By on July 27, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry Georgetown Kentucky assembly plant - Image: ToyotaAmericans who take possession of a new Jaguar E-Pace can check their VIN to see that the subcompact luxury crossover was assembled in Austria. Each of the 36,813 Buick Envisions sold in the United States through June were imported from China. The Ford Fusion comes from Hermosillo, Mexico; the Honda Accord comes from Marysville, Ohio.

BMW builds SUVs in South Carolina. Mercedes-Benz builds cars and SUVs in Alabama. Volkswagen builds the Atlas and Passat in Tennessee. The Toyota Camry is built in Kentucky, although there’ll be a handful of new 2018 models coming all the way from Japan.

The global automotive market has spoken. “A lot of consumers have no idea where their cars are built,” Renault’s Francois Mariotte tells AutoExpress. Perhaps there are customers who struggle with the notion of German cars being assembled in Mexico, for example, but as Renault’s Mariotte says: “The quality of the car is never determined by the country it’s built in. It’s determined by the processes we put into the factory.”

But do you care where your next new vehicle is assembled?

BMW SAV assembly plant South Carolina - Image: BMWIt’s a reasonable question. If you’re building a new home, you want to know more about the builder’s reputation. If you’re compiling an Olympic basketball team, you need to see proof of citizenship. People certainly like to know if their gourmet burger’s beef is local or not.

So when it comes to cars, do you need your Volvo hails from Sweden, or is a South Carolina facility worthy? Would you choose the Audi Q7 over the BMW X5 in order to get the full European experience, even though the Q7 is built in Slovakia, not Germany? Is the Chevrolet Camaro more appealing to you now that it’s assembled in Michigan, instead of Canada?

Do you care where your car is built?

[Images: Toyota, BMW]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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120 Comments on “QOTD: Do You Care Where Your Car Is Built?...”


  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    Not really. As I say to the “buy American” crowd, where your car is assembled and what country it’s parts came from are totally different things.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      I like to consider how many line workers are employed where a car is built. The VW is built in TN? Good. Honda built in AL or OH? Good. Built in some overseas place? Not as good.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    I do, but not in a nationalistic sense, but in an enthusiast sense of just knowing where it came from.

    So far for cars my wife and I have owned:
    4 cars from Suzuka, Japan
    1 car from Kanda, Japan
    2 cars from Hiroshima, Japan
    1 car from Lordstown, Ohio
    1 car from Flat Rock, Michigan
    1 car from Guanajuato, Mexico

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    I believe it more an issue of which assembly plant does the final build, not what country. The on-site management/labor culture has more to do with build quality than the country of build.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      This. I don’t care in general, but there are cases where looking for or avoiding a particular site is worthwhile.

      I specifically searched for a OBD2, J-VIN T100 since I wanted to avoid the junky rust-prone frames on the US-built versions. Even within Japan, the AP1 S2000s were built to a slightly higher finish, as they were assembled in the same factory as the 1st-gen NSX and Insight.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Exactly this. The plant is critical.

        I know several folks that have worked in the Mercedes plant in Ala, let’s just say I won’t be buying a GL anytime soon.

        • 0 avatar
          vwgolf420

          Ha! I feel the same way. My cousin works on the line at that plant too. She was working on the C Class line last time I asked. I would never buy one for that reason.

        • 0 avatar
          Sceptic

          Are there still issues with Alabama built Mercedes even after 20 years? Remember that the initial production 1998 ML had a lot of problems.

          For me as a consumer it is important to know the country of origin of vehicle and its parts. It is one of the factors in car purchase. Especially important for the premium products. I did not have any problem with my E-class being assembled by Magna-Steyr in Graz, Austria.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Generally it’s nice to know, but I do take some exceptions. I will never buy a car manufactured in China, and I’ll always hold a Japanese car built in Japan to a higher standard of quality/regard it as preferable in a case like the Camry where it could come from more than one point of assembly.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      Same. I avoid Chinese-made junk parts, so why would I buy a car made there? My Tacoma was built in San Antonio, and it’s great, but I really prefer Japan-built Japanese cars.

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      Never is a really long time, I’d already rather buy a GM vehicle made in China over a US assembled GM vehicle since GMs overseas plants have much better quality control measures than their UAW meddled with US plants. I used to live right by a UAW engine assembly plant and knew some of the workers there…they were not people I trust building anything I buy, they would actively BRAG about how lazy they were and how they only had to do maybe 30 minutes of work to collect a whole days pay. They were pretty awful people outside of work too, one guy had his girlfriends come by to visit him when he got sick in the hospital…this dude was married. GM’s US built cars use a lot of the same Chinese parts anyways so you’re not really getting better quality avoiding the Chinese built versions, it’s likely the opposite.

      And for the new 2018 Camry the main reason to avoid the J code VINs is that they’re importing very few of them, so you’re going to get stuck with a Camry that doesn’t use standard US Camry parts which will be a massive headache down the road. There’s not much difference in the stuff that keeps them reliable anyways, my old mentor’s J vin Camry had the head bolt issue common on gen 5 Camrys while mine didn’t and he had the J vin while I had the Kentucky. Both motors were from Japan at the end of the day.

      At the end of the day the cars I’ve owned have been built in the U.K., US, Germany and US again but I’d buy a Chinese built vehicle as long as its from a decent car company.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “so you’re going to get stuck with a Camry that doesn’t use standard US Camry parts which will be a massive headache down the road.”

        FYI, this is almost entirely nonsense.

        • 0 avatar
          bumpy ii

          Yeah, for USDM Camries, parts is parts these days. Every once in a while, there will be some incompatibilities that creep in, though. Fun fact: side mirrors from a J-VIN B13 Sentra won’t fit into the doors on a US-built B13. The mounting peg for the interior trim piece is at a slightly different angle.

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      I’m a trumpet player who also flips them for profit, so I have a lot of trumpets pass through my hands.

      By default, I avoid anything made in China without a prominent brand name attached to it. It’s not so much that it’s being made in China, but that it’s being made in China with no brand oversight. Yamaha makes some student horns in China, but those horns are essentially identical to those made in Japan because Yamaha maintains the level of oversight necessary to protect their brand. Still, Chinese factories have been learning from Japanese, German, and American companies, and I happen to have an Allora flugelhorn from China that is a pretty darn good copy of Yamaha’s. The build quality and sound are great, and it’s because that factory has started building the same horn for other companies under those brand names and it made sense for them to just cut corners in some other areas to squeak out some profit (the case is pretty lousy) while making the same product under their own name to keep the factory busy.

      India is rather farther behind. While I’ve been told that Boosey & Hawkes was able to get their Indian factory to produce some solid student-level brass in the last decade, I haven’t seen anything in the states other than Nadir Ali garbage that’s barely playable at best. China was at that point 10 years ago… they didn’t have the knowledge or experience. We’ll see if India learns.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        yep. you can get quality stuff made in China, but

        1) you have to watch the factory like a hawk, and
        2) it ain’t all that much cheaper than making it elsewhere.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    Yes. I prefer them to be built in the NAFTA region. Their assembly-line workers are least likely to put up with stupid assembly-disassembly issues.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    Yes:
    1) made in USA; BUT
    2) not by illegally bailed out company and
    3) prefer non-UAW. That leaves numerous “transplants”

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “not by illegally bailed out company”

      oh piss off.

      • 0 avatar
        cicero1

        9-0 US Sup. Court ruled the Chrysler bailout was illegal, but they had no remedy to grant. The “bailout” was illegal theft of billions owed to bond holders – most of whom were pension funds. The government and their preferred group illegally ignored bankruptcy law. Precedent is set – if the government decides it needs to take your retirement savings maybe then you will care about the rule of law.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ


          9-0 US Sup. Court ruled the Chrysler bailout was illegal,”

          they did no such thing, you liar. They denied cert to an appeal from the Second Circuit in a case brought by a pension fund seeking to block the sale to Fiat. They didn’t even *hear* a case related to the bailout. They made no ruling at all.

          if you have to make s**t up to try to support your point, you have no point.

          it’s depressing how many people claiming things are “illegal” or “unconstitutional” haven’t the faintest clue what the law or the Constitution says. they (like you) just believe “I think it’s wrong, so it’s illegal. and this right-wing blog agrees with me.”

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      @cicro,
      This is how lack of knowledge gets passed off as real knowledge.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I don’t think it really matters where a vehicle is assembled, or even where the content is from.

    I do know you have many whining about Chinese product, but yet a huge portion of the global motor industry’s components come out of China.

    My pickup is made in Thailand, and guess what, Chinese workers are paid more.

    To the “buy Aussie or ‘Murican” crowd. The more people spend on products that are better off being imported the better the economy and your standard of living is.

    If all bought only Aussie manufactured goods, my standard of living would be that of a person in China.

    That’s why I find it odd that many countries view Mexico, China as a competitor. Why do we want to compete with them?

    The Germans are. But the Germans have spent a lot of time creating a great vehicle industry, whereas countries like the US and Australia built cheap and cheerful crap, which really weren’t great export products.

    And now we complain that we must compete against cheap and cheerful developing nations.

    Buy what suits your needs and wants, who really cares who screwed the doors on. Do you worry about your TV, Fridge, Smartphone and on and on.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Until it’s your friend, neighbor or family member that is out of a job.

      Yes, it matters to me and I am unapologetic for that. I realize that not all content of a vehicle comes from America, but I attempt to buy as much US-contented product as I can. $300 Billion (plus) going to a country annually that is neither friend or ally certainly doesn’t make me feel any better, either.

      It ain’t hip to be square, but I’ll live with it.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        Are all your friends car assembly workers? Have you considered that it’d be a better use of resources for the US to develop more jobs in higher yield fields then trying to chase manufacturing of lower tech products? Do you realize that US companies with significant workforces abroad like Google or Microsoft or Apple still bring a lot of economic benefits to the US even if they’re not doing their electronics manufacturing here?! If you really think chasing low margin labor jobs is the only way for people to have jobs and a decent economy then y your logic we should try to chase all the low paying clothes manufacturing jobs that are now in Bangladesh, right? I remember US based sweatshops before they outsourced all clothing manufacturing and they were shitty and cramped dumps with no AC (my mother worked in one and I went with her to work as a child since she obviously couldn’t afford daycare being paid $3 an hour)l. Why don’t you set the example and go make clothes for minimum wage to bring clothing manufacturing back to the US then? It’s probably because you have better alternatives, so why are you so insistent we bring back lousy jobs from third world countries? It’s silly nonsense. Even the Chinese no longer want those jobs but you’re chasing them, it’s insane. See how China has banned new car production plants entirely?!

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “Are all your friends car assembly workers?”

          do they have to be?

          ‘cos there’s a long “chain” of jobs tied to the assembly workers. There’s people who work for the suppliers shipping parts for the “car assembly workers” to put together, there’s people who work for the suppliers to the suppliers (and so on,) there’s the vendors who sell consumables (office supplies etc.) to the assembly plants, suppliers, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Do you suppose that it’s easier to become a friend and ally with a county when you have developed billions of dollars in mutually-beneficial trade with them?

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        threer,
        Yes, they might lose their job, but the job was worth losing as it was not of value to the country. If the job were of value there job would remain.

        So, their loss is another’s gain somewhere else in the country.

        The money saved in purchasing imports is spent on other economic nation builder.

        I’ve mentioned this before. Australia has lost it’s auto manufacturing industry. I has had no effect on the economy. Our economy has expanded because of this and the money saved creates employment. Even our umemployment rate has dropped AND full time jobs are on the increase.

        Remember, every cent the government takes from you costs to manage. The additional money you spend unnecessarily on say a local motor vehicle, when you could of saved thousands is money you are not spending locally.

        The other side of the coin is, the more countries that can increase their standard of living translates into more jobs outside of their country as they have more to spend. Sort of like a town. Look at a powerhouse town in West Virgina, then compare it to say Redmond in WA.

        Which town offers the best chances of work? The world is the same. The wealthier countries can become the more work and money their is, for all.

  • avatar

    I prefer to buy made in USA. Last new car I bought was a 2012 Avenger R/T.
    I even looked at content.
    My first stop was Ford…too many built elsewhere.

    So went back to the Avenger.

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      I agree. My new Lacrosse was built in Detroit, according to a sticker on the door frame. Most of my other vehicles of late have been built in Canada. One exception is my 2009 Silverado made in Mexico.

      I can’t foresee ever buying a car made in China. I try to avoid Chinese auto parts as much as possible. Chinese oil and transmission filters are now entering the US market.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I was saddened when I saw the Denso filters for both my wife’s Camry (cartridge filter) and the spin on unit for my 4Runner were Chinese. On the bright side (and quite surprisingly), the Motorcraft FL1A for my Lima Ranger was made in USA!

        • 0 avatar
          xtoyota

          Oil filter for 2017 Honda CRV…made in USA
          CRV built in Ohio

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            They’re starting to build CRVs just south of me in Greensburg. Between that and the Civics, and the Toyota Siennas/Highlanders in Princeton, and Subarus in Lafayette, and GM trucks in Fort Wayne (full of Chinese components unfortunately), I’ve got a lot of good options if I stay strictly very local in my purchasing decisions. Honda and Subaru have both been pretty consistently expanding their footprint, adding lines, more suppliers setting up shop, etc. A refreshing change from the pattern of companies leaving for Mexico (Carrier, Rexnord).

    • 0 avatar
      tekdemon

      I’m pretty sure you just scared everyone off from buying made in the USA with this Avenger story lol

  • avatar
    zip89123

    I use to care. Now I care only about a vehicle I can package the way I want it at the price I want to pay.

    For example: I don’t want to buy a 2018 Camry with a V6 just to get NAV.

    I would buy a 2017 Ford Fusion because the sunroof is optional, I can get the biggest motor if I want it & NAV without buying the most expensive model.

  • avatar
    Shawnski

    It’s of interest to me, but typically does not influence the decision as much as design, features etc. There is no doubt though that Toyota keeps their KY employees well fed.

  • avatar
    mikey

    For me ? I don’t care if its Canada, or the USA, as long as the vehicle includes a UNIFOR, UAW or CAW sticker.

  • avatar
    65corvair

    I’d prefer it made in the U.S.A. The company who makes it is the most important factor in if the car is good or not. My Ford Fiesta was made in Mexico. Build quality was flawless, but the car was crap. Most unreliable car I ever owned. I will not buy a German brand or a car made in China. It all is determined my the upper management of the car company if a car is good or not.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I like knowing I’ve bought a car built in Canada, but for affordable stuff, that doesn’t leave much outside of the Civic and Corolla. But the only time it’s been a concern was when I bought my last car – I would’ve considered a Honda Fit, but for 2014, we were getting Chinese-built units, which is something I’m just not quite ready for.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    In the course of owning a 1971 Bavaria I did a number of DIY jobs and found every single part I ever took off said made in West Germany. Today there isn’t a manufacturer in the world that doesn’t source a large portion of its parts from a wide variety of countries, so where the car is assembled means next to nothing in terms of quality or the economy. From a policy perspective, what makes sense is to make sure your country offers an enticing environment for making a profit from manufacturing. If you want to drive away manufacturing jobs just make sure to offer the following: high corporate taxes, complicated tax codes, poorly educated work forces, high minimum wages, severe restrictions on firing workers for cause or economic slowdown, restrictions on imports and exports including currency and components, expensive and ineffective environmental mandates, expensive taxes on energy, crazy liability laws, weak property rights, and unstable currency and interest rates. Unfortunately the US currently “offers” too many of these things.

    • 0 avatar
      volvo

      Stingray65

      Agree with your manufacturing killing assessment. The only thing I would change is I would describe it as a poorly trained workforce rather than a poorly educated workforce although we have both.

      Lots of misused talents with the current need to have a bachelor’s or masters degree just to get your job application past the computerized screening process.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        I agree completely – although I did not intend “education” to only mean university degrees but also vocational training. There are so many good jobs available for people with training and skill in welding and metal working, robotics and coding, construction, etc. that don’t require any university degree, but increasingly require good vocational training and/or apprenticeship programs, but the US and many other western countries continue to push more young people into the university system where too many end up with lots of debt and a grievance and whining degree (i.e. most of the social sciences and humanities majors). As for firms using degrees as a screening variable – the problem is its mostly against the law to use IQ or aptitude tests as screening devices, so firms use college degrees as a very expensive and in many cases wasteful substitute.

    • 0 avatar
      Sceptic

      I lusted after a BMW Bavaria when I was a young kid in the 80’s. They were simply beautifully made.

  • avatar
    Vega

    There is not a single person in these pictures that is not obese. Really disturbing.

    • 0 avatar
      bonehealing

      You’ve conducted some sort of physical assessment and body fat test on all of them?

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        There’s not much assessment needed there, that is beyond the “overweight” category for sure. A sign of the times I guess, take a look at a photo of the factory floor back in the 30s-60s, this was almost unheard of.

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          Just a thought here..The people in the photos are probably older employees. End of line jobs are generally involve inspection, with a little finese operations thrown in…Not a whole lot of physical movement. The girl with the cloth ? No way does she have a regular job on a flat top. Cars can roll and move on a flat top safety shoes are a requirement.

          Working on a regular assembly job, means a lot of twisting, turning, bending. In the modern assembly operation, workers learn 4-5 different jobs, and rotate every 2 hours. This practise minimizes repetitive work related injuries…As a side benefit an assembler burns a lot of calories.

          These days with the elimination of “non valued work”, people will spend 30 + years on the assembly line….These folks do not retire fat,

  • avatar
    SearMizok

    I try to stick to US made, preferably Ohio made, but, it’s difficult now-a-days.

    The only one I know for sure was off-the-boat from Japan was my Mazda CX-5. I’ve had a couple Ohio made Hondas, a couple Lordstown Chevy Cruzes.

    The only black listed one at the moment is probably the Chinese made Buick Envision, that just doesn’t seem right.

    But, yes, I prefer VINs that start with a 1, 4 or 5.

  • avatar
    cognoscenti

    Paging tresmonos. Tres, you out there? His is the opinion that I most want to hear.

    As for me? Hmm… Well, I once built Ford Mustang Convertibles as an assembler (UAW 4077). I’ve also worked as an IT professional for each of the Big Three. I’ve had company cars and personal cars. I’ve bought multiple vehicles over the years with my own money from US, German, and Japanese-based companies. I even bought a specific car for my wife once because I demanded that she have Honda reliability and she demanded UAW labor (in 2004, that meant a Saturn Vue V6 AWD with a Honda drivetrain assembled in Springhill, Tennessee by UAW auto workers). Currently, I drive an E90 BMW M3 that was assembled in Germany. Despite all of this, I ultimately care about only two things:
    1. Vehicle assembly quality; and
    2. Quality of life of the worker, i.e. human rights issues and pollution.
    Where the vehicle is built only becomes important when these two requirements are not both met. Since the auto industry is now truly global, we are all interdependent and where the money flows from and to is no longer a key criteria. To quote Friedman, “The world is flat.”

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “Since the auto industry is now truly global, we are all interdependent and where the money flows from and to is no longer a key criteria”

      I wonder how long this magnanimity towards American livelihoods would last if whatever industry that it is that pays your grocery bills began “flowing” to India and China instead.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        As he said he was both an auto assembler and an IT professional I think he probably has some familiarity with jobs that are impacted by foreign competition.

  • avatar
    sco

    I’m probably irrational about this but if I buy a Japanese car I’d prefer it was built in Japan. Similarly if I buy a Buick I’d rather it be built in the US.

  • avatar

    Absolutely 100%. Aside from the fact that it’s a competent small car, it’s one of the main reasons I chose my Michigan-built Chevy Sonic. The dealer even had several Trax’s available at a lower price and tried to push me into one, but my goal was to buy American assembled.

    As we’ve all discussed in the past, there’s a fine line as to what is American. To me, it’s about the most jobs provided for the average American worker, and not so much the badge. So I’d rather buy an Alabama built Hyundai than a Korean made GM, or Mexican made Ford. Sure, the profits would ultimately go to Korea, but at least those profits ultimately provide food on the table and a roof over the heads of American workers.

    I used to not care so much, but several factors made me change my mind:

    – Seeing the Australian automobile industry die off and the huge amount of workers lose jobs partially due to labor being cheaper elsewhere in the world, plus the demise of a once “Buy Australian” mentality from decades ago. Entire communities depended on the industry will be withering

    – Dating my now-husband from Ohio and meeting so many people who are involved with automobile manufacturing. Like Australia, entire towns and their livelihoods depend on the industry

    So from here on, it’s only American (or Australian) made cars

    • 0 avatar
      eggsalad

      I too have a Sonic. Look at the sticker on the door jamb. It doesn’t say it was “made” in Michigan, it says it was “assembled” there. Of the several parts and assemblies I’ve already had to replace, each one of them had a “Made in China” sticker.

  • avatar
    Joebaldheadedgranny

    For fleet buyers, the location of manufacturing is an issue. The fact that Ford’s Transit 250 is assembled in Kansas City gives it a significant advantage over a comparable Ram Promaster 2500 (assembled in Mexico) and an even greater advantage over a Mercedes Sprinter 2500 (built in Germany and then re-assembled in USA.) Order-to-Delivery and ability to coordinate upfit are key considerations, and having all this domestically is often the deciding factor.

    As a retail buyer who sources a vehicle at a local dealer, I guess I’m indifferent. I kind of like it that my F-150 was build domestically, but this didn’t weigh into my buying decision.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Joebaldheadedgranny,
      I will challenge your comment, you obviously are UAW.

      First, I own a Ford badged as a Mazda, in Australia.

      I had an issue with my Mazda and the engineer actually came out to look at my vehicle and made the decision then and there to rectify the problem.

      Other guys at work had the Ford variant (Ranger) with the same problems.

      I asked the Mazda engineer why is it the Ford guys are having problems getting the warranty work done on their pickups.

      The problem is the way in which Ford operates. It is archaic compared to Mazda.

      For a Ford to be fixed first the dealer must sent the information and data to Fishermans Bend (Ford Aust HQ). This is then forwarded to Dearborn. An answer is sent back to Fishermans Bend, then to the dealer.

      Mazda has an engineer who makes the call and documents the problem.

      So, I do believe you are talking nonsense. It is more about how the manufacturer operates, the processes that are in place.

      So, yeah, the Mercedes might be quicker to be fixed than the Transit, even if the Transit is broken down alongside the Kansas City factory.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        what a load of bollocks.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Haaa

        “you obviously are UAW.”
        And that you can infer because he buys American products? I drive an American-built car, my parents last import vehicle was a late 70s Ford Courier (manufactured by Mazda) and before that, a VW Beetle. From the 1980s on, through many new vehicle purchases, they have owned only North American union-built products, mostly Fords.

        This was NOT to support the union, it was simply a choice based on personal preference and how well the vehicle met needs. My dad has never belonged to the UAW, nor has he worked for an automaker or supplier. The only time he was part of a union was when he worked for Boeing in Washington state, where union membership was required. He did so reluctantly, and took part in no union activities he didn’t have to.

        “So, I do believe you are talking nonsense. ”

        Because the way things are in Australia, IT MUST BE THAT WAY EVERYWHERE.

        So, how did I take my parent’s former 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis to a Ford dealer under warranty and have the radio replaced that day? I don’t think anyone had to wait on Dearborn. The radio failed, it was diagnosed by the technician as a failure of the unit itself, a replacement was in stock, they replaced it, all within a few hours.

        The warranty claims are submitted electronically, and when I was a service writer, we very rarely had any callbacks on them. If so, it was usually resolved by getting the technician on the phone to explain his findings and how he reached his conclusion. This was extremely rare.

        Ford sells a huge amount of Transits here, far more than any other competitor. There are suppliers all around the plant and this country that build parts for the Transit. It is not a European import that is thrown together here. Yes, I know the Transit name is from Europe, and it’s a European-style van, but this generation was designed from the start with replacing the American E-Series in mind.

        It has become, by far, the best selling van in the U.S. and it didn’t achieve that volume by being difficult to service, or by waiting on parts and decisions from another continent.

        Ford is not known for taking excessively long to address warranty claims, no more so than any other manufacturer with a few examples of the such in certain circumstances. Its a non-issue you’re attempting to manufacturer to prove your point that American automakers are terrible and you’re smart enough to see it, while we idiots over here can’t.

        In turn, German car makers are superior because they’re German. VW rules the world without a care one, and with a spotless record. Mercedes builds a truck that is so much better than American trucks, it’s afraid to sell it here for fear of embarrassing its competitors.

        So, there’s NO WAY some North American slob is going to compare a German vehicle to a Ford and declare the Ford the winner. No, sir. That’s a BigRobertAlRyan no-no. So, take some wildly unrelated “facts” (from completely different issues, situations, hell even hemispheres) and use them for one purpose: to prove bias as fact, and teach these ignorant North Americans the right way.

        Sprinters have a reputation here as being mechanically finicky and difficult to service, with parts availability also being an issue. You couldn’t have picked a worse example to “prove” your bias with if you tried.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          the big reason Transit took over quickly (aside from the concurrent cancellation of Econoline) is because it’s available from the factory in multiple lengths and roof heights. The only way you could get a higher roof Econoline was to have one go through butchering by an upfitter first. and any time you have someone cutting sheetmetal, you’ve got the opportunity for rust.

          the one thing holding Transit back is that the E-series cutaway/chassis-cab are still on the market and have 40 years of upfitter support behind it.

      • 0 avatar
        Joebaldheadedgranny

        Big Al,
        Rest assured I lost 100% of my investment in GM in 2009 just like all the other common shareholders. I own a Ford, an Acura, and a Kia, and I’ll probably get a used Buick LaCrosse next if only because they are so cheap on the street relative to a new one.

        Let’s say you started a business that required red, high roof cargo vans all over Australia. Those vehicles would need to be acquired, maintained, and repaired, and then sold at some point before they became troublesome. All I am saying is that if a fleet-minded manufacturer actually made those vehicles in Australia, that would be a plus because you could order those red vans to your custom spec and actually have them burning rubber for you three months later.
        Other variables would obviously factor into your decision- incentives, future value, reliability, productivity of drivers, routine interval costs, safety, sustainability, fuel economy, proximity of service facilities, etc. Smart businesses figure this out.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @Joebaldheadedgranny
          Cars have disappeared here, but MDT and especially HDT trucks are made and designed in Australia.,The demand is very strong,.
          Even European models have some Australian input
          Not Japanese though

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I will not park a car from Mexico or China. Right now all 3 my cars are J-built. I had mostly J-built cars. 2 from US, one from Canada. I owned 3-built car for 3 months. Out of all, the US-built were the most problematic.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    I think number 1 criteria for a purchase has to be quality. As a customer if you get burned by bad quality it is tough to go back to the place/company that burned you, regardless of place of origin.

    In 80s and 90s many American companies broke the quality promise. As an owner of Chevy Beretta I got burned. The paint delaminated after 3 years. Everything on the interior broke or dashboard melted, the ECU went crazy and the replacement on 2.8 MPFI never returned the same performance. Yet money and profits went to executives, unions, and stock holders.

    It took many years for me to come back to American vehicles. Everything else being roughly equal from a quality standpoint, I am at a place in life I support American. But many people are barely keeping head above water so I can’t blame them for getting $5 hammers or cheap junk from Korea or China.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      The paint issue IIRC during the 90’s at least was the limit on VOCs forcing manufacturers to use water based paints until they solved the VOC issue. Cars from that era regardless of the manufacturer end up having paint issues. Some more so than others I suspect but I see it all the time – most notably the clear coat delaminating from the pigment.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    From a “quality” standpoint, no I don’t care. Find Culture on a PFMEA.

    Every global manufacturer is very invested in plant-to-plant product and process consistency. Systems and processes are designed to reduce the variation associated with skill-based tasks. The bolt tightening skill of a Chinese, Mexican, German and American worker can be equalized by the tool in their hand and design of the assembly process.

    Knowing where it was built is interesting to know as an enthusiast, but not a deciding factor.

  • avatar
    sutherland555

    I haven’t bought nearly enough cars to make an informed decision on which countries make better cars. I had a made in Canada Civic and now drive a made in Japan Mazda3. I love the Mazda but I have to admit that the build quality on the Civic is still overall better than the Mazda.

    That said, I have a good friend who works for a tier one car parts manufacturer that has had contracts with virtually all the large car companies. Based on what he’s told me, I would base my decision more on the car company than where the car was made.

    For example, Honda vs FCA contracts. Honda enforces strict failure rates for contracted parts and sends out QA inspectors on a regular basis. FCA, on the other hand, never sent out QA inspectors and just took shipment of whatever parts that were deemed acceptable by onsite QA. This is based on a conversation I had with him a few years ago but I doubt much has changed.

  • avatar
    arach

    I do care quite a bit!

    But it doesn’t influence my buying decisions.

    I like to know everything about my cars, including the culture it was built under. I like to know what plants built what pieces.

    I don’t choose a US > non US, but I do CARE in the same way that I care what the torque curve looks like and what the compression ratio is.

    If I’m going to own a car, I want to KNOW my car. Just like if I was dating or marrying a girl I’d want to know where she’s from, and where she lived. Does it mean I won’t marry a girl who was born in Kentucky? No, Its not that I care as in “make a decision based on” but more of I care to understand the culture and the reasons for something’s being.

    I certainly care where my car is built, but it doesn’t influence my purchase decision.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    “The quality of the car is never determined by the country it’s built in. It’s determined by the processes we put into the factory.”

    I just don’t believe that. There’s too much variation in local suppliers, and some are better than others. Specifically, those that have long been integrated into the production process and have worked all the kinks out. As an example, that’s why I’d rather have a Mazda built in Hiroshima than in Salamanca. Not to disparage the Mexican workforce, but Mazda didn’t have any experience building cars in Mexico prior to a few years ago. It takes time to work out the kinks.

    I wouldn’t buy a car from China though, or one that had major components (engine/trans) sourced there. Way too much corner-cutting and “chabuduo” in my experience, unless a foreign company is willing to manage the workforce directly.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      TMA1,
      Local suppliers???

      Most vehicles made (better still assembled) in the US consist of over 70% imported parts.

      Most of these parts are from China and Mexico.

      Where do you think the 2 and 2.3 litre EcoBoost engine come from? Detroit? Try Valencia in Spain.

      Where do you think much of the electrical gear is from? Detroit?

      Have a look at the link and work out what company makes bodies and chassis. Do you think FCA makes the Ram chassis? No. Read the link and look at the auto companies that buy and have their chassis designed by a Mexican company.

      https://www.metalsa.com/productos_clientes.html

    • 0 avatar
      JerseyRon

      When I shopped at a local Mazda dealership looking at a Mazda3, a salesman suggested that it would be better to get one assembled in Japan versus one assembled in Mexico.
      Whether his bias was based on empirical evidence or not I cannnot say.

  • avatar
    Dan

    US made isn’t the be all and end all to me but given a reasonably comparable substitute it’s always going to be my tie breaker.

    America for all of its flaws is me and mine. Asia isn’t.

  • avatar
    Adam Tonge

    I do. My last three new car purchases have been products built in Michigan. All were built at Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI. They will probably build my next new car purchase too. Unless Ford makes the Bronco terrible…

  • avatar
    Stanley Steamer

    For me consideration of place of origin takes into account the day of the week it was assembled. For US and German cars, it should be built between Tuesday and Thursday. For Japanese and Korean, any day of the week is fine. For Mexico any day is fine as long as it’s after siesta.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    FYI there’s an annoying video ad for “Chocolate Groupie” and “Better by the Minute” which forces the page to scroll all the way down and prevents you from scrolling back up.

    might want to be a little choosier about which ad networks you use.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “The quality of the car is never determined by the country it’s built in. It’s determined by the processes we put into the factory.”

    This is true. If your car’s quality depends on assembly locale, its design and its assembly processes are fundamentally weak. SPC goes to heck when you rely on humans to make critical assemblies ‘just right’.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Having worked at a Tier 1 supplier that exclusively worked with Japanese branded manufacturing plants in the US, I will say that I appreciate where a car is assembled much more than where its parent company is headquartered. I also live in a very union heavy, old schooling manufacturing area of the country and we still get some folks who won’t buy a Japanese car because “AMERICA” never mind that their Silverado is made in Mexico.

    As for me personally, it’s not a make-or-break consideration (my current stable has vehicles assembled in the US, Mexico, Japan, and Australia) but as a tie breaker between two equivalent cars, I’d probably lean toward the one made in the US or a “flagship” plant overseas. I’d really prefer others be the ones to beta test a car made in China or a third world country though.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Modern automotive assembly lines are human engineered to be fool-proof and a ton of investment is put into intrusive QC processes.

    You won’t find a craftsmen amongst them and any bad eggs are quickly weeded out.

    I trust that new cars are solid…there are few things in life I can be more sure about.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I don’t really care too much, as long as the car doesn’t turn out to be a POS. I’ve owned several VWs that were Hecho en Puebla. Some have had very few problems, some have had more. One of the most reliable VWs I’ve had was a late ’99 production Jetta TDI. My 2003 (supposedly one of the best ALH TDI years) had more go wrong with it.

    The Mexican assembly line-workers aren’t designing and sourcing crappy parts, that’s on car company executives and beancounters.

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    Yes.

    Having had experiences with Chinese motorcycles, in addition to Chinese televisions, VCRs, household appliances…I will NOT buy a Chinese motor vehicle.

    From others’ experiences with English, French, Italian cars…I will NOT buy anything made in those places or engineered by those companies. The AMC/Renault Alliance is telling; as is the modern Fiatsler products and their reliability record.

    Nor German, but for different reasons. Germans do not play well and while their autos are jewels, they are not engineered to last. They’re engineered to COST, and to get off the road fast and make way for repeat sales – usually to a fresh batch of suckers.

    Another poster noted how Japanese products were considered junk, fifty years ago. Difference is, Japan was eager to move AWAY from the manufacture of junk; and in fact picked up the concept of Continuous Improvement, a concept that American firms weren’t interested in. W. Edwards Demming, a WWII statistical-quality-improvement guru, found no one interested Stateside after the war – but the Japanese were all ears; adopted his concept like disciples, and saw immediate improvements. Which in some Japanese companies, have continued to improve.

    China seems uninterested in learning this. China, for all its growth, still is run by old Communists – and old Communists still believe the free market is based on exploitation. So they run it that way, and their products continue to be shoddy and short-lived.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      Correction:

      Demming was brought to Japan by MacArthur due to issues with the phone system after the war.

      “and in fact picked up the concept of Continuous Improvement”

      Wrong. He showed them statistical process control. Not CI.

  • avatar
    matador

    Yes. It wasn’t the only factor, but the fact that they’re built with non-union American hands did help persuade us to choose an Altima this spring instead of the other options. I’d much rather support people in Tennessee than another nation

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I used to prefer J-VIN above all else in interests of quality, but have shifted my preference and priorities to American assembled vehicles, using American made parts (which likewise in my experience are largely high quality). Living in an manufacturing-heavy area, I can appreciate the impact even a smaller supplier can have as far as stable employment for the community, as well as the horror-show that engulfs many communities if a factory pulls up its roots and leaves. There has been a net hollowing out of what used to be solid working class neighborhoods, the wealth has shifted to nice suburb communities outside the beltway where (fewer) people commute in to the highly paid jobs. I truly believe we can work to have our cake and eat it too.
    A US-made Camry that’s reliable as the sunrise, affordable, and supports a ton of communities both in Southern Indiana and all over Kentucky sounds like a win to me.

    The people walking out that “cheaper imported goods are a net benefit to consumers” trope are missing the forest for the trees IMO. Yeah I have my more affordable TV set as I sit unemployed addicted to opioids, great.

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    Where a vehicle is built matters a lot to me. I will NEVER buy a car manufactured in China. I want at least one car in my driveway to be built in the USA, and preferably by union labor. (The killing of unions is killing the American middle class.) I have a Ford C-Max. The fact that it was union-made in the USA was a huge factor in me buying this car over any other hybrid. I will not be considering the C-Max’s made in Mexico replacement. Right now, it looks like I will replace it with a Chevy Volt assuming GM doesn’t kill the Volt.

  • avatar
    2manycars

    NO cars made by Japs, Krauts, or Chinamen.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      What about “Russkies”?

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        They’re okay, but I refuse to patronize any company that hires Irishmen, Montagnards, or Circassian speakers.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Anybody who thinks even the height of American Malaise era cars were truly bad, needs to see what the Russian car industry was pumping out in the “wild 90s.” The main Russian car mag took three Russian-built cars on a long road trip across the entire country (Moscow to Vladivostok I think?) in 1998 or 2000 as I recall and the most outlandish and hilariously awful breakdowns occurred. We’re talking about leaking windshield seals, rusted out gas tanks (stored out in the open at the factory, rain water rusted them from the inside out), failed rear differentials, etc. It was an adventure paramount to driving across the US in the 1920s.

  • avatar
    DearS

    My Honda is built in the USA, my Mazda in Japan, My phone in China, my motorcycle in Thailand. My shirt in the Dominican Republic, My Cheese in Italy, Coffee in Honduras, Speakers in Indonesia and Scandinavia, Avocado in Mexico, candy in Colombia, Power tool in Germany, etc. etc. We all help each other, some more than others.

    China is not up to par yet with cars, though I would probably one made in China at some point. I’m OK with buying built anywhere.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Yes. Third world assembly and content/suppliers != First World pricing.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Excellent exchange I read last night:

    Ski12568 tmosley Jul 26, 2017 7:05 PM
    Prices won’t drop, profits will just go up.

    JuliaS @ Ski12568 Jul 26, 2017 11:05 PM
    Absolutely. All short term profits will be eroded almost immediately by competition. The savings won’t be passed onto anyone, except the Fed, who will finance loans needed to convert conventional infrastructure into a robotic paradigm. And then another upgrade, and then another.

    Remember CFL light bulbs that cut down energy use by about 2/3? Did electricity rates go down anywhere? Of course not. You got to replace all your old bulbs, because government made them illegal. Ahh! The safety of glowing mercury slowly leaking out of the tube! Can’t beat that!

    Upgrade had a premium, of course – the new bulb was more sophistimacated, with transformer, regulator and a bendy glass tube and stiff. And just as you were done transitioning, it’s LED time, when a single light bulb often costs as much as a monthly electric bill before this whole shennanigans stated. Power use is now less than 1/10th – add the new efficient fridge and stove into the mix that won’t last 5 years and cost a fortune, replacing the far superior metal box from the 60’s that would probably survive a nuclear blast with you in it, like in the movie.

    Did you feel the savings? Did your monthly electrical bill go down, anyone? Of course not! Because utility companies are like the banks – they know that when efficiency leaps forward, that is the time to steal money and jack the rates up, hoping no one would notice.

    And energy efficient stoves – what utter garbage. I had an old stove. Worked fine. Then the building decided to replace it for some bullshit regulatory reason. The new one looks fancy and has an EnergyStar sticker on it. Consumes less power per hour alright. You know why? Because it now takes 14 minutes instead of 4 to bring the fucking kettle to a boil!

    So, yes you are correct. Prices are never coming down. As a citizen living in a fiat regime, you have 2 options which are inflation – prices growing faster than wages, or deflation – wages falling faster than prices. Have your pick!

    ———————

    Sir James Goldsmith – 15.11.94

    youtube.com/watch?v=wwmOkaKh3-s&t=1770s

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I saw a significant decrease in my monthly bill when I replaced all the lights in my house and garage with LEDs. And LEDs last pretty near forever, with no issues of expensive ballasts failing, or not lighting in the cold (garage lighting). CFLs were crap, I will give you that one.

      What you fail to realize is that while appliances last 1/2 as long today, they cost way less than 1/2 as much adjusted for inflation, if you look at equal capabilities. And in places where water and electricity are expensive, the savings can be quite real. I happen to have homes in one location where electricity is very expensive and another where water is very expensive. Aside from the LEDs up north, going to a very high efficiency washing machine and dishwasher made a noticeable difference down south. And even with cheap electricity, that house got all LEDs too, simply because having to replace light bulbs is annoying, and the reduction in heat output saves on the A/C bill. Going from 1000w of halogens to <100w of LEDs in the kitchen made quite a difference, for example. Multiply by millions and millions of homes…

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Things are priced based on what they’re worth, not what they cost to produce.

        1 Watt of electrical power is worth the same regardless of whether it’s going through a CFL or an incandescent bulb.

        If a manufacturer can reduce their mill cost by half for the same thing they have two choices:
        1) Reduce the price and sell more
        2) Keep the price steady and make more profit per unit

        The right choice is whatever one maximizes profit. This is often Option 2.

        It’s not a scam or a conspiracy. It’s how markets work.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Things are priced on what someone will pay (or be forced to pay) for them.

          “The right choice is whatever one maximizes profit. This is often Option 2”

          If you have time I suggest you listen to the right wing billionaire’s argument (yt link) in that it is disastrous to pursue only a return on an “economic index” in which pursuit will destabilize society. He argues profits are important but even more important if the economic participation of everyone in society. If only a few own the profit centers and they squeeze everything they can out of the other 97-99% of society, you have an oligarchy. These typically end with societal upheaval.

          In the grand scheme I personally would rather have a little less Fed toilet paper and a more stable society (complete with happy proles less likely to mug me) as opposed to having a Scrooge McDuck money bin but living in The Purge.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I’ve lived in the same apartment for nearly ten years. In this time, the average bill increased from 20-21 dollars a month to 38, and CPI inflation in ten years has not been 80-90%. No appliances have changed, the only major change was switching from incandescent to CFL and now LED bulbs in the fifteen or so sockets, which decreased usage while the bill went up over time. A big chunk of it was the raising of the “customer charge” from 8 to 14 dollars, for everyone. In this way, rates were not raised as much however the absolute bullsh*t guaranteed cream off the top nearly doubled. Because they operate a monopoly and they can.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      who the hell thought moving to CFLs would make electricity RATES go down? the point of using them was so your BILL would go down from using less energy.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        And if using less energy means the utility doesn’t have to invest in more generation, it is entirely possible they keep your bills from going UP. But I agree, highly unlikely for the cost to ever go down, other than due to inflation meaning the same payment is worth less in real terms.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The point the author made was, by using less energy the rates were raised so the subscriber losing the savings. CFL et al does not necessarily equate to a decrease in rates, although in theory less demand and greater electric supply should cause the market price to decrease (but this would involve free markets).

  • avatar

    I care more where the vehicle is engineered and designed. That is where the real talent is. Any nation can now build a decent car.

  • avatar

    I’d love, love to…but.

    My Acura is from Ontario. Real Maple only, please…..
    My VW TDi was from Germany…fat lot of good that did me.
    My Jetta S is Hecho En Mexico…and looks OK so far.

    My caddy is an international cluster.p built in Michigan, with parts from China, Poland, Korea, Germany and probably a dozen other places.

    Unfortunately cars get that sort of arbitrage where they are made in third world conditions and sold at first world prices, making sure that none of those jobs are in the first world…just like your cell phone, sold in a gleaming white store, and produced in the conditions that gave rise to Unions, but very, very far away, and in an information void.

    Containerized shipping is a great example of “unintended consequences”

  • avatar
    alff

    No. There are so many other more important considerations in purchasing a vehicle.

    Nation of origin is far more important for certain consumables than for autos. Rum and cigars, for example.

  • avatar
    JerseyRon

    I second those who would hesitate to buy any vehicle assembled in China.

    I would also prefer to buy a vehicle of a foreign manufacturer that is assembled in America rather than an American manufacturer’s vehicle assembled abroad. Some exceptions may apply, such as an American vehicle assembled in Mexico or Canada with 80% or more of parts for US/Canada is better than a vehicle assembled in the USA with only 30% US/Canada parts.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Yes, I care. Japan builds best!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      The trouble is beautifully put together dreck is still dreck.

      Very, very, very few Japanese vehicles have the slightest appeal to me, no matter how nicely they are screwed together. And the ones that do appeal generally have the rust resistance of unpainted sheet metal sitting on the sea floor.

  • avatar
    I_like_stuff

    Order in which I prefer cars built:

    1. Japan
    2. Korea
    3. W. Europe
    4. US (non UAW)
    5. US (UAW)
    6. E. Europe (probably wouldn’t buy)
    7. Mexico (you hae to drag me kicking and screaming to buy these)
    8. Something else (won’t buy any of these)

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I don’t care at all where it is made. For that matter I don’t really care whose name is on the car. I care about the car.

  • avatar
    TW5

    For new cars, I prefer final assembly in the US/Canada with mainly US/Canadian or Japanese sourced parts. I will also buy vehicles assembled in Japan, and German-assembled vehicles are fine for certain specialty products. For used cars, any nation but China will do.

    I will never purchase a new or used vehicle assembled in China, even if the content is from other countries, unless the US is running a trade surplus with China.

  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    I care, and would preferentially select a US made vehicle if all other things were equal.

    I’m not willing to compromise even a little bit on quality, cost, or content of the car; though.

    I bought a new car last weekend that was not made in the US, because there were no credible US-made alternatives that I liked nearly as much.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    It depends!

    I decide what I want and from there I look at dependability/quality surveys.

    I’m not going to pass over a top rated vehicle just because it isn’t made in Canada.

    There are no Canadian made pickups so I have no choice but look at imports.

  • avatar
    bertvl

    I don’t think I’ll ever buy anything other than a Japanese vehicle again, the four best vehicles by far I’ve owned were all Japanese-built (J VIN). Fifth was a USA-built Ford which wasn’t too bad. The worst car by far I ever owned was French, it was far far worse even than an ancient Fiat hatchback I owned for a while :)

    So yes, I do specifically look for Japanese-built vehicles.

  • avatar
    Rengaw

    I want the money I pay for a vehicle to be a reward and an encouragement to those who made it. I don’t care where it comes from. To promote the best craftsmanship will have other manufacturers following suit. To purchase less than a stellar product is to encourage craftsmanship in the wrong direction.

  • avatar
    mchan1

    Where the vehicle is built as in assembled? Not really.

    Business is now conducted internationally so you have parts made outside and inside the U.S. If it’s assembled in the U.S., great.. more jobs for Americans.

    As long as the vehicle is reliable and affordable, that’s really what many people think and want.


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