Thursday, March 29, 2007

Damn it I'm an American! No you're not! No YOU'RE not!

Well, you asked for it, and I'm finally delivering. I said if you wanted to buy American in the auto industry, you might as well buy a Toyota. Straight from my favorite source of auto info with factual content, Consumer Reports, here's the skinny.

Ford like to say "Red, White and Bold", but they along with GM are lowering the use of parts made in America and Canada. More and more they are utilizing their factories in India, Mexico, and the Orient. So, while 90% of a Toyota Sienna is made in the US and Canada, only 65% of the all American Mustang is made here. Both are assembled in the US, unlike the Chevy Avalanche and Ford Fusion, which are totally born in Mexico. "American Revolution", my ass, Chevy!!!

Most BMWs are built in South Carolina, and a few Mercedes are built in Alabama. So, what makes an American car? Saab 9-3s are all built in the US. Saab is owned by GM. Is it an American car? Maybe. Or are they immigrant cars? Aston Martin and Jaguar: British built, but Ford owned. Daimler Chrysler, well I don't even think they know who's running the show.

This is just like the immigration debate, isn't it? Makes you wonder.

Heck, then we can move onto auto advertising. "Fully indepenent front suspension". Big deal. Last time a car had a beamfront axle was the 30's, folks. Hell, even the Edsel had independent front suspension. Basically, every car commercial states a car has fuel injection (just using the company specific terms) independent suspension, and an engine. Most people other than those of us who've worked on cars really care or know what the terms mean. If the car starts, runs, gets decent mileage and does what you bought it to do well, that's good enough. Or is it?


KatieBelle said...

For me, a car that starts and gets me where I want to go is awesome. I don't need a GPS map system, Bose audio or whatever else bells and whistles car companies offer. Those things just seem so frivolous to me.

Very interesting factoids on where the cars are made. It puts into perspective the Americana themed advertisements Chevy has...

David Amulet said...

Good data. With globalized manufacturing, it's unclear what really is "American" anymore.

If you get a chance next time you're in a bookstore, pick up Thomas Friedman's "The World Is Flat" and look at pages 515 to 520, which lays out just how globalized a single laptop computer is!

-- david

blackcrag said...

I knew the auto industry was well globalized, but it sems to have gone backwards. Some 'imports' are built over here, and 'the so-called American cars are international mongrels.

Just one question: why does buying American over buying imports even matter?

Me, I'm more concerned with their exhaust emissions than what flag they are built under.