Camaro5 Chevy Camaro Forum / Camaro ZL1, SS and V6 Forums - Camaro5.com
 
TireRack
Go Back   Camaro5 Chevy Camaro Forum / Camaro ZL1, SS and V6 Forums - Camaro5.com > Members Area > General Automotive + Other Cars Discussion

General Automotive + Other Cars Discussion Come chat about other cars.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-28-2007, 08:57 PM   #1
KILLER74Z28
MOD SQUAD
 
KILLER74Z28's Avatar
 
Drives: 2G1FT1EW9A9100666
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Michigan
Posts: 5,667
Exclamation At Witz’ End: What’s an American Car?

At Witz’ End: What’s an American Car?
Where it’s assembled is irrelevant.
by Gary Witzenburg (2007-02-27)

So what is an "American" car?

If it is simply one built inAmerica, as most foreign makers and U.S. media would have you believe, then vehicles built in Canada are Canadian, those assembled in Mexico are Mexican and Porsches built in Finland are Finnish.

But we know intuitively that's not the case. And yet in this global age of autos, some people insist on sticking to the idea of purely "American," or "German," or "Japanese" cars - when in many cases, today's vehicles are polyglots, products of the same global industry.

But that doesn't change the political nature of the question.

Say General Motors decides to build Chevrolets in Japan . If the cars are competitive (could happen), that might make sense to escape expensive barriers the Japanese government puts in the way of imported vehicles to protect its own automakers.

So GM buys some land outside Nagoya , builds a plant and hires some local workers and managers to run it. Say it builds a GM Powertrain plant next door, hires more locals and - since it would be cheaper to source parts and components locally than import them - sources most of them with Japanese suppliers. Say it starts cranking out enough appealing and carefully assembled cars to put a meaningful dent in the Japanese market.

This would be good for the local economy in and around Nagoya. However, assuming that the Japanese new-car market was not growing, it would displace sales of cars built by weaker Japanese makers and hurt employment elsewhere in Japan. And as those companies' sales and shares declined, the jobs displaced would not be limited to factories; a lot of better, higher-paying headquarters jobs would be lost as well, most of them in and around Tokyo.

Would the Japanese people and media see this displacement, and net loss, as okay because "home-built Chevrolets are as Japanese as anything from our own makers"? Would they see profits from increasingly popular Japan-built Chevys going back eastward across the Pacific as okay for their own (currently struggling) economy? What do you think?

Protection or barrier?

Let's carry this scenario a few steps further: Say GM's success with its first Japanese plant and its growing penetration of the Japanese market leads it to build more plants there. Say Ford and Chrysler Group follow, and their American suppliers are encouraged to build parts plants there to support them…and to win business away from Japanese suppliers.

Japan 's highly protective government, of course, would never allow any of this to happen. And even if it did, few highly nationalistic Japanese would buy American-brand vehicles at the expense of their own coveted makers regardless of where they were built.

But say, just for a moment, that they would. Would those Japan-built cars and trucks - most designed and developed in North America -- qualify as "Japanese?" Would those parts built in American-owned Japanese plants be considered "Japanese?" Would the assembly and sales of those vehicles in Japan be perceived as good for Japanese jobs and the Japanese economy? Could their U.S. makers get away with advertising them as such? Would the Japanese media endorse and recommend them as such? What do you think?

So why has exactly this scenario evolved in the U.S.A., where nearly every Japanese automaker and some Europeans and Koreans assemble cars and trucks for the American market and beyond? Because, once import vehicle makers began achieving serious penetration of this market during the fuel-crisis 1970s, our government essentially forced them into it by imposing quotas on imported vehicles. Because our domestic makers during the 1980s and '90s were not especially worthy of protection. Because enlightened off-shore makers saw huge PR and some business benefits in building vehicles here despite our much higher business costs. And because our governments (federal and especially state and local) and most media encouraged, enabled and welcomed them here as job "creators."

Job creation - or job death

What they did not see, or chose to ignore, is that "creation" of a few thousand plant jobs here and there would eventually destroy many more and better jobs elsewhere. So while some (mostly southern) states continue to battle each other with big incentives to attract new foreign-maker plants to gain two or three thousand jobs, other (mostly northern) states lose tens of thousands. While import companies will "create" about 3000 U.S. jobs in 2007, raising their total to 106,000, U.S. automakers will lose nearly 43,000 this year, falling to about 378,000, according to Jim Doyle, president of the Washington, DC-based Level Field Institute, which tracks and reports auto-company U.S. employment.

Doyle further predicts that U.S. industry-job losses will total some 95,000 (from 2005 employment) by 2010, and even then the three U.S.-based companies will employ 71 percent of all American auto workers - four times more per car sold than Hyundai, 2.5 times more than Toyota, and nearly twice as many as Honda. "Reporters tend to focus on plant jobs and miss the headquarters jobs," Doyle asserts.

"Foreign automakers spend millions around the country promoting their new plants and U.S. investment," he says. "We welcome their investment, but Americans should know that each Ford, GM, or Chrysler Group purchase supports nearly 2.5 times the number of U.S. jobs of foreign automakers, on average."

What's more American?

Some say a Japanese car bolted together in America with a fair amount of U.S. content is more "American" than a U.S.-brand car assembled in Canada or Mexico with some foreign-sourced parts. Nonsense! Ask yourself, again, where are the bulk of the better jobs and where do the profits go? DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group, by the way, still qualifies as "American" because it is an entire self-contained car company based in America and employing tens of thousands of Americans at all levels that happens to be owned by a German company, just as Opel is a self-contained German company owned by General Motors.

"Toyota spends huge sums of money promoting the idea that they 'support' 368,000 U.S. jobs," Doyle says, "but those include supplier, dealership and other peripheral jobs. Using the same multiplier, GM supports 1.9 million U.S. jobs and Ford 1.2 million. Toyota also says it builds here most of the vehicles it sells here. That may be its eventual intent, but Automotive News reported that 48 percent of the vehicles Toyota sold here in 2006 were imported.

"Is it more important to the U.S. economy for someone to buy a Ford Fusion, although it's built in Mexico, from a company that employs 105,000 Americans," Doyle asks, "than a Honda built in Ohio from a company that employs 27,000? Domestic makers also purchase nearly 80 percent of the parts made here, and domestic vehicles average 76 percent U.S. content vs. 48 percent for U.S.-built imports. That represents billions of dollars in spending."

No, an "American" car or truck is one built by a U.S.-based company that supports primarily U.S. jobs and the U.S. economy, regardless of its parts content and especially its point of assembly.

And should Americans buy "American" out of patriotism. No, but they should carefully consider U.S.-brand vehicles - now that most are competitive or better in design, engineering, quality, and fuel economy - out of their own economic self-interest. Because whatever business they are in, every time "Detroit" and its struggling U.S. auto suppliers shed another 10,000, or 20,000, or 30,000 American workers, that multiplies to hundreds of thousands who can no longer afford whatever goods or services their own employers sell.

Think about it.
KILLER74Z28 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2007, 11:38 AM   #2
Mr. Wyndham
I used to be Dragoneye...
 
Mr. Wyndham's Avatar
 
Drives: 2014 Camaro 1LE
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 25,787
Send a message via AIM to Mr. Wyndham
VERY GOOD POST.
I have been for years trying to convince people of these very facts. But I could never put it into the correct wording.

Now I have some Ammo......
__________________
"Keep the faith." - - Read Before You Post.
SIGN UP for 2014 Camaro5 HPDE @ Gingerman Raceway!
Mr. Wyndham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2007, 02:44 PM   #3
WMCC Gary
Camaro Addict
 
WMCC Gary's Avatar
 
Drives: 1987 IROC-Z
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: S.W. MICHIGAN
Posts: 165
GOOD post! And I agree completely.
__________________

Western Michigan Camaro Club ~ President
1987 Camaro IROC-Z Pearl White & Black w/ Red Pearl, 355 TPI, A4, 3:42, AirRide,"GOMARO"
2004 Tahoe Z71 Sport Red Metallic, 5.3, Auto, 3:73, "SASYZ71"
WMCC Website www.wmcamaro.org
Michigan FBody Association www.mifbody.com
WMCC Gary is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2007, 03:13 PM   #4
ChevyNut
 
ChevyNut's Avatar
 
Drives: 2010 SS Camaro Black on Black
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern Colorado
Posts: 316
Great Article!! It encompases all of the points i use when arguing with my dumba$$ friends who say its built here so its american.
ChevyNut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2007, 03:16 PM   #5
IROC'em
 
IROC'em's Avatar
 
Drives: Chevy 1500 5.7L Vortec
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: FL, Go gators!
Posts: 172
Im too lazy to read that... oh well Ill read it anyways...

...

*pops some advil for his headache and lays down on the couch exhausted*
IROC'em is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2007, 03:33 PM   #6
Moose
Moderator
 
Moose's Avatar
 
Drives: '99 Camaro SS #1392
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Newtown, Pa.
Posts: 4,015
Call me "stubborn", "bull headed", "blind", "clueless", whatever.... .......in my mind......

Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Ford - AMERICAN

%^&$# Toyota - N.O.T. !!!

(Going to find shelter now before the rocks, profanities, etc. fly my way)
Moose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2007, 03:38 PM   #7
ChevyNut
 
ChevyNut's Avatar
 
Drives: 2010 SS Camaro Black on Black
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Northern Colorado
Posts: 316
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moose View Post
Call me "stubborn", "bull headed", "blind", "clueless", whatever.... .......in my mind......

Chevrolet, Chrysler, and Ford - AMERICAN

%^&$# Toyota - N.O.T. !!!

(Going to find shelter now before the rocks, profanities, etc. fly my way)
no shelter needed that is fact anyone who disagrees obviously knows nothing and didnt read the article all the way through.
ChevyNut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2007, 07:10 PM   #8
z28camaro2471
C5 Member #227
 
z28camaro2471's Avatar
 
Drives: Camaros
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: NY
Posts: 787
Like they say, buy American, the job you save could be your own. Another well written article. People need to get their heads out of their collective a$$es and think they don't negatively impact our economy when they buy a rice burner. It not only applies to new cars but used cars as well. If people didn't buy these used piles of sh!t too, then people would think twice about buying a car they couldn't sell at a later date. Our future and our children's future are at stake here. On a somewhat related note, I'm done watching NASCAR if/when a Toyota wins. Let's teach NASCAR a freakin lesson too! Too much greed and not enough concern for the common good in this country these days. It'll catch up to us sooner or later. USA #1.
z28camaro2471 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-01-2007, 09:21 PM   #9
Moose
Moderator
 
Moose's Avatar
 
Drives: '99 Camaro SS #1392
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Newtown, Pa.
Posts: 4,015
On a somewhat related thought, driving 2 days to and from Florida provided me with alot of time to notice the numbers of Toyota's, Honda's, etc., on our highways.

I was/am very disguted. :(
Moose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2007, 08:22 AM   #10
Mr. Wyndham
I used to be Dragoneye...
 
Mr. Wyndham's Avatar
 
Drives: 2014 Camaro 1LE
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 25,787
Send a message via AIM to Mr. Wyndham
Exactly,Moose
GM, FORD, and CHRYSLER are indeed AMERICAN.
That article encompasses everything that I argue.. including the fact that Toyotas and Nissans and their cronies are, in fact, built here in the US. But THAT DOES NOT MAKE THEM AMERICAN AT ALL!!!!!!!
but unfortunatley some people are as hard-headed as I am... And refuse to here this.
The hardest part about arguing this point to people is that then people think that I don't want them to buy any foriegn vehicles at all...
I would prefer it this way but I know that some people have a need that the foriegners fill, and the Big three can't. I accept that and support it. However these needs are few and far between.
__________________
"Keep the faith." - - Read Before You Post.
SIGN UP for 2014 Camaro5 HPDE @ Gingerman Raceway!
Mr. Wyndham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2007, 08:43 AM   #11
Casull

 
Casull's Avatar
 
Drives: Chevy Silverado
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Indianapolis
Posts: 754
I think that is an excellent article, and I have throughout my life supported American made autos (with the exception of my wife's Civic, but that was her car, so I let her make the decision)

I have said this before, and will say it again. The American automanufacturers enjoyed a time when there was very little competition and throughout that time they developed the reputation of building unreliable, gas guzzling cars. I think that GM has gone to great ends to try and change this stereotype (I can't speak for Ford or Chrystler as I know little about them). However, the stereotype remains. It really is amazing how strong stereotypes are in people's minds. I mean, look at Toyota. Last year they had how many autos recalled?!?! That is just unacceptable by any standard.

IMO it is going to take a lot more than just GM stepping up and backing their products to finally start to change people's perceptions about American cars. I also think forming some kind of a marketing joint ventue between the Big 3 to launch a new campaign "re-educating" the general public about American cars.
Casull is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2007, 09:38 AM   #12
Moose
Moderator
 
Moose's Avatar
 
Drives: '99 Camaro SS #1392
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Newtown, Pa.
Posts: 4,015
Quote:
Originally Posted by Casull View Post
However, the stereotype remains. It really is amazing how strong stereotypes are in people's minds. I mean, look at Toyota. Last year they had how many autos recalled?!?! That is just unacceptable by any standard.

IMO it is going to take a lot more than just GM stepping up and backing their products to finally start to change people's perceptions about American cars. I also think forming some kind of a marketing joint ventue between the Big 3 to launch a new campaign "re-educating" the general public about American cars.
Casull I agree with you, re; people's perception's. I have heard on numerous occassions how "Toyota, Honda, etc. are so reliable", and of a "higher quality than what "The Big Three" has to offer".

It seems to me, whenever there is a recall by Chevrolet, Ford, or Chrysler, it's "front page" news, while when the same thing occurs with Toyota, which happens quite frequently, it seems it's "hush hush".

And the auto-rags. I feel like canceling mine. They are becoming more and more Toyota & Honda oriented. ie; Autoweek has a full-page story on how wonderful Toyota is on the 3rd page. Granted its a paid ad. by Toyota, but I don't want to see it every week!

(I'm starting to rant, so I will stop now)

Bottom line; GM is on the right track, hopefully Ford and Chrysler follow, and hopefully the publics perception will begin to change. If GM and the others continue to improve, eventually the public will have to accept that American cars are reliable and of a good quality and the &*^% media can give them the same coverage/praise as they do to the imports.

(OK I'm really done now)

Ed
Moose is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2007, 02:09 PM   #13
IROC'em
 
IROC'em's Avatar
 
Drives: Chevy 1500 5.7L Vortec
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: FL, Go gators!
Posts: 172
I say the maro will pull gm up considerably. They starved the public of mid class performance vehichles for a while and we are hungry now.
IROC'em is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
American Muscle Car on Speed (SLP) rray200 5th Gen Camaro SS LS LT General Discussions 6 02-19-2011 12:09 PM
Help Me Pick An Economy Car Marosolid Off-topic Discussions 75 07-11-2009 06:41 AM
The best, worst and weirdest car names KILLER74Z28 General Automotive + Other Cars Discussion 19 07-09-2009 05:14 AM
WOULD YOU BUY AN AMERICAN CAR? KILLER74Z28 General Automotive + Other Cars Discussion 20 01-31-2007 08:38 PM
Interesting read on American cars and trucks...... fbodfather General Automotive + Other Cars Discussion 8 12-22-2006 08:47 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:38 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.