REPORT: "Buy American" still sways shoppers

The J. D. Power Escaped Shopper Study examines why customers look at one model of car, but ultimately buy another. The result: when it came to choosing a domestic or an import vehicle, shoppers chose one or the other for different reasons.

According to J.D. Power, almost 80% of new-vehicle buyers limit their considerations to only domestic or only imported cars. (A recent Wall Street Journal piece on Detroit's perception gap said 54% of buyers are "import intenders," who only consider foreign cars.) Buyers who chose American generally did so because they simply didn't want to buy an import, with price -- the lack of incentives, say -- being a secondary consideration. Import buyers cited issues with interiors, reliabibility, gas mileage, and resale value as reasons for not buying domestic.

[Source: J. D. Power]

Coming to the same conclusion that the Wall Street Journal did, a J. D. Powers research manager said "These findings point to continued difficulties for the Big Three in Detroit as they try to win back some of the market share they lost to the imports. It also suggests that too few U.S. consumers have caught on to the fact that cars and trucks offered by Detroit automakers are in many cases as good, if not better, than their rivals from Asia and Europe." The verdict was that Detroit can either spend more money to get customers, or "find vehicle specific opportunities, such as styling or promoting a positive dealer experience, that can have an immediate impact on consumer perceptions of the brand." Detroit, you have your mission, should you choose to accept it.

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