It is often said that with age comes wisdom. If this adage is accepted as true, Baby Boomers in the United States are a valuable repository of wisdom. In terms of automobiles, the Baby Boomer generation has seen it all. From gas guzzling monsters that resemble tanks to gas sippers that are not much bigger than a go-cart, Baby Boomers have seen just about every trend imaginable. If you were to ask Baby Boomers what is important to them in a vehicle, some answers might surprise you. In a recent poll, Baby Boomers indicated that they care deeply about American-made cars.
An Experian national study found that “91% of respondents told us that they are open to buying an American-made car.” The reasons Baby Boomers love American cars has nothing to do with blind patriotism or a sense of nationalism. On the contrary, Boomers want American cars because of their vast improvement over the years. American cars, once looked at as pitifully inefficient and unreliable, have immeasurably improved in quality.
The improvement of American vehicles is not the only attribute that makes them attractive to car buyers, however. In an article entitled “Why you should buy an American car,” Yahoo Finance identifies several distinct advantages offered by American vehicles. First, American-made vehicles offer unique styling that cannot be found with imported vehicles. Additionally, American-made vehicles are often less expensive and more fuel-efficient than imports. According to Yahoo Finance, “American carmakers have realized that large, expensive gas-guzzlers were no longer the way to win the hearts (and pocketbooks) of average Americans.”
Unfortunately for Baby Boomers, as well as all Americans, the roster of American-made vehicles has gradually become smaller. It is difficult to define what makes an “American” car… well, American. Cars.com has introduced an American Made Index (AMI) which is “based on where parts are manufactured (a vehicle must be made of at least 75% U.S. parts to even make the list), where the vehicle is built, and what percentage of the vehicles’ sales are U.S.-based, among other factors.” In 2011, dozens of vehicles qualified for the AMI. In 2016, only 8 vehicles fit the criteria. American-made vehicles are becoming rarer each year.
While Baby Boomers are perhaps the most bullish generation on buying American-made cars, they are by no means the only group. A Harris Poll recently found that 87% of all Americans said “it’s important or very important to buy American-made cars to support American companies.” The benefits of buying an American-made vehicle are vast and include affordability, fuel efficiency, and quality. To ensure that the number of American-made vehicles grows instead of shrinks, it will require that American manufacturers continue to create high-quality and innovative products and that American consumers commit to purchase those American-made products.