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"Buy American" sounds great -- but the problem is, there isn't much to buy anymore that's truly American.

You buy a Ford hybrid, but guess what? Its hybrid systems are Toyota-sourced. That General Motors small SUV you have your eyes on? Well, take a look under the hood. It may say Saturn -- but the engine's built by Honda (GM buys engines for the Saturn Vue and other vehicles from Honda -- as well as Honda-built transmissions). Chrysler is now DaimlerChrysler -- and a wholly-owned subsidiary of a foreign industrial conglomerate (Daimler AG). Chrysler-badged cars like the popular 300-series sedan and Crossfire coupe are basically custom-bodied knock-offs of Mercedes-Benz designed vehicles --specifically, the E-Class sedan and SLK roadster. For some time (and pre-Daimler) several Chrysler vehicles used Mitsubishi-built engines -- or were, in fact, Mitsubishis with slightly different exterior styling and a "Dodge" badge glued to the fender.

Many of today's cars (or their major components) are assembled in different countries before being sold under the nameplate of their home country -- and this goes for the "import" as well as the "domestics." GM and Ford have plants in Mexico; Nissan, Honda and Hyundai have plants in the United States. There are "American" cars that are built entirely in Mexico -- and "Japanese" cars that are built entirely in the United States.

Which of these is the "foreign" car?

But when you buy an American car, the profits stay in America -- or so the argument goes. In fact, the profits can (and do) go overseas or across the border, to finance (for example) new plants in other countries -- and by definition, jobs for foreign workers at the expense of American workers. Contrariwise, if you buy a Nissan built in Tennessee by an American worker you have helped to support an American worker.

Right?

This is the reality of the global free market -- and of the multinational conglomerate. There is no such thing anymore as an "American" car company -- or, for that matter, a "Japanese" one. Money is fungible; which means, it shifts and moves about as easily as dry leaves on a windy October afternoon. Your dollar might be split in myriad ways -- a portion going to pay for your new car's Brazilian-sourced transmission, its German electronics or maybe its Japanese engine. Even if you carefully research and confine your buying expedition to only those cars with an "American" nameplate that are built entirely in U.S. plants, you will still be purchasing some degree of foreign content -- and the profit earned from the sale will go to support the company's operations, including those across-the-border plants and the purchasing of foreign-built parts and components.

It's like trying to unstir coffee you've already put the creamer in, or buying the Blow-Pop just to get the little nugget of candy in the middle. You still have to buy the whole lollipop.

Economic nationalism is great -- in theory. But there has to be reciprocity on the part of the home-brand companies -- and policies and laws to protect them from the ravages of "competition" from low-wage foreign enterprises -- and the lure of increasing their own bottom line by "outsourcing" jobs and facilities to low-wage, low-cost foreign countries. Why should an American consumer support the exportation of U.S. jobs to Mexico (or China) by purchasing a "Ford" or "GM" car assembled in Mexico or China? Particularly when he could buy a Honda assembled in Ohio that helps to maintain an American worker's livelihood?

Free trade works both ways. If it makes "economic sense" for a U.S. automaker to close an "expensive, outdated" facility in Michigan (and toss several thousand American workers out of their jobs) and then open up a lower-cost facility South of the Border, then surely it's equally sensible (and justified) for an American car buyer to select the best car he can get for his money -- no matter where it happens to be built or what the brand name happens to be.

As Dr. Lecter liked to say: Quid pro quo, Clarice.
 

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Where was it designed? When the sale is complete where do the profits go? While the water is certainly muddied these matter. A car company consists of more that line workers despite what the UAH says ;)
 

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Yep, if the money is invested offshore by an American company...it is still American funds.

I believe in buying the best car for the situation regardless of nameplate, but this e-mail was clearly written with a purpose.
 

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i work at a gm dealer and almost all of it is imports the duramax engine is an izuzu,tracker is a suzuki,and those new epicas and aveos dont know if they are the same modle names in the states but they are dewoos ya the same people that made cheep stereos and they are crap!!
 

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THe auto industry is evolving into a network of "global specialists" and "global integrators". The model is evolving to resemble that of the computer industry. Companies like GM, Ford, and DC will eventually resemble Dell, HP, Compaq et al. Essentially, they will market a package of individually sourced components from different specialist manufacturers, while offering their own warranties and distribution network. Order online, pick it up and service it at the dealer. I'm looking forward to it.

Just for the hell of it, a quote that I like to use a lot:

“Whether we like it or not, today’s market is the world, and its market shares are being distributed now.”

-Dr. Ferdinand Piech, The Transformation of the Automotive Industry, 2001
 

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I don't know why, but the "system or global integrators" buzzword irritates me.

A guy from Microsoft was using it at a conference last week (about X-Box 360)....
 

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phobiaphobe said:
THe auto industry is evolving into a network of "global specialists" and "global integrators". The model is evolving to resemble that of the computer industry. Companies like GM, Ford, and DC will eventually resemble Dell, HP, Compaq et al. Essentially, they will market a package of individually sourced components from different specialist manufacturers, while offering their own warranties and distribution network. Order online, pick it up and service it at the dealer. I'm looking forward to it.
I'm not :thumbd: After seeing all the cars at the Detroit auto show, I wasn't impressed by many cars. In fact, there were very few. The common denominator for most of them was a high price tag, cheap looking interior and not much in the way of styling. The Challenger was sweet. The Camaro was alright, not as sexy as I had hoped. The GT500 was ok. The one Z06 I was able to get close to had a run in the paint on the edge of the driver door...
 

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Think about it though... take your specific areas of concern with modern cars, and give yourself the option to upgrade them, just like ordering a PC.

Don't like the standard interior? Upgrade to a nicer one.
 

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Ummm...they already have that!
 

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Whatever happened to originality for the people that can't afford $50k+ for a car? Back in the 60's & 70's a high school kid could afford a 'Vette. With their performance nowadays it's probably good they can't, but should they really cost upwards of $50k? How about this? We can't come up with any new designs, so let's bring in a car we built 50yrs ago, take cues from it, build it, and then charge 20x it's original price and sell it as "retro".

No, I'm not whining because I can't afford a 'Vette or some other sports car. I couldn't care less about that at this point in my life. I'm just saying that it's disappointing to see the lack of effort by most(American) manufacturers. Show me one car from a US manufacturer that compares to a Civic in quality and price. It simply doesn't exist.
 

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luvtolean said:
they already have that
Yes but project that to the next level... You spec out a basic chassis, choose your engine from whatever manufacturer, choose your interior... I'm not talking LE to XLE, I'm talking about upgrading your Ford interior to a Jag interior. Just like a computer.
 

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ND4SPD said:
Whatever happened to originality for the people that can't afford $50k+ for a car? Back in the 60's & 70's a high school kid could afford a 'Vette. With their performance nowadays it's probably good they can't, but should they really cost upwards of $50k? How about this? We can't come up with any new designs, so let's bring in a car we built 50yrs ago, take cues from it, build it, and then charge 20x it's original price and sell it as "retro".

....
Well there has been a domestic manufacturer in recent years that has tried to look to the future with design and came out with a real ground-breaking compact car but, er, wait nevermind.
 

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Now that I own a car whose engine was built in Mexico, transmission was built by Mercedes in Indiana, and assembled by a bunch of filthy Frenchmen in Canada, I can honestly say I own an "American" car.

:rolleyes:

And ND4 is absolutely correct. Fit and finish in ANY American car doesn't even come close to the cheapest Japanese cars. Not from what I've seen anyway.
 
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