Thursday, February 10, 2011

Made in America does mean something especially when buying a car

Welcome readers, very recently in my life, I have found myself experiencing a crash course in “Made in America” or “Made in the USA” on vehicles when I went along for the ride with a family member when he wanted to buy a pre-owned car. And it all started when he gave me his three major points that the car must meet.
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Of course number 1 was the price, number two was the car had to have all wheel drive or four wheel drive so he could go to work even in Massachusetts’ toughest winter storms. But it was number three, the pre-owned car had to be “Made in America” or “Made in the USA” in some way, shape or form to got me. Basically he preferred having a 1, 4, or 5 as the first number on the VIN or be a Ford, GM or Chrysler product.

Now in being a car guy, I immediately started picking out cars that meant his first two major points without a problem from the Ford Escape, Ford Fusion, Subaru brand, Chevrolet Equinox, Dodge Charger and so on. But when I started matching up price it got a little hard especially to find the pre-owned car in our area, but it was the “Made in America” that surprised me the most. It was an eye opening experience for sure.

So I started researching VIN numbers and decoding them, looking up window stickers, checking out articles and I quickly narrowed down the list to a few cars. But at this point I wanted to see what vehicles where made where and how much U.S./Canadian content are in each vehicle. The second one is very hard info to come by. So here is got my attention the most.

The big three automakers, namely Ford, GM and Chrysler were first on my list. Now this actually doesn’t go by car manufacturer, but by model. A classic example came out of the Ford (vehicles) stable. Ford actually builds there vehicles in several different locations in several different countries including the United States and Mexico. Two good examples are the Ford F-150 and the Ford Fusion. The Ford F-150 is assembled in the United States, its engine and transmission is built in the US and contains 75% of U.S./Canadian content.

But the Ford Fusion goes in the opposite direction. The Fusion is assembled in Mexico and contains only 25-30% (depending upon the model year) U.S./Canadian contents. By the way, that’s sad especially for Ford.

As for General Motors and Chrysler, General Motors does in fact make several vehicles throughout the brand, namely Buick, Chevrolet and GMC are made in the United States and Canada. A classic example is the Chevrolet Camaro that one is built in Canada, while the Chevrolet Corvette is built in Bowling Green, Ky.

But a bigger surprise was Chrysler. They built most of there vehicles right here in the United States, along with Mexico and Brazil. I read that 61% of their vehicles come from the United States and Canada. One example is the Dodge Challenger/Dodge Charger/Chrysler 300. All three cars are made and assembled on the same assembly line in Canada, while the engines are made in Mexico and shipped by rail and then truck to Canada. A hat tip to the TV show “Ultimate Factories” for that information.

Now as for imports/foreign name manufacturers, Subaru actually was the biggest surprise. Subaru has one plant in Lafayette, Indiana where they assemble the Legacy, Outback and the Tribeca. Of course the rest are built in Japan.

And that isn’t all, Acura has two models assembled in the U.S., along with Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Infiniti, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota.

All of the information is amazing is read when you can find it that is and if your researching buying your next new or pre-owned car, this information should be on your list to find out.

And by the way, after researching and testing driving a vehicle, he actually chose a 2010 Subaru Legacy in the next town over the Ford Fusion. The feel of All-Wheel-Drive and a good deal made all of the difference and so far, so good. I have actually been in it several times and it’s actually makes me possibly want one in the future. To date, he has put almost 1,000 miles on the vehicle in the first month, just getting to know it and doing some unexpected drives.

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