Study: We Have No Idea Where Our Cars Are Made


Back during the industry woes of 2007 and 2008, there was a spate of vandalizing Japanese-brand cars in Detroit. Some Toyota Camrys were roughed up. I thought this moronic, considering the car was likely produced in Georgetown, Kentucy, or Lafayette, Indiana. The vandals may have driven to deface the Camrys in a Chevrolet Silverado…that was likely built in Mexico.

As the BBC points out, people really have no clue where their cars come from. It is time to shake loose our long-held notions about the nationalities of their cars.

Silverado lease photo

The BBC cites a survey, in which 28% of people questioned last year said they would only buy an “American made” car. But how many of those people know that a Volkswagen Passat is built in Chattanooga TN, or that the BMW X5 is built in Greer, SC. They probably didn’t know the Chevrolet Trax crossover was built in a place called Bupyeong–that’s in South Korea.


Then there is where the car is designed. Companies like Subaru and Kia–as well as many others–have design centers in the United States. A car from an import brand could be designed and built in the good ole’ U.S. of A. There is also the fact that cars are built of components that come from many different points abroad. And those locations can always change depending on the cost of labor and shipping fluctuations.

So at what point does a car from a brand that originates elsewhere sell cars that we can brand as fully American? Though ever-changing supplier and production location decisions by automakers–the general public will always have a hard time getting their heads around it.

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