Americans love automobiles, and more specifically, American-made automobiles. The automobile has long been a symbol of American innovation, perseverance, and freedom. Not only do Americans love American-made vehicles because of their uniqueness, many Americans prefer an American-made car because it benefits the country as a whole. A Harris Poll found that “Eighty-seven percent said it’s important or very important to buy American-made cars to ‘support American companies.’ And 76 percent said they buy American because of ‘patriotism.’” Despite the pledged support for American-made vehicles, consumers purchased more than twice the amount of imported light-duty cars than domestic in 2015. Despite this trend, buying an American made vehicle remains vitally important.
If Americans want to purchase American-made products and support American companies, why are so many purchasing imported light-duty cars? A closer look at the data shows that American trucks routinely sell much better than imported trucks. It is possible that Americans are avoiding smaller vehicles because of the perception that imported light-duty vehicles are cheaper and better on gas than imports. A closer look, however, shows that perception to be inaccurate.
There has long existed a notion that American-made cars are more expensive, less efficient, and less reliable. However, in recent years, a reversal has occurred, and American vehicles are often superior in these categories when compared to their imported counterparts. Additionally, American-made vehicles often offer unique styling that imported vehicles cannot replicate. According to JD Power “Not only are American car companies building higher-quality cars, the cars they are building are more stylish, more rewarding to drive, and contain more technology than many consumers give them credit for.”
Not only do the vehicles themselves offer pronounced advantages, but the effects of buying American-made vehicles have much larger consequences. The New York Times believes that buying American-made products can save the United States’ economy. “It is not only possible for manufacturing to lead the recovery of the U.S. with growth and hiring, it is a necessity. To help achieve a sustained economic recovery, our country needs a consumer-led commitment to buying American-made products, which supports American manufacturing jobs and employment.” Approximately 4.5 percent of all American jobs are supported by the automotive industry, and a commitment to American-made vehicles can help create even more jobs.
It is clear that Americans want to buy and drive American-made cars. Surveys have shown that Americans prefer to purchase American-made products, even if they are more expensive. One reason Americans may not be buying American-made vehicles is a preconceived notion that light-duty imports are more affordable, efficient, and reliable. However, the opposite is often true. Additionally, buying American-made cars can make a significant impact in improving the economy. When Americans are considering their next vehicle purchase, “American-made” should be a top priority.