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2011 Chevrolet Volt. (General Motors)... 2011 Chevrolet Volt. (General Motors)

Jim Kosobucki knows better than most that consumers increasingly are looking to buy an American car. He says the used lot at his South Florida Buick-GMC dealership is "full" of Audis, Acuras, Infinitis and Toyotas that his customers have traded in for a GM vehicle.

"In South Florida, it's a very foreign-car market. Lexus, BMW and Audi do very well. But in the past couple of years we have had more of a type of person looking to go back to an American car," he says. "Most people know that a General Motors car is an American-made car."

Although GM has not specifically pushed its Buick flagship brand as "American Made" -- unlike, say, Dodge or Jeep's patriotically themed marketing -- it's clear that customers are increasingly taking an interest in where their vehicles are built.

Looking For An American Made Vehicle

According to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll, some 41 percent of car buyers said they look for an American-built car first when shopping for automobiles. That's equivalent to the 41 percent of respondents to the same poll that said they look for the best possible deal regardless of where the car is manufactured. Just 12 percent of buyers prefer foreign-built cars, according to Rasmussen.

Those numbers have changed since June 2008, when 51 percent of Rasmussen respondents said finding the best deal was their top priority and just 32 percent placed more importance on "buying American."

And while AOL Autos has previously found it's impossible to buy a 100-percent American-built car, there are some consumer advocates that are trying to help buyers make up their mind about how best to support domestic car companies and the U.S. economy, in this midst of this grinding recession.

Ownership Matters

Roger Simmermaker, the author of "How Americans Can Buy American," told AOL Autos that to buy an American car, "consumers need to consider more than just buying one made in the U.S.A. To truly buy American, we need to buy an American-made car from an American-owned company -- GM, Ford or Chrysler -- with a high domestic parts-content.

"The ownership of a company matters because American companies have more factories in America, pay more taxes to America, get more of their parts from America, and support more workers, retirees and their dependents in America," he says.

He points out that GM and Ford source nearly 70 percent of their parts from domestic sources while Toyota and Nissan only get 35 percent and 30 percent of their parts from America, respectively. He also notes that foreign-owned companies like Kia and VW also have received large tax incentives from the U.S. government for building plants in the United States.

Using Social Networking

Mike Beckham devotes a Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=34893538196 to buying American cars, and has built a base of 4,000 followers on the page he started in 2008 with two university colleagues from Cleveland, Ohio. Driven by his love for American cars, Beckham said U.S. car companies have fallen victim to "bad press."

"American car companies are building more fuel efficient, safe, and reliable cars than ever before," he says.

According to Beckham, the most American product currently on the market is the Ford Escape, which has a 90-pecent domestic parts content and is assembled in Kansas City, Mo.

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data from 2009, the domestic-parts-content for the Ford Taurus is also 90 percent, the Lincoln MKS comes in at 85 percent, the Buick Lucerne touts 81 percent, and the Chevrolet Malibu gets 80 percent of its parts from domestic sources.

Brian Grewe, an electrical engineering student in Northville, Mich., also uses Facebook to urge consumers to buy a car from American manufacturers. Grewe said he has fixed up and tinkered with American-made cars for as long as he can remember, and his dedication to Detroit comes from witnessing first-hand the recent turbulence in the domestic auto market.

"It sometimes seems that the rest of the nation has a resentment to the American auto industry, maybe because of the bail-out or when they had quality issues," he says. "As of the last few years, it's more about politics. People will connect GM and Chrysler and Ford to politics more than quality of the cars."

Grewe pointed to GM's Chevy Volt as evidence of American innovation while acknowledging it's actually impossible to buy a purely American car. "It's a global economy, there's no way to avoid that. We're mainly looking out for where most of the work is done and where the money is going," he says.


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  • 369 Comments
      • 5 Months Ago
      Buying a GM car is absolutely anti-American. Thos SOB's along with their thieving union and along with obama stole the old GM shareholders monies and also stealing 29 billion. Yes, billion dollars from mostly American bondholders who were retirees. Not only that but they stole these peoples interest income from those bonds. So now, tell me...who the hell would ever support a company like GM ??? The government should of just let them die on the vine. So now Americans through the government put all this money into the new GM which will go under again.
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'm a big advocate for supporting local business. What concerns me about such articles, is the ego and shortsightedness that Americans possess. There really was a period in our history when we unquestionably made the best products; from televisions to cars. That was a time when global competition was nearly non-existent. The world has changed, and if we hope to maintain any real status in the world economy we need to open our eyes to that fact. I'm all for supporting American businesses, but just remember some of your friends or family work for the "foreign" auto companies. Should they suffer over some superficial need to stroke our ego? Competition is what American auto companies have needed to open there eyes to the world around them. Competition is what drives innovation and quality. Had American auto companies kept up with the competition, they would have never found themselves begging for help in the first place. There should never be any stigma over buying the best product for your money, regardless of where its made. I work for what little I have, and quality and service are far more important than national pride.
      wwkenwayne
      • 5 Months Ago
      I just traded my Mercedes for a Lincoln MKS, I was very impressed with the voice activation system, the surround sound stereo, the ride,etc... Ford has got their act together and I am impressed finally I can start buying American again.
      pitbullsfamily
      • 5 Months Ago
      American cars aren't "back" , they never "left". If you believe foreign cars are better it is only because you are an easy mark for their marketers. Unfortunately I have had the displeasure to ride in too many foreign cars of friends and relatives, not once did I ever notice any great new feat in automotive design. No thanks, keep your import crap. I'll continue to drive my cars made in the USA by American companies. Look close, not all the big three cars are made in the US. Buy foreign product, exploit more foreign labor and watch the US economy sink ever lower. Import buyers are a bunch of morons and I have no respect for them. It would serve them right if every one of them lost their job to foreign labor. By the way, if so many of those imports are supposed to be such great driving machines, some of which there is supposedly no substitute for, why have I never been beaten by any of them on the track? I sure do enjoy sending them home dejected. They don't work in real life like they do in Gran Turismo do they?
      richard
      • 5 Months Ago
      Maybe one reason it`s "trendy to buy American", is people think it`s "not trendy" to be unemployed anymore.
      tomozzy123
      • 5 Months Ago
      wergtlnbrgrs, Not one of those cars made in India or China have hit the U.S. shores. Ford and GM are there because they are emerging markets. Like any company, they go where there is a growing middle class and money. I know about some engineering that is done in those countries, but GM, Ford, and Chrysler still have many home-grown designers and engineers here in the U.S.
      • 5 Months Ago
      Ultimately, most people will choose to buy a car not on whether it is foreign or domestic, but on the car's reputation for value, safety, performance, and reliability. I sure hope American car manufacturers get their act together, but the last time I was in the market for a new car, it was Japanese and Korean auto manufacturers that had the top-rated offerings for the type car I needed.
      ray66v
      • 5 Months Ago
      Nothing more than media manipulation. Pure B.S.
      FATHER LOVES YOU
      • 5 Months Ago
      anyone for a trade war ....... wwii ...wwiii ....wwwiiiiiiiii
      enopaint
      • 5 Months Ago
      American made cares by union people have too many people on coffee breaks and hiding from the boss ,to be where they should be watching out for quality control.
      • 5 Months Ago
      to edon1160. Thankk you for a voice of reason. How is it foreign cars make money by having their car parts and assembled her in America. Yet the wages are comparable. What makes the American businesses unable to do this also? Go inside a foreign plant and see the differenct. I speak from experience. It can be done and with/without unions. Why are foreign car manufacturers moving here but ours are moving out? Logic anyone? True, there is enough blame to go around but when is the American public going to stand up for itself and stop being brainwashed by the wealthy who keep telling them it is 'for their own good'? If you do not confront the problem and identify it, it cannot be corrected. You cannot move forward until some solutions are developed. Is there anyone else out there *********** that the wealthy do not pay taxes. Personally, I am overwhelmed with them and sinking. What happend to fair and equal? No, don't give me the trickle down business as it hasn't made a difference in 8 years. If they need more time, tell them to quit buying their mansions, planes, private boats, furs, $2000 boots and other stuff and start making jobs. In case ou haven't noticed, their spending isn't for 'made in USA' stuff. Aruba, Europe vacations and the like do not benefit our economy. Everyday I see some celebrity go out and buy $2,500 boots or a $10,000 dress I gag. Those are not made here and one of a kind. Children and women are foced into slavery and prostitution every day, people lose jobs to disabilities, churches can't keep up with food banks and yet they go out to buy $2,000 boots. A football player makes millions of dollars. How many of the wealthy stand up for the injustices of the world and make a difference in our world. Or is that out of their realm of reality? We need leaders of this kind. When villages in Africa are having their hands sliced off by gorilla terrorists, we sit back and do nothing. Churches provide recordsers for bibles but cannot provide prothesis for the handicapped. You can look at the world as a miserable place. But we have the ability and compassionate people who give their lives to making it better. Stop sitting back and letting yourself believe 'someone' else will fix it.
      richard
      • 5 Months Ago
      Do a survey on the parasitic import buyers whose grown kids are still living at home, because they can`t find a self-supporting job. These are the same people who wonder why the economy sucks, and their kids can`t catch a break. No wonder it`s "Trendy" now for people to buy American--it`s mostly younger people who want to want the economy to be strong, so they can make a decent living.
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