Made in America? or Hecho en Mexico?

Posted: May 5, 2011 in Autombiles
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Inspired by a friend of mine who is looking for a car. She asked about a couple of vehicles, I sent her information.

Her wish-list.. large vehicle to haul people & stuff, good gas mileage, cheaper price than what she is paying now. She also does not want to suffer the wind/road noise so many SUVs suffer from. Reviewing what she wants/needs, I came up with the Toyota Highlander Hybrid as a recommendation for her. It rates excellent on every level, very good gas mileage for a large SUV, and hit every wish list item. (I even found one for about $21k for sale near her, and it was a 2008 model).  She responds, “Oh I did not want a foreign car”.

Now what were some of the vehicles she asked about initially? The Chevy HHR &  the Chrysler PT Cruiser. Both Hecho en Mexico.

She is not alone, there are many Americans who still think Chrysler, GM & Ford are American automakers, and Toyota & Honda are not. That is undertandable. So right now her head is spinning, so I am waiting for her to regain consciousness. It is a shocker, when you have that “American-bubble” burst like that. It would be so easy and wonderful to believe that those are American cars, and what once was from Japan is Japanese, and what was known as German to come from Germany, etc. Read on, I found alot of great info and links.. enjoy!

So what does “Made in America” mean anyhow? It obviously is not the name plate. has a nice list and explanation/clarification on the confusion. They looked at cars that contained at least 75% domestic parts, and assembled in the US.  So what are the top two cars, that are the most American? The Toyota Camry & Honda Accord. Ford follows in being American, so not only were the only one of the “big-3” that did not jump on the bail-out-wagon, they also really are American, well almost as much as Honda & Toyota are.

The Examiner offers another article about what “American” cars are not “Made in America”…

Hecho en Mexico:

  • Cadillac Escalade EXT
  • 2010 Cadillac SRX
  • Chevrolet Avalanche
  • Chevrolet HHR
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Chrysler PT Cruiser
  • Dodge Journey
  • Dodge Ram (heavy-duty versions)
  • Ford Fusion and Fusion Hybrid
  • GMC Sierra Crew Cab
  • Honda CR-V
  • Lincoln MKZ
  • Mercury Milan and Milan Hybrid

The examiner then refers to the NewYork Times for what is “Made in America.” You can click on a manufacturer, then select a model and see what American plant it is assembled in, where the transmission & engine is made, and if the plant is unionized. The associated article titled “For Baffled Buyers, Guide to cars made in North America“, they further explain that the sticker on the car window does not account for where a vehicle was assembled, just where the most expensive part was made. Add that “domestic content” includes parts made in Canada.

Reporting the origin of the engine and transmission is also tricky. Take Honda’s engine plant in Anna, Ohio. Although the engine of the Acura RDX is made there, Japan is listed as the country of origin. That is because one expensive part, the turbocharger, is imported from Japan (and installed by Ohio workers).

Another site American Made Yes, includes a link to a pdf file from the NHTSA that lists percent of domestic parts, and if assembled in US/Canada or outside the US/Canada . Highlighting a couple of cars my friend was pondering, and a couple other vehicles…

  • Chevy HHR 37% & NOT US assembled.
  • Ford Escape 65% & is US assembled.
  • Chevy Suburban 65% & is US assembled
  • Honda Element 65% & is US assembled
  • Toyota Highlander 70% & NOT US assembled.

 AOL has an article, Is your car really American ?

Made In U.S.A. (Partly) For example, while Jeep’s Patriot may be built in Belvedere, Ill., its transmissions originate in Mexico, Japan and Germany. Similarly Ford’s Michigan-assembled Mustang may be as American as mom, Marines, and apple pie, but its transmissions come from China, France, the U.K., and Mexico. Chrysler’s PT Cruiser isn’t even built-in the U.S. – it’s assembled in Toluca, Mexico, though its transmission is U.S.-sourced. GM, meanwhile, builds its Chevy Camaro in Canada and its GMC Sierra pickup in Mexico.

So if you want to buy “American” (car that is), go to your local Toyota or Honda dealer.


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