and the buyers will come.

BH

If a car company sets up their manufacturing plant in the USA, it not only creates jobs in the area, it also supports the local economy. Telling people to buy American is so ignorant and inconsiderate for the people who work at foreign auto plants. And furthermore, GM/Ford build a lot of their cars in foreign countries so for those who are talking so grandly of their Ford Fusion, it is not even 100% Ford or American. Many Ford engines are built by Mazda. The auto industry is globalized, so people should just buy the car that they like the best. Competition rules.

Joe

I feel for all the jobs lost, but GM has brought on their own fate. I own a 1997 Lumina, which I still have because it only has 70,000 miles. Those of you who have a "w" car know about the "service bulletin" on head gaskets that was never recognized as a recall but cost me $500-plus. Also, local dealers are refusing to service out-of-warranty cars--what ever happened to depending on Mr. Goodwrench? I also have a Honda, but the difference is that I told them brakes were squealing, and they had a service bulletin and put in new brakes for free.

KZ

Still working? Keep buying imports then.

John

OK, just to be 100% clear about how naive and silly Mark Karlin's argument is. Instead of buying the best product, he says people should support their national manufacturers.

So let's say everyone follows this logic--13 million Americans buy U.S. cars, and the rest of the world doesn't. Indians buy Tata and Maruti instead of local Chevys. Chinese should buy Chevys instead of GM. Germans should buy VW instead of Opel.

Great, follow Mark's advice and our auto companies shrink even more and we no longer have any hope.

It's fools like Mark that don't know that Ford is a top selling car in India, and GM is a top selling car in China and Germany. The story is the same around the world, but Mark's argument is those people should buy their local brands. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Foreign Cars=Horrible Economy

OK, so I live in Ohio and have a number of friends that are losing their jobs at Honda, because they have been tax free for 50 years. Now their contract is up so they are pulling the plant and going back to Japan after making millions of dollars they can just pull out--that is awesome. Does anyone think about the soldiers that died in WWII?

mary martha

The American cars need to improve their quality and have good pricing. Period. Then I will buy a GM, Ford, or Chrysler. At this point Ford is still fix or repair daily. I am not buying any car like that. Period.

ps

Okay, here we go. Invoke WWII. I guess that means we do no trade with Japan and Germany but cozy up with our allies in China based on 60-plus years ago? For you Japan bashers, the average Japanese consumer purchases approximately the same equivalent amount of American goods as we do Japanese goods on a gross level. The fact that the U.S. has 2.5 the population explains a big part of the imbalance. My father was a WW2 vet, and guess what? He saw nothing wrong with buying a foreign car. The Japanese automakers have taken great care to minimize layoffs unlike our unfettered capitalist Big Three who are now queuing up for a handout.

JBM

Analyze Toyota's model, which is how many Japanese companies run: They consistently invest in R&D; they do not tail-off R&D spending in recession times. (During this severe recession, yes, everything is taking a hit, but economic conditions are the worst ever.) The R&D investment results in a far higher quality car in the long-term. From what I understand, Toyota's salary structure is flatter and fairer. During this recession, they have done everything possible to keep as many employees working as possible. All of this, including consistent profitability, while exceeding General Motors output. Why oh why should anyone worry about propping up a failing car company when Toyotas are made right here in the U.S.? Just because they are called "American" cars? The name "American car" is now meaningless and should not sway anyone's buying decision.

Let go of your WWII mentalities. Let GM die or become significantly better before they garner your hard-earned cash.

John Plaza

All you guys are right that you can buy your car anywhere you want to. A fact on "buy American": It’s not where your car is assembled, where parts are made. The fact is it is the R&D that defines an American car. GM is trying to build an electric car, and I hope it succeeds. The number of people that it employs--yes, in the U.S. Not to mention the info structure it will take to get this car to work. Those will be American jobs, too. This money goes to the U.S. economy. I only drive an American car. I own four--one car is a 1997 Dodge van has 146,000 miles on it and I would not hesitate on driving it across the country; another is a 1995 Olds Cutlass that has over 160,000 miles on it. I paid $5,000 for each car with about 50,000 when I bought it. I had to change a head gasket on my Olds when I had about 120,000 miles on it, and it cost me $800. Nothing with the van. My suggestion is to do your homework before you buy a car. A lot of American cars are good cars.

Jacky Law

Protectionism cannot save the problem we are facing nowadays. It would only make things worse. Some economists said that the slow growth of the Great Depression was coursed by protectionism started by the U.S. Overspending and loans are the main sources of this financial crisis. U.S. government should focus on the critical point instead of making further wrong steps.

Mike

If you bought a first generation Focus, you bought a Mexican built car--however, the second generation is built in the U.S., only because they needed the Mexican plant to build the new Fusions, Milans, and MKZ. What most people do not realize is that every car Toyota, Honda, and Nissan sell in North America is built in North America, and those three combined to build only four cars in Mexico and the rest in Canada and the U.S., while Ford, GM, and Chrysler combined to build 16 cars in Mexico. Also, on average 70% of parts in Japanese cars are from Canada and the U.S., while on average 70% of parts in U.S. cars are from China. In today's auto market, a Honda or Toyota is more domestic.

Mikas

When I am looking for a car, I log onto Consumer Reports and see what is rated best by actual consumers. I buy the best I can afford. Let the chips fall where they may.

john adams

Yeah, this is good.

PEP

I think Mike makes a very valid point. The main issue is the American auto industry lost the script when it comes to "made in America" as a brand. The differentiator is not just whether it's a Chevy or a Toyota or a Hyundai. Is it also "made in USA?" is that matters.

I come from a country where when I was a kid anything that is big, strong, and reliable was likened to a "Dodge vehicle."

The same American auto industry that was synonymous of this kind of brand America has lost its way. Of course, they still make things big but not much of reliability any more. If I am offered, say, three cars of the same Ford model one assembled in USA, another assembled in China, and a third one made in Mexico, everything being the same, I would probably prefer the one made in the USA because I haven't still completely lost that perception of strength and reliability associated with "made in USA."

When I go shopping for home furniture, I make it a point to look for a "made in USA" label, not because I want to promote the American furniture industry but because I know that piece of furniture is built stronger and is more reliable.

Every country is associated with a set of perceptions when it comes to quality. If I am offered three cameras of the same model, one made in Japan, another made in Taiwan, and a third made in China, probably I would take the Japanese make as I perceive the quality of electronics products made in Japan to be superior to elsewhere.
In my humble opinion, American industry should in general work toward reiterating "made in USA" as a brand and promoting it. People will pay the price of a product if they think it is worth paying for.

Charles

I would like to be more positive, but I used to work for a major auto manufacturer in the 1960s as an engineer. Muscle cars were hot, and we used to laugh at little foreign cars with their weak little engines. But they grew up, got better, more quality, more stylish and fun, and faster. Now they have the market, and we aren't smiling anymore. I guess we were too busy laughing to notice we had been licked.

The workers don't deserve it, but the suits had a great show going until we found out that they knew very little about building cars for people. Right now they are still trying to rebuild cars from the 1960s hoping that somehow that will bring back the good times. How utterly sad for us all that we have to end it this way.

But as a country, we'll be back, only without them. Cut the cash. Help the workers.

marywu

It is difficult to decide to buy an auto made in America or in Japan. It no longer lies in the quality or service the makers provide us. Through the global financial crisis, many states have to reconsider the trade relationships among the competitive markets. Obviously, it is to some degree to regard as a political problem rather than as consumer choice with respect to the cars.

I wish everyone could contribute to the native workers and manufacturers in other fields.

Yanming Li

I support the opinion that people buy what is best. Everybody pay their money on the products that meet their needs and are worthy. I think the economic resurgence depends on mutual benefit of all the countries in the world rather than regional protectionism. To Americans, all purchasing behavior is a kind of investment as well as a way to stimulate consuming. No matter if it is beneficial to domestic demand or export; it will certainly contribute the world economic resurgence. Actually, I hope the United States who had led to the financial crisis directly should compensate it responsibly now. Only with the United States' active participation can the whole world confront this hard time.

Joan jett

mac, (February 25, 2009 07:13 p.m. )
First: "American" cars are made from parts delivered from all over the globe. Just because they are assembled in the U.S., does that make them "American"? Second: As so with Ms. Marr, my experience with Japanese and German cars (particularly) is far more positive than with American cars. My sister's Dodge minivan's transmission fell out in her driveway after six months (new). While my BMW 2002 (73) still runs just fine. When Americans build quality cars (a la 1960s) that get good (25-plus mpg), I'll be first in line."

"Absolute lie. Look if you are a no-good traitorous douche then just admit it. Why make up absurd lies to cover your choice to send your money to foreign countries?"

Have some [courage] and own up to your choices.

ps

Whoever posted that comment on Joan's post is a coward. Pretty pathetic and cowardly. Must be a person that drives American but shops Wal-Mart

ps

Actually, I know a number of people that had tranny problems with minivans.

Joan Jett

Responses to questions like this will run 10-1 con. Why? Because those that support U.S. manufacturers do not seek out any opportunity to engage in this argument. They buy American, because it helps America and they quietly enjoy a wonderful sense of pride in supporting America that import buyers never get.

On the opposite side. Those who send the dollars they earn in the U.S. to foreign countries feel a subconscious sense of guilt and seek out any opportunity to tell the world why they turned their backs on their fellow U.S. worker. Often they make stuff up and use outrageous statements to make their case.

So take this with a grain of salt. Very few pro-Americans will find this article.

Kevin H

I agree with the above readers in that I find no sense of "pride" in purchasing a car with an American nameplate that was assembled outside this country. The American car companies were revolutionary in the early 20th century. Henry Ford was an absolute genius in his manufacturing operations. However, the American companies got content sitting on top of their oligopoly with no viable competition. When the Asian companies entered the market, they failed to take the threat seriously. Eventually companies such as Toyota (read "The Machine that Changed the World") revolutionized the quality management process, and the American models just couldn't compare.

As much as pseudo-patriotic citizens clamber to buy American, the dollar votes don't lie. Americans want quality cars, regardless of where they are made. The vast majority of products in Wal-Mart are foreign-made and we barely hear a peep about that. The Asian car companies are making better cars with our workers than we can make with foreign workers - what an irony. When the American companies start making quality vehicles, the dollar votes will come back. Until then, may the best manufacturer win.

Dan J. Lorey

American cars will always be better and more efficient than them rice burners from Japan. American cars are always sturdier, easier to get parts for, and reliable.

ps

Dan--
Like Chevy Equinoxes with Chinese engines, or riceburner Hondas made in Ohio (with 70-plus% U.S.-made content) as well as riceburner Toyotas (80-plus% domestic content) made in Kentucky?

David Z.

It's not about who we are supporting by buying "American" cars or by buying foreign cars. The issue here is what's best for the customer. If you can get a reliable car for less money, that's probably what is going to sell. And in this case, usually foreign cars are the ones who dominate. Now, if you want a car so you can say, "I'm an American, buy an American car," (which by the way, half of them are made and assembled somewhere else other than America) that's fine too.

Dan

To every person who loves their foreign owned/made car, why don't you tell that directly to the face of an old WWII vet who had to do the dirty work to protect your freedoms, just so you can sell them out. Amazing how America has no identity any more. Makes me sick.

Brian

I have all kinds of friends that drive foreign cars and have lost their jobs to foreign countries. I sit there and kind of laugh inside and wonder why in the world these people don't get it. I wish these people would either support America or move to another country. Makes zero sense to me.

Chuck from Michigan

Ask yourself this:

When a foreign car manufacturer makes a car in the US, hires US workers, pays all of the overhead, including our taxes, and it's employees--where does the profit go? Stop kidding yourself.
The answer is, back to Germany, Japan, China, Korea, England, France etc.

Why are we so willing to subsidize their economies and not our own? Just because it was made in our country, does not mean it is an "American" car.

Tommy

I don't think anyone wants to tell the truth. The UAW is the reason that American cars are so high and that is the same reason the American car companies started making parts and cars oversees. If not, they could not stay in business. Your personal beliefs are getting in the way of sense. I have been an auto mechanic for years, certified to work on ford and GMs. I own three cars, one Dodge, one Ford and one Buick, and all have more than 200,000 miles, and I have never done anything but routine items and one oil leak on the Dodge. I think you should have the option to buy what you want, but just like me telling you to by American is not right--don't tell me to buy a beer can called a Honda, Toyota, Mazda, etc. And you cannot hell the truth about safety ratings; those cars don't meet the same standards as American--do your research. The crash test proves that most smaller cars like Honda's kill more. And the truth about it all is, once the Big Three are gone, they will never come back, and it's not right.

Common sense

"Buy American" got the carmakers in trouble in the first place: How else explain why such a technologically advanced nation continues to produce automobile dinosaurs.

"Buy the car you need" is cleverer, and it will reward manufacturers (American or other) who make competitive products.

If not for the European an Japanese competitors. Americans would still be driving wing cars that need 2,500 mile oil changes.

Ken

America must build cars with the "wow" factor, that is to say: "Build them and they (buyers) will come. Case in point: Ford has beautiful cars in Europe (Focus) but bland models here in America. Companies that cannot/will not build cars we've "gotta have" deserve to go out of business. This is simply Business 101.

Unbelievable

@skeptical: "My last two vehicles (Crown Vic and Grand Marquis) were assembled in Canada--across the river from Detroit--making them basically American."

Really? Basically American? I'm sure the citizens of the sovereign nation of Canada appreciate that you've essentially annexed their country into the U.S. And we wonder why the U.S.--and we Americans--get a bad rap as being ignorant and arrogant. Hmmm...

dave

You should buy what fits your needs. An American nameplate made in the U.S. helps our economy a lot more than an imported car made by a foreign nameplate.

Greg

You people are idiots. Basing a car "nationality" on where the assembly line is located is ignorant. Less than 10% of the cost of a new car goes toward the assembly of a car. Just because your Honda Civic was built in Tennessee (or wherever) doesn't mean you're supporting America. First, those workers down south make less than half of what Detroit pays its workers. So you're helping to destroy the middle class. Second, it's only 10% of the cost. You're forgetting the engineers, designers, management, executives, machinists, quality control people, etc., and all the local jobs that are a result of this money. Most of these jobs for the Japanese companies are in Japan. You people are blind idiots not seeing that. And if you're wondering if I'm UAW, I'm not. I hate the UAW. I don't have a problem with them making 30 bucks an hour. I have a problem with them not doing [enough] to earn that 30 bucks an hour.

Max

When people say "Buy American!", what they are really saying is:

"I don't want to lose my job, and I think if everyone buys from a Detroit car company, then I'll be safe and so will everyone else. I don't really know why, but that just seems proper and it makes me feel righteous. I also get to bark at people about not buying American and this empowers me, gives me the opportunity to be an aggressive, hot-headed, thumping, proud American. Secretly though, I wish I could buy a non-Detroit car because they are so much better and damn I would look good in one, but I am so afraid that my peers will attack me if I do, so I better not. My uncle worked for a Detroit car company, and if he found out, oh man, I would be in such trouble. I also am very intimidated by cars that aren't from Detroit because they look strange and I don't know what all those weird looking lights and dials are. Plus they are too small inside and the engines are small too. Gosh I'm so used to what I've always driven, so comfortable--I'd have to learn a whole bunch of new things if I bought a non-Detroit car. I'm really afraid of being called a yuppie or a snob too. Furthermore, if I did buy something other than a Detroit car, then I wouldn't be familiar with it and I couldn't talk comfortably with my friends about it--oh wait, I might not have any friends if I didn't buy a car from Detroit. In fact, I might get beat up by my good friends if they found out that I bought a non-Detroit car. Everything is going to be okay though, and I'll get a Detroit car, because that's just who I am and I'll never be anything else, and I like it that way. Everyone else should be like me too, because it's best for America."

Clintwood East

What constitutes an "American" car today? Many years ago when I was a mechanic, America built motor vehicles that were very different and unique from every other country in the world. There were plaques riveted, or screwed, into the firewalls that read "Made In USA". GM products had car bodies made by Fisher Steel. There was a pride in workmanship, and the materials used in those older cars was of a far superior quality than we use today. Large engines ran tirelessly on super low RPMS that made shifting gears almost unnecessary (unheard of today with our sooper-dooper V6's changing down gears every time they see a hill). American cars way back then stood for ruggedness, a solidity not to be found anywhere on todays machines, paint that actually looked like paint and would last for years without chipping off, and an excellence of workmanship that was second to none in the world. If anyone today is offered the opportunity to take a ride in a nice, original American car built back in the 30's, 40's, or 50's please do so. I drove and owned many from the 1940's era and I will tell you it's the truth. America just cannot build its cars like it used to. It's not what we have gained by todays standards people, it's what we've lost.

harrie

Mike is correct. American isn't necessarily "American." As as 3rd tier supplier, once upon a time 40% of my sales were to 2nd tier GM suppliers. No longer the case. I sell nothing destined for GM. Around 7 years ago, I was asked to quote on a package of parts by a buyer I have known for over 20 years. When I went to pick it up, he apologized and said that GM told his company that they must source in China. It's the the norm for GM's 2nd tier suppliers to source overseas. The mainstay of my business is now to Japanese companies located in the Midwest who supply Toyota and Honda with a small amount of Chrysler and Mercedes. So if you want to help American manufacturing, please consider Toyota and Honda.

gandolph

For a look at different car resale values, check out:

http://www.peterdolph.com/2009/09/should-you-buy-american-car.html

Alex

Wow, such hate for US auto makers, a lack of knowledge as well. You should check out Consumer Reports. Ford's ratings are high--as high as Honda's or Toyota's. The Ford Focus is made in the USA as of 2005. Previous to 2005, all Focus sedans and wagons were made in the USA. No credit for any of that though. People just want to ignore facts in lieu of what they want to believe. And what about the Honda Odyssey with a 4-speed auto, 2nd gen that had horrible transmission problems? Ever wonder why those have no resale value? Any car is as good as the person who maintains it. I've owned both Japanese and American cars, and the life is the same. There are horrible lemons made by Japanese manufacturers, and outstanding long living cars made by American manufacturers. Believe me, people who never change their fuel filters in Toyotas replace their fuel pumps at 100k just like an American car that's treated the same. I had over 200k on a Ford Aerostar when it was finally hit by another driver. Buy what you want for why you want to buy it--we still have that freedom, but do some research before you go writing that all cars made by American manufacturers are junk. People who fall into that category are just displaying their lack of knowledge and experience with vehicles.

Athena

Wow, you say American, but what is a clear definition of American cars? General Motors is net importer of auto components from Indian to the tune of $1 billion. Ford is making one of the best engines that currently powers all its global models. Surprisingly all engines are being made in India at its Chennai plant. GM India is the biggest profit making company and now GM US is planning to import engines and other parts from its Talegaon plant.

The list is endless. So what you buy American is actually built or imported from some "Third World Country."

Unknown

It is plain and simple. Americans should drive American made cars. This is America, and we are citizens of the U.S.A. and we need to be loyal to this country. We need to stick together through the good times and the tough. America is the best country on earth and I will support this country to the end. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I thank God daily for giving me the honor to live in this blessed country. Support America.

jess

Well, it really doesn't matter as much about where it's made. What matters more is where the money is going... foreign companies are getting the money from the cars that are sold, and that's hurting our economy.

Wain

As some of us already know, the USA exports many things including cars to other counties, many other countries, and some of those countries manufacture cars as well. Should people in those countries stop purchasing USA or so called American cars in support to their domestic brands? I see a double standard here.

Luigi

Twenty years later my 1990 Chevy wagon is still at work.

Toyota quality is for losers who are in denial. Unless you like sludge, cracked heads, and rust.

Steve

I have have the same values as you in regard to selecting a product. I will buy the product that best suits my needs. The American car makers right now are building style over functionality, and in a poor economy their union workers and labor threaten you. I have an old Dodge with over 200,000 plus miles, and it's been a great car--never cost me yet, but it's getting tired. I get harrassed every day by the owners of GM vehicles and Ford consistently and their labor here on account of my car and parts to it are not manufactured in Missouri or this part of the country. If left alone I would really buy another Dodge, but that is unthinkable and for me to go on and try to live here. I find myself asking what is this labor worth? What is the struggle worth? In some ways the automotive industry is a part of the past and is it the smart thing to try and hold on to it, or would it be smart to let it go and concentrate on new industries like solar and related new industries? I know for certain of at least two others I know who will not buy a General Motors car or product on account of the way this person is followed and near accident misses in their Toyota. This all scares people into buying Ford or GM cars. That's one reason Chrysler could never sell a car, even a good one. When they had it, people were afraid not to buy Ford here because their labor would ditch their wife and children. I say it's time to let this industry go and move on to the future, which may be new companies and new workers and not to live in the past and stagnate, and say "Boy, what are we going to do?"

Ben

Luck or research, I think if I beat the crap out of a Camry, or not, and sold it when the pedal started sticking. Is it my fault that you and your family died cause the pedal stuck?

Dumb comment

For every 1 assembler of cars in this country there are 12 people who make the parts. American manufacturers use between 68 and 78 percent American made parts. The Japenees use between 3 and 48 percent American made parts. For every assembler of Japenees cars in this country their were about 4 Americans who lost their job. Japenees assembly plants do not create American jobs.

ShawnS

Personally I would not doubt the stories of the bad experiences people have with cars. People remember those bad experiences pretty well. I was a Ford guy for 20 years until I realized the transmission that went out prematurely in my Mercury Sable was worth more than the car itself. I bought a used Honda Accord, 3 years old, and in the 9 years since the only failure was a clutch master cylinder that cost me 40 dollars (changed it myself), a couple resistor blocks, and an evaporative canister valve switch (dealer did that). Grand total for 12 years, 400 in repair. With Ford before I had 50K on various models I'd have a bad clutch or a bad fuel pump, brakes, tie rod, ignition switch, wheels that corroded, etc, etc, you name it. I started to realize Consumer Reports was telling me the data all along, correctly. And darned if they weren't similarly correct about the goodness of an Accord. If Ford or GM or even Chrysler can build cars well and I see data that they are holding up well long term, I might one day buy another one. But really, it kind of doesn't make sense to switch when you have something good---but I'd like to be patriotic. But in the meantime, I'd like to not feel stupid. I cannot deny that the Japanese have been building better cars, period. I wish we did but we just did not. Maybe we are now, I don't know---if a Ford Fusion still gets good marks 5 years from now...

Sepp

"Buy American." Whatever...

We are now living in a world economy. I am able to, and will, purchase the product that suits my tastes, regardless of where the product is made.

In the topic of autos, I can say in my opinion, that GM and Chrysler have failed to produce a car that suits my interests. I want a car that has "get up and go," the ability to properly handle a corner, and the drive-feel that every driving enthusiast enjoys. For the record, I drive a modified 2001 Ford Focus. This car suited me during high school and college. It suits me to this day, years after college graduation. But let's be clear on something. This car was designed by Ford's European Team. The car (after being lowered) handles like a dream.

I would like a newer car though, and so I am in the beginning stages of entering the market, looking for a new auto. In researching cars, I hear and read over and over to buy American. I then respond to the drive-feel, the handling problems, the shoddy craftsmanship that I find typical with American cars and the response is typically that "The object of a car is to get you from point A to point B" and that "the rest (apparently including comfort, drivability, and handling) is "superfluous." If this is true, then let's all just ride the f-ing buses. Or buy the same color Yugos.

No, the biggest problem I see with the Big Three is that they have skimped on the drivability of their cars. Sure, that Big Three car will get you from point A to point B, but there is absolutely nothing exhilarating or inspiring about the way that it completes its task. I honestly believe that if you can't get excited about driving your car, (whether it's to work, to the store, or on the track) you need a different car. American car companies haven't created an inspiring car since "the good ole days." If the Big Three ever want to gain ground with the world again, they need to think about ways to bring emotion, exhilaration, and inspiration to the daily driver. Until then, I'll continue my research on the Subi WRX STI or the Mitsu EVO X.

Jarrett

Aliyah, why would you sell your Toyota if it's such a good car? It's just crap, bottom line.

Dave

Sure you can spout of an instance here or there about how great your Toyota was.

My first car was a 1972 GMC truck, which I got it used from my dad. I bought it from him.

I drove that truck another 250,000 miles problem free, and I sold it with almost 400,000 miles on it still running.

While you say how great your Toyota is, we don't know how well your sister maintained that Ford she bought, now do we?

I have worked in the automotive industry for most of my life, and I don't find it to be true that the importers build better cars.

I find that people have bought in to the propaganda that the importers have spewed to make Americans think this way.

Most of of the problems that people have with their cars can be blamed on the fact that they don't spend maintain their cars very well, so they break, and it doesn't matter if it's an import or an American car.

Better maintenance means fewer problems, period, and there has never been any proof showing that the importers build a better car.

MIKE

Yes! Cars these days are imported and manufactured and sourced from all over the world. However, the profits of an American branded automobile stay in this country--you know the one you live in. Who says there aren't American cars that perform? Cobalt ss, Focus svt, caliber srt 4, Challenger srt8, Camero ss, Corvette, Corvette z06, ect., ect., ect. American cars have history. Japanese cars have no history, period. Be American.

Roger

I have had a 1996 Pontiac Grand Am SE Coup, and the car was great, but the dealer was really bad. I had this car for about 10 years. I then purchased a 2007 Honda Civic LX, and the car is great. Many people who purchase an American car should think twice. I don't buy the saying, "Nuy American." I buy what ever I like, not by some slogan.

Aric Meggers

I think we forget that America is a giant boiler. Light it and you have nothing to compare it to in the world. That is why America is so great! Don't give up on the American made cars. We sent men to the moon, and we as the people can do anything to improve America. Believe, believe...

Steve Bradford

Americans who buy into (and profess) Japanese car superiority seem, to me at least, to be suffering for an inferiority complex: They swear at American cars using cliches and personal feelings masked as facts.

Too, they mock the "Made in USA" as a joke because most American cars are made from international parts--or their Mexican plants.

Yet they omit that their supposedly superior Japanese cars are mostly made in the USA.

So the next time you hear an American espousing Japanese automobile superiority, understand their inferiority complex.

Rocco Venezia

I have a 2005 Sunfire Pontiac.The entire cars cracks when you park it. The water comes through the weather molding. The muffler seems to fall off, and the brakes go too fast, not great on gas.

Next car for me, Japense. Better resale value for the buck, better built cars too.
Honda and Toyota build better cars. The doors on the Sunfire don't close right.

johnnyD

My cars are a Jeep Commander and Ford Mustang. Both are fantastic cars. The last Mustang had 250k, no problems.

GULF WAR VETERAN

Wake up, America. Most Toyotas are made in China and guess why the Toyota plant in Los Angeles--Burbank and Long Beach--got shut down? Because Toyota has been struggling with millions of recalls and fired over 10,000 American workers and sent those jobs to China where people get paid $2 an hour. And in case people don't know China is Communist and children are working in Toyota plants in China to help their families. I drive a Jeep Grand Cherokee and refuse to be influenced by ignorant people who say Toyota is the best, blah, blah, blah. Parts for my Jeep cost me a fraction of a Toyota part. Cheers! Go U.S.A!

Kelly

What happens when a foreign car breaks down? Here in my small town there is one mechanic, and he says that the foreign made cars just aren't as easy to work on. Parts take longer to get in, so that means a longer time to wait on your car in the shop. American made cars are simpler to work on, when they do finally break down. So buy American made cars, not some foreign made car that people say is the "better deal."

ps

What's a US car? Example: Tundra vs. F150. Both engineered designed and built in America. Only difference is the Tundra has more US-manufactured parts than the F150. Content of a Honda Accord, higher than a Fusion/Milan/MKZ and perenially one of the best set of wheels around. Look at content, then at the badge. Toyota, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, Honda, BMW, etc. employ a few hundred thousand, directly and indirectly in out fair land. So, define a US car. Oh yeah, how about that Chevy Aveo? Detroit invented global sourcing and badge engineering. And they paid for it. Thank you, finance MBAs, you did wonders for Detroit. Tokyo, Seoul, Bavaria etc., are forever in your debt.

USA MADE

First of all, import cars are lame. They got their fair share of recalls and not lasting long and American cars do last a long time. My uncle's 2000 ranger has 200,000 miles on it and still runs. It all depends what car you get, import or American. As long as you take care of it, it should last you a long time.

So for the people who talk bad about American cars, you're liars or had one lemon out of a lot, and they're plenty of bad import cars with lemons and recalls. So go for American cars. Forget import cars--they're ugly trash. American cars when they get to be over 20 years old are worth restoring, not some dumb Honda or Toyota--they're pointless.

Toyota recalls on their brakes and floor mats. So, yeah, buy American.

Tom

I use to have a Grand Am, and it lasted 13 years with 355,000 kilometers. It was reliable and strong.

Fish

The auto industry is a global industry with each manufacturer sourcing globally. We should be more concerned about the rest of the goods that we buy with the phrase "Made in China" on them. Thanks to our ineptness to paying attention to where it comes from, China "owns" us. They could bankrupt our economy at a drop of a hat with a US currency dump. Next time look at where your next toaster is made and don't buy Made in China.

Thomas

Quality of American cars has gone up considerably starting on 2009. There is no need to buy a Japanese or even worse a Korean car. It doesn't matter how much they want to make you believe "it's ok, because they are assambled here." Well, the money goes to Japan or Korea and you are just helping them to develop newer technologies to get ahead of the game. It just take somebody to put two screws at the plant to say, "Oh! It was built in America" ....yeah right.

Pontiac, Hummer, and Saturn are gone for good. After drastic changes I can say that the rest is all good. It's amazing how some people now want to think that a Honda with a can in the exhaust or a Toyota looks cool--they are heinous and cheap looking. Same goes with Hyundai. Lexus and Toyota (same company) hid recalls and got fined by the US senate on 2010, but people forget too quickly, or they just don't like to watch the news.

Bob

I believe in Buy American. Three corvettes (1963, 400,000 miles, 1986, 225,000 miles, 2nd 86 225,000 miles), 1995 Cherokee 215,000 miles and still going. All vehicles that I sold were in great running condition when I sold. My lovely wife had a Honda Del Sol, which did not need much work at all, just a caliper and a timing belt, but the "routine" maintenance rubber timing belt replacement cost more than all the maintenance on my 1986 Corvette, which had double rate of driving. My previous wife drove a little Subaru, great in the snow (unless it was more than 6 inches deep), but a simple radiator replacement cost $900 (I bought a radiator for my 15-year-old corvette for $139). My business associate has a newer 2005 Subaru and they want $1800 to replace the catalytic converter (can get one for $70 for my Cherokee, if it ever needs one). Here at Tahoe, when the snow gets deep, you still see Cherokees, and GM SUVs on the road, but the Subaru's simply disappear.

I bought a 2000 Cherokee with a German Mercedes motor, and was apalled at the poor engineering, undersize rod bearings, and an atrocious crush bearing fix. I note that the little BMW sports car is made in USA, but if you divide the factory output by the number of cars, you find 12 man-hours per car, hardly American made. You will also note that import cars waste oil due to shipping iron ore to the foreign countries, and shipping the cars to USA. Very wasteful of our resources. Also, note that our current unemployment of 9.1% contrasts with 4%, 5%, and 6% in South Korea, Japan, and Germany, where all those "wonderful" cars are imported from. Our uneducated youth need those jobs that we are exporting.

Rahul Iyer

Over the years I have had both Japanese and American cars:

Saturn/GM
Chrysler/Jeep
Nissan
Honda

I am an engineer and have worked both for the Americans and the Japanese (Toyota & Nissan) in the automotive industry. I never have had to leave the USA for work (permanently). I have travelled to Japan and to Italy on business.

As far as companies like Kia, Hyundai, Nissan, and Toyota, about 80% of the vehicles in North America are assembled in North America, and they employ Americans.

In Tennessee, Nissan's North American homebase, they dominate the manufacturing and employ many residents in Tennessee (not necessarily Japanese residents in Japan). Same holds true for Nissan in Mississippi.

Toyota in Indiana employs many people, and dominates Evansville Indiana. Honda dominates Alabama and Ohio.

Given this, tell me what an "American" car is? Is my purchasing a Nissan that rolled off the production line in Tennessee or Mississippi being un-patriotic? A car assembled by other Americans?

Same could be said if I were to purchase a Toyota that rolled off the line in Indiana or Kentucky, or a VW that rolled off the line in Tennessee. BMW assembles vehicles in South Carolina. The Korean automotive companies call Alabama/Georgia their North American homebase.

What is an "American" car?

Fitz

As for what is an American car? Where does the money go? USA or elsewhere. Toyota profits go to Japan. American cars in the 70s and early 80s were not great but now, Japanese reliability is WAY overrated and U.S. car problems are way overstated. I like American cars because they just feel right to me (an American) I'm tired of hearing about inferior American cars with no factual data to back it up!

Americans Are Stupid

Americans are stupid. All they care about is how good a car looks.

information

Confucius: "He who will not economize will have to agonize."

ray

The debate is whether to buy American or not. The reasons the people give are all the same for the most part. Why should I spend an enormous amount of cash on a product that is inferior to its competition. Anyone in their right mind wants to get their moneys worth. This all makes sense and I don’t think there is much of an argument here however one thing I do find overlooked and not mentioned is the “Why”!
Why doesn’t the U.S automobile industry hear the calls and cater to the consumers demands? Why is it that in the last 30-40 years, they never equaled {or came close} to the perfection found in foreign designs? Why have they continually refused to rise to the occasion ?

Nate

Look at the names these are written by
by Mark Karlin by Aliyah Marr


Made in America For America
Enough said

Join the Debate

 

Participate More!

Please send us your ideas for new Debate Room topics. If you're an academic, association officer, or other industry expert and would like to write a Debate Room essay, send us a query. Questions? See the

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!