This Article from 2007 might help heini-bu
How do you tell which car is more American?
A Question to the Report itself:
How do they count "American Origin"?
Some Parts of a BMW SUV are mounted in US (in my former Enterprise where I have worked), but 80% of the Parts are coming from foreign Countries, Mexico, Germany, Spain, Canada, Poland, partially from Malaysia, and so on.
Does the report count the origin of all the single parts or does it count the last Place in the Supply Chain before delivery to the OEM?
Joe Luehrmann likes American cars, has owned a string of them and is considering buying another.
But he faces a problem in trying to figure out what's American anymore.
His brother just bought a Chevy Equinox, but some of its parts are from China. And he knows all about the Kentucky-built Camry, but buying a Toyota ships the profit to Japan.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? What constitutes an 'American car'? Tell us
CHART: How American is that car?
Toyota brags in ads about its growing list of U.S. plants, yet it imported 37% more cars from Japan last year to meet increased demand. General Motors promotes its trucks in TV commercials to strains of This Is Our Country but makes some of its best-known SUVs in Mexico.
"What's American, vs. what's foreign? I can't really say," says the frustrated Luehrmann, a Chicago accountant. "It's not that easy. It's very shades of gray."
The ambiguity creates a quandary for the many who consider "Made in the USA" a badge of honor. To them, the label means putting fellow countrymen to work at decent wages and supporting the U.S. economy in wartime. Some domestic-brand dealers use patriotic appeals to try to rev up the Buy American spirit.
But many consumers are increasingly confused. The world is no longer as simple as us vs. them, Detroit against the Asians and Europeans.
It's a global industry now, in which all manufacturers are touching their automaking toes on the shores of just about every industrialized nation. Even GM, long the icon of American industry, hedges its bets. "We're very proud for the economic role we play in this country," says GM spokesman Greg Martin. "However, we're a global car company that happens to be based in the United States."
The contradictions of a borderless automotive economy are borne out by government figures that track where vehicles are made and their domestic parts content. The search for the American car leads to:
•Foreign cars made in the USA. Honda's Ohio-built Accord is 70% domestic parts. Toyota's Corolla is made in a California plant alongside General Motors models.
•American cars made abroad. Ford's hit Fusion sedan is made in Mexico; only half its parts are from the USA or Canada. GM pitches its small HHR sport utility and giant Suburban straight at the American market, but they, too, are built in Mexico. HHR has only 41% American and Canadian parts.
•Famous American names and foreign owners. More than three-quarters of the parts in Dodge's new Nitro SUV, which is assembled in Toledo, Ohio, are American or Canadian. But the profits go to Germany because Dodge is part of DaimlerChrysler. Chrysler Group, meanwhile, just became the first major automaker to announce it's going to make small cars for the U.S. market in China.
Despite the confusion, about half of Americans surveyed say they still try to buy products made in the USA, says Britt Beemer of America's Research Group.
The government makes it easy for buyers wandering sales lots to figure out which vehicles are most American. The location of the plant where a vehicle was assembled and its amount of U.S. or Canadian parts — they aren't separated out — are pasted on the window sticker.
Arguably, the most American of all vehicles right now is Ford's hulking 2007 Ford Expedition, a USA TODAY check of government listings, manufacturers and dealer sales lots reveals. The SUV is composed of 95% U.S. or Canadian parts, and it was made in Michigan. Ford's new Edge crossover and the Crown Victoria sedan also have 95% components, but both they and their corporate cousins are assembled in Canada.
Even though individual models vary widely, Detroit automakers overall still had more domestic parts in their vehicles when weighted according to sales, says an analysis from a pro-Detroit trade group.
Detroit's Big 3 derived about 77% of their parts from U.S. and Canadian factories from domestic sources. That compares with slightly less than half for Japanese brands overall, according to the Automotive Trade Policy Council, which represents the domestic manufacturers in trade issues. Among Japanese brands, Honda had the most domestic content at 59%.
"The data is clear: Domestic auto plants create more jobs in this country than overseas producers who locate here," says United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger in a statement to USA TODAY. But he was quick to note that foreign automakers have created more jobs in the USA by opening plants here, and he respects their workers.
Many auto dealers selling domestic brands are playing to the patriotism theme.
In Tampa, Bill Currie Ford credits pro-USA ad themes for contributing to fast growth. A billboard posted along Interstate 275 shows an American flag and outlines of Japan and South Korea. The message: "Whose country are you supporting?"
"We've had some compliments," says Currie's community relations director, Danny Lewis. And, he adds, "very little criticism."
In Roseville, Minn., Cadillac dealer Wally McCarthy runs radio ads on WCCO-AM in Minneapolis that say, "Buying a vehicle from GM, quite simply, helps support Americans."
Manufacturers — and not just those in Detroit — have picked up on the patriotism theme lately, especially when it comes to pickups.
To crack the full-size pickup market with its new Tundra, Toyota doesn't hold back in promoting how American it has become. The new Texas truck plant where the Tundra is built "is just one more example of our commitment to America," Toyota touts in colorful newspaper ads that mention lots of new jobs and a $15 billion U.S. investment.
GM counters with its Our Country campaign, filled with images of vintage Americana, for its Chevy Silverado pickups.
Consumers who care the most about patriotism when it comes to purchases are usually working-class white men; thus the emphasis on the pickup market, says Dana Frank, a history professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Buy American: The Untold story of Economic Nationalism.
Pickup buyers also are notoriously loyal, another reason the campaigns are targeting them. They'll wear a Chevy belt buckle with pride, notes Honda Senior Vice President John Mendel, adding, "Not a lot of Lexus owners have an 'L' tattooed on their arm."
Half the domestic pickup buyers surveyed by J.D. Power and Associates cited not wanting to own a foreign-made truck as the chief reason for their purchase decision, even more than the one out of three who said they didn't like foreign-truck styling.
Pickup buyers "tend to be flag wavers, and they aren't convinced that Toyota is an American company," says Art Spinella of CNW Marketing Research. Consumers may be a little predisposed against Toyota, with 61% of those participating in CNW focus group panels in five cities saying they don't consider Toyota to be a U.S. company despite efforts to tint its image more red, white and blue.
"It does bother me that they have a series of ads showing they are part of the heartland of America, yet their imports increased," says building contractor Jim Urbano, 53, of Woodbridge, Conn., who also researches car-buying options on Edmunds.com. He says he prefers American-made vehicles, because, "It troubled me to see so many U.S. autoworkers being laid off."
Besides its flag-waving Tundra ads, Toyota has been running a public relations campaign in greater Washington, D.C., to cultivate an apple pie, not sushi, image among policymakers.
It helps that Toyota announced that a new assembly plant will be built in Tupelo, Miss., its fifth in the USA, with a goal of increasing production by 600,000 vehicles by 2010. Honda is also building a new assembly plant in Indiana.
"We are committed to building where we sell," says Toyota spokeswoman Martha Voss. "No one is adding more capacity than we are."
Voss cites demand for small cars last year as the reason Toyota's Japanese imports rose by so much. Altogether, Toyota imported close to half of all the vehicles it sold in the USA last year from Japan, including all its gas-electric hybrids and most of its luxury Lexus division vehicles.
Honda's imports soared 30% last year, Mazda's rose 19%, and Suzuki's were up 23%, the Congressional Research Service finds in a new report. It says Japanese makers are simply trying to meet customer demand while running their U.S. plants at full tilt.
Japanese automakers encountered "capacity restraints in their existing U.S. plants as a sharp increase in the price of gasoline sparked greater consumer demand for fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly vehicles," says William Duncan, general director of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association's office in Washington, D.C.
All told, each of the Detroit automakers supports 2½ times more U.S. jobs than Toyota, says Jim Doyle, president of the Level Field Institute, a Washington research group. He acknowledges, however, that "people are trying to define what an American car is, and they are having a tough time."
The confusion pains Luehrmann, 48. Hoping to reach a decision soon about his next car, he's looking at everything.
He's a believer in American cars, but, says with a tinge of regret, "I don't feel any great loyalty anymore."