Buy American…buy Toyota? What buying American looks like in the 21st Century

It’s 2013. We are on the tail end of the Great Recession (hopefully). All of the automakers have survived the recession in some form or another. We lost some iconic brands along the way, the likes of Mercury and Pontiac. They are just a piece of history now, but these actions helped position Ford and GM to continue on in the new economy.

With this new economy we have come to see new challenges in automobile manufacturing. Automakers buckled down to ensure they are manufacturing as efficiently as possible. What’s interesting is that efficient manufacturing and tax advantages for the Japanese, Korean and other automakers meant introducing production facilities within the United States.

We took a look at the current lineups of some of the major Japanese automakers to see how many and which models are produced right here in the United States. Here are our findings.

Toyota Car

Toyota has 14 models in its lineup. Fifty percent of these models are made right here in the USA. Of those seven models, four of them are their most popular models: Camry, Corolla, Avalon and Highlander. The other three models manufactured in America are the Sequoia, Tundra and Venza. All of these models sell in much higher volumes than the other more niche models (e.g. 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, etc.) and therefore are doing an excellent job at supporting American manufacturing and creating jobs for American workers.

Honda Car

Honda Motor Company, another Japanese automaker, discovered back in the 1980s that producing their most popular car (the Honda Accord) in Ohio was going to be an integral part of their strategy for expanding in the United States. The 1986 Accord was the first US manufactured model to roll off the assembly line. Fast forward to today and Honda is not only assembling more cars than ever in the United States, they just celebrated exporting (yes, exporting!) their one millionth car, a silver 2013 Honda Accord that made its way to South Korea! In addition to the Accord, four other Honda models are also produced in the United States, which means that over 70% of Honda models bought in America are American made. Again, we have another example of a foreign automaker producing the majority of their American purchased cars in the United States.

Following suit behind Toyota and Honda are the likes of Hyundai, Kia and many other automakers. Automakers are finding an advantage in assembling automobiles in the United States.

Of course if you want to buy American, you can buy a Ford or a Chevy. More than 50% of their lineups are made in the USA, especially the ever popular F-150 and Silverado. But it’s interesting that Ford makes the Fusion, arguably one of their most popular cars, in Mexico. The Fusion, which is direct competition to the Accord and Camry, is the only one of the three models in the mid-size car segment that isn’t assembled by American hands. The Fusion may be made by an American car manufacturer, but at this point it’s not made by an American.

Are you in the market to buy a new car? Does its origin matter to you? Do you care about where the car is assembled, or is that far down the list of car buying priorities? I’m proud to say that I’ve owned two Honda Accords and one Acura CL, and they all rolled off the assembly line in Marysville, Ohio. Let us know if this matters to you by leaving us a comment.

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