More Car Buyers Looking for “American,” but That Could Mean Toyota, Honda, BMW, Kia…

2011 Honda Civic: as American as they come?

Is an Ohio-built Honda Civic more “American” than a Mexico-built Ford Fiesta?

That’s the topic of some debate and uncertainty, and clouds the issue for Americans who are looking to buy “American.”

A Rasmussen Reports poll conducted in November found an increase in the preference for “American-built” vehicles, but that’s not all great news for the Big 3, because the poll also finds a willingness to accept U.S.-built Toyota and BMW products as pretty much the same as buying an “American” product.

Where do you fall on the debate?

The poll revealed that 41 percent of respondents said they look for an American-built car first when they’re in the market for a vehicle. That’s just a few points below the 44 percent who said they look for the best possible deal regardless of where the car was built. Only 12 percent said they look first for a foreign-built car.

A similar poll was conducted in 2008, when only 32 percent said they look for an American car first, which means Americans are either more fond of the domestic automakers or more willing to welcome foreign automakers into the American family. I have a feeling it’s the latter having a major influence – I mean, have you seen the Kia made-in-America TV ads? They are dripping in good ol’ down-home Southern Americana. Other foreign automakers are equally happy to cash in on the “Made in the USA” trend.

Whatever your priorities are, the CarGurus DealFinder can help next time you’re in the market for a vehicle. If you’re one of the 44 percent looking for the best possible deal, DealFinder was made for you!

If you must have an American-made vehicle, rather than trying to research which makes and models are built here, just look for a car with a VIN that begins with the numbers 1, 4 or 5. Regardless of brand, that’s the code that signifies a vehicle was built by the very capable hands of United States citizens.

What do you look for most when buying a car: a good deal or made in America? What constitutes “American-made” in your book?


Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Honda Civic
Used Ford Fiesta



  2. I totally agree with Randy…read the stickers and be surprised. My father used to say always buy american until I mentioned his Mercury was made in Canada. And Randy, I am unemployed and drive a BMW, albeit a 17 years old one that still looks like new. My next car will be a Ford as they have had the balls to pull themselves out of the American economic mess without a government handout and now have world class products, and I smile when a Mustang 5.0 runs with a BMW M3 for $30K less, and a large after market for performance tweaks we middle class folks can afford!

  3. American’s try to delude themselves when buying foreign nameplates, but the fact of the matter is that a much larger percentage of the total purchase price of the vehicle leaves the USA compared to domestic nameplates. If you want your purchase dollars to provide maximum benefit to your local economy, though, you’ve got to do your homework as many domestic nameplate cars are built outside the US and many have very high foreign parts content. Manufacturers are required to list content sources and assembly point, so you may actually be able to choose a vehicle that is built near your home with high domestic content. Both of my vehicles where built here in Michigan and have high domestic content.
    On the other hand, you can be one of those Americans that rushes to Walmart to save a few bucks on a Chinese toaster and hates American nameplate vehicles. But as many of you have discovered, that BMW in your driveway didn’t help your own bottom line when your customers dried up after losing their jobs, and now they laugh at you when you drive it to the unemployment office. We’re all in this together folks, and sooner or later, not supporting your fellow Americans will come back to haunt you.

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