Sunday, February 08, 2009

"Buy American"??

The Mazda 6 below is built in Flat Rock, MI by UAW workers. Does this qualify as an "American" car?
We've heard a lot lately about the “Buy American” provisions being debated in the economic stimulus bill, and that made me think about how increasingly difficult, and increasingly meaningless, it is to even determine what "Buy American" really means in an increasingly globalized world economy. Consider automobiles - how do you tell the difference any more between "American cars" and "foreign cars."

1. Here's a list of 8 "American-made" vehicles produced by American
UAW workers, in American factories, but for foreign-based car companies. If you purchased one of these vehicles, would that count as "buying American"?

American-made UAW vehicles:
Mazda 6
Mitsubishi Eclipse
Mitsubishi Galant
Toyota Corolla
Isuzu i-Series Truck
Mazda B-series Truck
Mitsubishi Raider Truck
Toyota Tacoma Truck

2. What about these nine Canadian-made vehicles, produced by
UAW brothers and sisters at factories in Canada, for the U.S.-based Detroit Three. They can't qualify as "American-Made" can they?:

Canadian-made UAW vehicles:
Buick Lacrosse
Chevrolet Impala
Chrysler 300
Dodge Challenger
Dodge Charger
Ford Crown Victoria
Lincoln Town Car
Mercury Grand Marquis
Pontiac Grand Prix

3. What about the Chevy Aveo, which is built by Korean automaker Daewoo for Detroit-based General Motors? Or the Chrysler PT Cruiser, built in Mexico?

4. What about the 2008 Honda Pilot and Honda Civics, built in the U.S. with
higher domestic content (70%) than the 2008 Dodge Ram (68%) and the Michigan-built Ford Mustang (65%).


5. What about the Toyota Tundra, Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey, which rank #5, #6 and #7 for the "Top American-Made Cars" in 2008 by Cars.com?

15 Comments:

At 2/09/2009 11:55 AM, Blogger @sethstorm said...


Mazda 6....no, joint venture
Mitsubishi Eclipse....no,
Mitsubishi Galant....another 4cyl torqueless blunder of Japanese design
Toyota Corolla....golf cart with Japanese design
Isuzu i-Series Truck....clone of a Ford
Mazda B-series Truck....clone of a Ford
Mitsubishi Raider Truck....Localized version of a Japanese design
Toyota Tacoma Truck....More Japanese parts with minimal US design

Nope, none of them qualify.


Buick Lacrosse....Poor successor to the well-built Buick Regal
Chevrolet Impala....Good if you snag a Police fleet vehicle
Chrysler 300....
Dodge Challenger....base V6 has more power per dollar than anything in the Far East.
Dodge Charger....
Ford Crown Victoria....High torque pushrod car and last real bit of affordable muscle in Police Interceptor form
Lincoln Town Car....Higher end Crown Vic in luxury
Mercury Grand Marquis....Skip this and get the Marauder or a CVPI.
Pontiac Grand Prix....The best place you can find the well-known and reliable 3800 engine block.

As for the Aveo, the size and lack of options gives it away. It is a captive import. The others are just assembly of import or import inspired designs.

For those inquiring:
What do I drive? I drive a Canadian-built, GM designed Buick Regal of the early 1990's. Civic in size, but North American at the engine block and gas pedal.

 
At 2/09/2009 1:31 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Isuzu i-Series Truck....clone of a Ford
> Mazda B-series Truck....clone of a Ford
> Mitsubishi Raider Truck....Localized version of a Japanese design

"Clone of a Ford"? WTF does that mean, and what does it have to do with the question, you nit?


"Localized version of a Japanese design"? Ah, so, if Japanese designers worked on it, it's not "American" enough?

Take your idiotically irrelevant "non-answer" handwaving BS arguments and stuff 'em back where they came from, seth.

Yeeesh.

Now go away, and don't come back until you learn how to actually make a rational case for or against a proposition.

.

 
At 2/09/2009 3:47 PM, Blogger spencer said...

Back in the days --years ago -- when Wal Mart was running a big "BUY AMERICAN" campaign they would count NIKE shoes as American because WMT bought them from an American company and the fact that they were manufactured in Asia did not matter.

It was just about a decade ago and WMT could use such tricks to claim that over 90% of their products were American.

 
At 2/09/2009 4:47 PM, Blogger @sethstorm said...


"Clone of a Ford"? WTF does that mean, and what does it have to do with the question?

OBH:
Look at a Ford Ranger. Look at some of Mazda's smallish pick-up trucks. Strip the labels.

What remains are 2 highly identical trucks in design, same with Isuzu's Hombre and the former GM S-10.

Where the imports put their parts in is the point where it no longer is an American car.


"Localized version of a Japanese design"? Ah, so, if Japanese designers worked on it, it's not "American" enough?

That means the design was built towards Japanese demands and interests. It merely has had its steering wheel position flipped and given a slightly more powerful engine. Then those parts are merely assembled to spec in our nation.

 
At 2/09/2009 5:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point of "buy american" is to keep the money mulitplier effect working within the borders of the U.S. as well as support companies who compensate their workers with a decent wage, decent heath care, and a livable retirement program. My instinct is go with cars built in the U.S. by U.S. companies first, as this keeps the profits in the U.S. for the most part. The second tier would be cars with high U.S. part content.

 
At 2/09/2009 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

my last three car buys i wanted to buy american, but there were NO offerings that met my needs...

what us car would replace these?:

honda element (good price, reasonable fuel efficiency, bike fits in it without disassembly)...

volvo s40 (220hp 34mpg hwy from small i-5 with turbo, clean and minimal design, no chrome, upscale)...

volvo v70r (high performance wagon 300hp 27mpg hwy from small i-5 with turbo, no chrome, under-stated)... here, there is one bad option-dodge magnum, its a gaudy pig and cant turn around a bend like a sports car and the big engines get awful mileage...if gm would not have killed the G8 wagon, i would have bought it, but its australian anyway!...

i do like to buy locally grown produce, does that count? apples are apples after all... cars arent cars, but apples are apples... so buy locally grown produce...

 
At 2/09/2009 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The test is very simple...

Did this car allow my neighbor to put a roof over his head and food on his family's table, so he won't RIOT and come and try and kill me and take my food?

If yes, then that is an "American" car.

 
At 2/10/2009 12:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FU, go ahead and buy your american shitty cars. Because the world won't be bailing your asses out when it tanks bottom.

 
At 2/10/2009 12:11 AM, Blogger Angel of Liberty said...

Did this car allow my neighbor to put a roof over his head and food on his family's table, so he won't RIOT and come and try and kill me and take my food?

That's a good one. Since my brother works for Nissan in Farmington Hills, I'll consider the Nissan brand to be acceptable.

And since, during my decade in the auto industry, I still have many friends who worked alongside me on Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Isuzu Rodeos, Isuzu Troopers, Nissan Quests (already had Nissan covered though), Toyota Camrys, Mazda 6s, Subaru Legacys, BMWs, and a whole slew of other "Japanese" cars, I'll consider those acceptable as well.

Oh, and regarding Ford designers: have you seen how many engineers from India work for Ford right here in the good old USofA? I'll bet not. I did. After all, that's where all the smart guys come from.

Oh, and regarding "decent wages" and such, the Nissan plants down south pay over $20/hour, with full benefit packages. The Tier One supplier I worked for (back in the 90s) paid me between $18 and $28 per hour, plus benefits.

I could go on, but non-thinkers like yourselves don't want to face reality; you just want to continue producing overpriced crap at a loss for your corporation, and we're supposed to line up and buy your garbage. Not so much.

 
At 2/10/2009 12:13 AM, Anonymous Rogerg said...

A fallacious argument. The design of the cars is done by japanese designers in Japan. The parts of the cars are mostly from Japan, the executives of the companies live in Japan and the tax breaks that many southern states gave to the Japanese companies means they don't even have to pay taxes in America. In addition, Japan and korea limit the number of American cars that can be imported to their country but the American government set no such limits on Japanese companies. They make good boring cars in Japan but now is the time to buy American.

 
At 2/10/2009 12:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a pick and choose list.

Of course there are some imports made in the USA, but it's the exception, not the rule. Some of those (the Mazda B-Series) are just re-badged American models (Ford Rangers).

With the exception of those re-badged models, everything you pointed out was ENGINEERED in Japan. That is the biggest bulk of quality jobs that automotive manufacturing provides.

Mazda's premiere vehicle, the 3 series, engineered and built in Japan. Toyota, in particular, basically just 'manufactures' ready to assemble cars in the State's for PR....all the assemblies are built in Japan.

Then you exclude American cars built in other parts of North America. This is fair to a degree, but the imbalance with Canada, which has always been a deficit, isn't nearly as large, relative to the overall trade volume, when compared to Japan or China (which is massive and astronomical respectively).

Summary....Buy American. It makes a difference, and no amount of rationalization of picking and choosing facts will change that.

 
At 2/10/2009 2:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carpe BS....you can't even do a good job setting up straw men and knocking them down...if its assembled here , it is American no matter what the nameplate, and that is what the legislation says

 
At 2/10/2009 4:10 PM, Blogger Angel of Liberty said...

Buy American. It makes a difference, and no amount of rationalization of picking and choosing facts will change that.

FACTS? As I pointed out, hundreds of thousands of Americans are employed by Japanese and German automakers. The original argument was that we should buy whatever puts a roof over our neighbor's head. Buying Japanese designed cars built in America does just that.

 
At 2/10/2009 4:14 PM, Blogger 1 said...

Does anyone think that Chinese vehicles will break into the American car market?

Will the Chinese over time end up having some built here like the Japanese and Koreans do?

 
At 2/11/2009 12:21 PM, Blogger Justin said...

It's most important to buy cars made by unionized workers, even if they are of a foreign badge. I believe it is most important to support America's middle class, of which skilled craftsmen on the auto assembly line belong. If it's a mazda, or toyota, so be it.

People say that the money then goes to Japanese companies and wealth is lost. Well, at least those foreign auto makers are providing jobs in the US.

 

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