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.