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Buying American Cars What Does It Mean?

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,990
    lots of parttime workers. How does that fit with the stated policy of keeping trained workers

    My guess is that if they are laid off, lots will move out here to Boise where we're still building houses like crazy. :shades:

    I like the way you picked up on knowledgeable management so fast. ;)

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  • I've been new car shopping for several weeks now and lately came to realize that my previous "American" vehicle was actually assembled in Canada. Now I hear that one of my American brand new car choices is assembled in Mexico and has an ENTIRE POWERTRAIN that is from other countries! I want my money to go to our economy. Who knows a website or database that tracks where all new cars are assembled AND where the major parts come from??
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    the only vehicles produced in America anymore are built by them darn foreign companies.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,676
    While I appreciate your comment, I never implied that current management deserves tens of millions for simply stemming losses or running a company into the ground, a la the prior mgmt of Delta Airlines...they do NOT deserve golden parachutes, but rather lead anchors attached to their ankles...

    As far as the jobs bank, the problem is the union contract which the Big 3 foolishly signed onto...basically, if you were hired to install wheels on the left side, they cannot make you install wheels on the right side...VERY strict definition of job description, came back to bite automakers hard...

    Japanese saw stupid handwriting on the wall, and they hire you to work for Toyota, Honda, doing whatever they need you to do...today, install wheels, tomorrow, install windshields...simple matter of cross training so they can place you where they need you...plus, one would expect that the worker is better utilized from a mental state simply because monotony is reduced, if not eliminated...

    The unions are so crooked, when they finally breathe their last gasp, they won't just be buried, they will have to be screwed into the ground...
  • Not entirely true... I know for a fact that my first new car choice (chevy malibu maxx) is assembled in Kansas City, MO, by GM. I visited a site a few weeks back that actually gave a percentage value of how American a car really was. I remember the Ford Fusion being fairly low percentage American and my first choice (malibu maxx) being almost 90% American, which was very reassuring. However, I haven't been able to relocate the website, nor have I been able to find comparable information on the "information super-highway"... someone must know where to get this information!!!
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,990
    Here's one chart. (USA Today)

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  • THAT'S the chart that I originally saw! Thanks for leading me to it again. Any others that describe in more detail which exact parts are from different countries?
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    Interesting, but note the bias built into the table - Why is Canada no differentiated from USA products? How is Canada more "domestic" than Mexico? Could there be some UAW influence here?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,990
    note the bias built into the table

    That's your tax dollars at work (1992 American Automobile Labeling Act).

    Most people either don't care or aren't aware of the labels. There's more here. (NHTSA)

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  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    I was being facetious.
  • LOL, sorry. I once was speaking with a gentleman who considered his Mazda an American vehicle because it was assembled in the US... After a brief discussion on the cost of engineering, R&D, part production, and other factors- as compared to the cost of assembly- his mind was changed. Also keep seeing these Toyota commercials for their "American" trucks which are, again, only assembled here.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    I once was speaking with a gentleman who considered his Mazda an American vehicle because it was assembled in the US... After a brief discussion on the cost of engineering, R&D, part production, and other factors- as compared to the cost of assembly- his mind was changed.

    Funny, I was under the impression that company profits go to shareholders, and the biggest individual shareholder is that blue oval place in Dearborn, MI. :confuse: They even offer the Ford discount.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,676
    wrong, but assembly of the vehicle is still a major step in production, and having the assembly plant here employs American workers, plus the added jobs of the suppliers who locate around the main assembly plant...

    It may not ALL be American, but having an import assembly plant does add economic value to a region that only has farming as its primary industry...
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,193
    If I bought a Chinese-made bicycle at Wal-Mart and went home and assembled it, could I then claim the bicycle was "Made in the USA?"
  • louisweilouiswei Posts: 3,717
    If you employed YOU to assemble the bike and paid tax, yup, you can.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,301
    >If I bought a Chinese-made bicycle at Wal-Mart and went home and assembled it, could I then claim the bicycle was "Made in the USA?"

    Heard a guy comment that the head of (defunct) Huffy bicycle company said they started manufacturing in China because people wouldn't pay $2 more for a Huffy bike made in the US at Walmart.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    I suspect that "people wouldn't pay" is code for WALMART wouldn't pay.
  • 1stpik1stpik Posts: 495
    "people wouldn't pay" is similar code to "jobs americans won't do." It's a lie.

    As for foreign vs. domestic % of cars, read carefully. Automobile sales stickers generally list the percentage of foreign and domestic parts, plus where the "final assembly point" is located.

    But the Detroit three LOVE to say things such as '90% of our cars are built in North America,' because they know that 90% of people have forgotten their high school geography -- Mexico is part of North America!

    BTW, isn't it ironic that US automakers spent the 80s and 90s moving their factories to foreign countries, while Honda and Toyota spent the same time building factories in the US? Now Ford and GM teeter on the verge of bankruptcy, and Daimler is dropping Chrysler like a bad habit, while Toyota and Honda continue to produce superior products and sell them in superior numbers, even at higher prices than "domestic" cars!
  • I'm not trying to completely discount the fact that, yes, Americans are making the money from assembly plants here. However, assembly isn't what it used to be. The days of a factory full of American laborers producing all aspects of a car are long gone. Now it's mostly machines and robotic welders that piece the cars together, with actual working humans only where absolutely necessary. While these workers do earn money and pay taxes, this division of vehicle production has to be the least beneficial for our economy. I'd be willing to bet that every engineer and researcher that had a hand in the same car (or company) makes 5x more money than the laborer at the assembly plant. Also, the main components of the vehicle are a large part of the cost. You can't get an engine and transmission for pennies. My concern with my new car purchase is that a good portion of my thousands of dollars go directly to the American economy; whether it be the laborer in KC, MO who builds it, the company that built my engine and transmission, or the guy who makes $200,000 a year that helped design and develop it.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    >If I bought a Chinese-made bicycle at Wal-Mart and went home and assembled it, could I then claim the bicycle was "Made in the USA?"

    Heard a guy comment that the head of (defunct) Huffy bicycle company said they started manufacturing in China because people wouldn't pay $2 more for a Huffy bike made in the US at Walmart.

    Anyone that buys a bicycle at Wal-Mart deserves exactly what they get. ;)
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,364
    Oh, ain't that the truth! My oldest daughter's first bike was a Barbie special from Wal Mart about 13 years ago. By the first time my second daughter rode it the fork broke from metal fatigue. I went to a bike shop and bought her a Trek.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    Oh, ain't that the truth! My oldest daughter's first bike was a Barbie special from Wal Mart about 13 years ago. By the first time my second daughter rode it the fork broke from metal fatigue. I went to a bike shop and bought her a Trek.

    Good man, that will last through several more kids and be easier for them to ride to boot.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,364
    Yeah, I'm starting the last two on it now. Since there's two I'll have to get another but it will no doubt still be about for yet another generation.

    The oldest now has a Mongoose that was bought before they started heading south and the next has a Trek. So do I.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Hey now, I bought a bike at Wal-mart. It's perfectly good for leisurely rolling around the neighborhood, which is all I expect of it.
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    Hey now, I bought a bike at Wal-mart. It's perfectly good for leisurely rolling around the neighborhood, which is all I expect of it.

    Yes yes, and a Chevette is perfectly good for getting to work and back :P
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,364
    When the fork breaks and dumps you on the street don't say I didn't warn you......

    My daughter escaped with minor damage. Always wear your helmet - especially on a Wal Mart bike....
  • The Chinese will have to go thru the same learning curve as Ford did when it introduced it's first (successful???) compact - The Mustang (or Falcon if you like). The Mustang was a lowly re-skinned Falcon. I purchased a 66 that was 2 years old and the POS fell apart piece by piece. Ford offered me 200.00 on trade in for a 302 V-8 Maverick. With only 66k mile thats all the junk was worth. I took it. The Maverick was a better car. Man, that 302 had some punch. I used to catch big Caddies going up a grade and just blow their proverbial doors off, much to their astonishment.
  • marsha7marsha7 Posts: 3,676
    I hate to beat a dead horse, but the Big 3 moved plants solely, or almost solely, to avoid the silly work rules of the UAW, plain and simple...

    The Japanese have built plants here, make a quality product, and, I believe, built ALL of their plants in nonunion territory (except for Honda in Marysville OH, whcih I think is still nonunion, 20 years later)...

    If the Big 3 could dump the UAW, I think they would build here tomorrow...

    Maybe I am paranoid, but I do believe that the UAW is a greater detrimental influence than most imagine, because, aside from the union, the Japanese plants live under all the OSHA, EPA, rules, but their labor costs are not governed by a union contract, and, they can fire lousy workers at will...

    Drunk/stoned/lousy UAW workers will stay on the line, making junk product, almost 2 years before union appeals and grievance hearings force them fired and off the line...this is all the union is good for, and it has damaged the USA automakers...

    The union, IMO, is the only variable that explains why Big 3 are leaving the US, and Japanese/Korean are building here like mad...

    I look forward to the day when classes on ancient history include the Roman Empire, the Dark Ages, and the union movement in the USA...
  • robertsmxrobertsmx Posts: 5,525
    UAW may be partly responsible for big 3 woes, but they are not the end of it. Poor product planning and lack of initiatives to improve (more flexible) production lines are just a couple of examples of big 3 decision makers have brought to the plate. What the 3 are doing isn't just to escape UAW, but to take advantage of something the rest of the business world is enamored with... outsourcing. Labor is cheaper elsewhere, and importing products (regardless of the location of the headquarters) hasn't been subjected to tariffs. It is called, cutting costs.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,990
    Not quite all. Toyota has a JV with GM in Fremont CA. The factory is union and makes the Corolla, Vibe and Tacoma. Toyota is also in Indiana, which I always considered to be a "union" state.

    The http://www.uaw.org/uawmade/auto/2007/index.cfm has a handy list of what they consider to be union made vehicles.

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