Made in America: Here Come the Complaints. Lawsuits Next?

2012 Chrysler 300

Imported from... Ontario?

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?

-tgriffith

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7 Comments

  1. I am shocked to hear they are lying. People working at auto factories in Canada got their “foreign made” cars vandalized. We certainly want to know the country that 51% of the car is made in.

  2. Speaking as a Canadian – good for them! I also want to see where products are made; all products, not just cars.

    I may, or may not, make purchasing decisions based on country of origin. The choice should be mine.

  3. OMG! Car makers being dishonest in their marketing? Well, they’re dishonest in just about every way. We’ve had a huge dose of dishonesty from makers like Toyota, so why not Ford and Chrysler. After all, marketing has spiraled down to become a version of organized crime, where deception, hype and outright lying is the norm these days.

  4. Every country in South, North and Central America is full of Americans… We are all Americans… Still, made in America may be misleading to a North American…

  5. There are so many cars made in the States these days… whatever you buy it’ll have worlwide connections. Whether the engineering behind it, the actual build, various bits and pieces, there will be influence from countries around the world. As soon we, and crackpot foundations, accept that the sooner we can move on to become one world.

  6. If you strictly looking at where the car was “assembled”, then Hyundai and Toyota are more “american made” than Ford, Chrysler and Chevy are at the moment and that’s not likely to change. Personally, I don’t care… As long as I get a reliable and fun car or truck to drive I’m happy. If you want to look at an American Top 10 list, you can see that with some unexpected results here: http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story.jsp?section=top&subject=ami&story=amMade0808

  7. If they believe they can bring Jobs back to Americans by raising that awareness, I say great, do it. However, if they are doing this to be prideful of American ideals, I believe they have the wrong idea. The Chrysler commercial from last Super Bowl has stood out in my mind and made me feel proud to be American. Ford and Chrysler are as American as it gets and I’m proud that they are considered American cars regardless of where one or two cars in the line up come from.

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