The “What constitutes American made?” question has made its rounds on these pages before. Remember our discussion on whether Chevrolet or Mazda made the more “American” pickup? Or if Ford is a foreign car company?
With the globalization of the car industry, manufacturers are building cars wherever it makes the most economical sense to do so. Japan continues to move production Stateside, and domestic brands like using factories in Mexico, Canada and soon, China.
The issue isn’t really where the vehicle is made anymore; the issue is how a car company handles its marketing.
The Made in the USA Foundation, which I have never heard of until just now, has taken issue with Ford and Chrysler marketing recently, accusing both of deceiving consumers by promoting “American-made” cars that are anything but.
The foundation has filed complaints with the Federal Trade Commission for misleading ads, claiming that both automakers have advertised vehicles as made in America that were actually imported from foreign countries.
The complaints point out that Ford advertises the Fusion as an American car, when the vehicle is actually assembled in the automaker’s Mexican facility. The complaint also states that the advertisement is misleading and gives consumers the wrong impression about the car’s origins.
Chrysler came under fire, too. The foundation especially didn’t like the company’s commercials for the Chrysler 300, which Chrysler proudly states is “Imported from Detroit.” The foundation believes most buyers will assume that means the sedan is built in Detroit when it is actually assembled in Canada. Using an engine built in Mexico.
On the flip-side, one could argue that the research, development and engineering of those vehicles happened right here in the U.S. of A. Then there’s the deeper issue of what “American made” really means. Just the U.S., or all of North and Central America?
I really don’t think the majority of car buyers care where their car was put together, as long as it doesn’t give them any troubles. Truth in advertising would be a welcome change, though! It makes me wonder when we’ll see the first lawsuit from a consumer thinking he or she purchased a U.S.-built car and then finding out differently after taking delivery.
I’m sure it’s only a matter of time…
Is the Made in the USA Foundation wasting its time, or does it have a point complaining about car marketing sending misleading messages about where they are built?