Being a native Detroiter, I have grown up with family and friends who are tied to the Domestic Three in one form or another. I drive by Ford's manufacturing plants every day to and from work, watching as they pump out some of the best cars in America. I personally drive a Chevrolet, and have friends who drive Chrysler automobiles. Then I get to work and have to park my car next to a Kia, behind a Honda, kiddie-corner from a Toyota. Before I start really getting into this topic, let me get it out in the open: I do not hate the foreign automakers. I just strongly dislike the bias against the American automakers.
I have gotten into more arguments than I can remember with owners of foreign cars. I just ask why they chose to buy a car from a Japanese automaker, and their response is a very common one. They tell me their car is better, and it was made here, so it's just as American as a car from GM, Ford or Chrysler. This statement sets me off like no other. It brings up two very different arguments; in what way is your car "better" and how is it the same just because it was made here?
The first argument could be answered based on factual data or fought out over personal opinion. Factual data like the topic of fuel economy. Owners of Toyota's or Honda's always say right off the bat, "well my car gets better gas mileage than Car A or B from the Domestics."
Sure there are cases where this is true, but lets name some where it is definitely false. The Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram full size pickups are all more fuel efficient than the Toyota Tundra or Nissan Titan pickups. The sales figures prove that the American pickups are more popular and their better fuel economy is just one reason. Don't believe me? Check out the automakers websites, or look at the sales data. The F-150 was the best selling vehicle in the U.S. last year, with the Silverado coming in third.
The Ford Fusion is more fuel efficient than the Toyota Camry or Honda Accord, and not only that, but it is rated higher in initial quality than either foreign car. The Fusion is also available in hybrid form, which bests the Camry hybrid by 8 mpg in the city. Honda's Accord hybrid performed so poorly it was dropped after only three model years.
Quality is another reason many foreign owners bring up for their car purchase. However, based on third party research data, Ford Motor Company was the highest quality full line automaker based on initial quality in 2009. General Motors offers a longer warranty on their vehicles than either Toyota, Honda or Nissan. Why would GM do this if their cars were so much worse in quality? The warranty repair costs would kill them!
The second point I want to address is the location of assembly for a vehicle. Many Toyota's, Honda's and Nissan's are made in the United States, so their owners argue that that makes them American. Sadly this statement is just not true! Even though those cars were built here, the majority of the engineering, design and testing took place outside of the U.S. The average car takes around 20 hours to build, but takes 3-5 years to design, test, develop and ready for production. Those years of work are done mostly outside of the country for foreign automakers. Not only that, but the pay rates for engineers and designers working to develop the car are much higher than the pay for the hourly workers who assemble them here.
What's the point of this rather long rant Steve? Why are you telling us all this? I bring up these points to show that maybe the American automakers deserve a break. They are making the best cars of their 100+ year history and are now able to compete (and beat) their Japanese competition. Remember, the foreign automakers don't make bad cars, the American automakers just make better ones. So please, help OUR economy and consider a GM, Ford or Chrysler for your next car.