Cars Made in America: Better Check the Sticker First

photo courtesy of carscoops.com

photo courtesy of carscoops.com

Recent reports suggest that the domestic car industry is on the road to recovery after suffering through one of the worst economic recessions in the last 75 years. According to The Wall Street Journal, both car and light truck sales have increased over the past two quarters in 2014. The American automobile resurgence is promising for those keeping an eye on the tepid recovery of the economy, but the presence of foreign-made cars – or domestic automobiles with foreign parts – has remained somewhat strong in the U.S. over the past 30 to 40 years.

According to American University’s “2014 KOGOD Made in America Auto Index,” some foreign-made cars ranked higher than certain domestic vehicles. For example, the Honda Odyssey, Ridgeline and Crosstour, as well as the Toyota Camry and Tundra ranked higher than the Chrysler-made Jeep Patriot, Dodge Durango and Jeep Compass. They also ranked ahead of Tesla’s Model S and the Ford-made Lincoln MKS. The rankings account for where the parent company is headquartered and where it assembles its vehicles, produces parts and conducts research and development.

Foreign making US push

A growing number of foreign car manufacturers is heavily investing in production infrastructure in the U.S. For example, Honda’s total capital outlay in the U.S. in 2013 was more than $15 billion, according to its website. Despite the recent economic recession, it seems as if international brands are trying to establish themselves in an affluent consumer market in America.

Patrons who are looking to buy a new car now have myriad options when it comes to selecting the right model, regardless of whether they’re looking to purchase new or old. For some, buying American is a true sign of supporting the domestic economy. However, die-hard patriots may be disappointed when they find out some of the parts of their cars were manufactured in other regions of the world. If patrons are looking for an American purebred, then they must look at the sticker before they wheel out of the lot. Auto industry leader Edmunds says that U.S. consumers can identify whether the car was built on home soil by looking at the vehicle’s identification number. If the numbers begin with a one, four or five, then they can be assured that the model was assembled by the hands of American-based workers.

Vintage cars may be mixed

Although there is a push to keep the majority of new car manufacturing – parts included – on U.S. soil, consumers who choose to buy older models may find themselves driving a multinational automobile after they sign their names on the dotted line. Vintage cars are often subject to makeovers, and parts of the car may have been used in another vehicle at one point.

Alternatively, for the classic car enthusiasts, the look and design are seemingly far more important than what’s under the hood and where it was made. A classic Ferrari is easy on the eyes, no matter who owns it. Yet, for the weekend warriors looking to refurbish a vintage whip, finding domestic parts may be much easier and more cost-effective in the long run.

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