Moral claims about American content/R&D vs. Non

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nyc
On EFNET, in the #CARS channel, there was a heated discussion about whether American consumers ought to take into account issues like where a car was built, the percentage of American content, and where R&D dollars are spent. A few guys were quite adamant that the American consumer ought to take these issues into some consideration. They believe that your purchase ought to maximize the benefits to the American people. I think that's an understandable position but it seems to suggest that people in other countries have less moral standing. When you a car assembled in Mexico (or Japan or some European country,) aren't you employing Mexicans? If so, is that so bad? Are Mexicans lesser human beings? My understanding is that most people in other countries are much less well-off than we are. So, why hate on them for wanting to make a living? So, when I make a car purchase, I ignore these types of calculus because it can get quite complicated (ie, what exactly qualifies as an "American" car anyway?) but mostly because of the moral implications. I just buy the best car for the money.
 
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Illinois
I'll bet if you worked for Ford or GM you would have a different view. Not that non Americans are lesser human beings, but we don't want to see our nation follow the lead of others down the third world path. That's just one reason our country is worth fighting for.
 
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1,648
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California
I can't disagree with anything anybody has said so far. But the problem I have with "Buy American" is like was previously stated - how do you define "American"? Is a Chevy with a Chinese built engine more American than a Toyota that was built in the US? Also - I find it hard to be loyal to a car company that has not been loyal to me. I open the hood of my Chevy SUV, the first thing I see is posted on BOTH headlight assemblies - "Made in Mexico". Not that I have anything against Mexico - but how many people in the U.S could have used the job of assembling those headlights? Nothing against our Canadian friends - but even my Mercury GM was made in Canada. Does that still make it an American car? I don't know, and the question is meant to be somewhat rhetorical. PLUS - how many of the "American" car companies have been or are in bed with other non "American" companies? GM with Toyota - Ford with Nissan, Chrysler with Mitsubishi - the list goes on and on. Pardon the crudeness - but to me it's like being faithful to a hooker!
 
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14,779
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Illinois
 Originally Posted By: oldmaninsc
I can't disagree with anything anybody has said so far. But the problem I have with "Buy American" is like was previously stated - how do you define "American"? Is a Chevy with a Chinese built engine more American than a Toyota that was built in the US? Also - I find it hard to be loyal to a car company that has not been loyal to me. I open the hood of my Chevy SUV, the first thing I see is posted on BOTH headlight assemblies - "Made in Mexico". Not that I have anything against Mexico - but how many people in the U.S could have used the job of assembling those headlights? PLUS - how many of the "American" car companies have been or are in bed with other non "American" companies? GM with Toyota - Ford with Nissan, Chrysler with Mitsubishi - the list goes on and on. Pardon the crudeness - but to me it's like being faithful to a hooker!
So buying products that your company makes in the US is like being unfaithful to your wife with a prostitute? No wonder this country is failing with view points like that.
 
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9,566
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Ontario, Canada
 Originally Posted By: tig1
I'll bet if you worked for Ford or GM you would have a different view. Not that non Americans are lesser human beings, but we don't want to see our nation follow the lead of others down the third world path. That's just one reason our country is worth fighting for.
I kind of see it this way as well, for many reasons the US, Canada, and many other countries have established a high standard of living. We are tossing that standard of living out just like the trash from walmart by supporting low wage off shore manufacturing jobs. As a population its quite stupid to do this but as individuals its hard not to look at the low price tag and buy it without thinking of the consequences. I believe western europe is avoiding the cheap imports trap better than we are in N.A. Maybe their stricter environmental laws that discourage wasteful consumption are helping? Maybe they just think about the big picture more?
 

Bill in Utah

Staff member
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UT
When buying a vehicle I buy what is going to be the BEST for my money. Then I buy what is going to EMPLOY the most Americans on my choice. My Toyota Corolla was 100% built in USA with most parts made in America. My Subaru Outback was built in USA with well over 1/2 the parts made in America. If the American car companies (Ford is the only one now) can not 1st build a vehicle that I want, that will run without needing things like head gaskets twice in 108k miles like my last one, and make the !#@^ thing with American labor, tough. I'll spend my $$ where I get the best deal. As far as the other 2 companies that the devil now owns, I'll NEVER buy a new one and may purchase a used one IF it is reliable. Sad since I was a major cheerleader for GM. Now too bad. Bill
 
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Illinois
Bill I hear ya. I've had Fords for years and never had a bad one, but if they turned sour consistantly, I would look else where.
 
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1,562
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St. Paul, MN
I have no qualms, moral or otherwise, about buying cars from my company of choice (Honda). The 08 Civic my GF bought last year was made in the USA, from many US and North American made parts. Sure, the HQ is located in Japan, but Honda spends millions and millions of dollars in the USA, supporting everyone from factory workers to dealerships (and everyone in between). Foreign/Domestic is a Bee.S argument these days. The real problem is that US citizens get all upset about the loss of good jobs in the USA. Yet they continue to support jokers like GM and Wal-Mart, while both companies have caused hundreds of thousands of US jobs to migrate off-shore in the past 30 years. You like GM and Chrysler? How many US jobs have they added in the past 30 years? The number is insanely negative, and getting more negative by the day. If you don't like Honda and Toyota because you think they take away US jobs, you're a fool. Both companies have added hundreds of thousands of US jobs in the past 30 years. Cars are a moot point. They have been, and will continue to be assembled in the USA. The real problem is all the cheap garbage people demand at Wal-Mart, which drives away US assembly jobs. For every new Wal-Mart shopper, one more US blue collar job is eliminated. People need to get off the domestic/foreign car bull and start looking at the REAL problems.
 
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St. Paul, MN
Look, BTW, I'm not trying to start a flame war about this or that. I love domestic cars and would be glad to see them succeed. The problem is that they've been given every opportunity to do so, but have failed miserably. They continued to build ugly, uninspired cars with questionable quality even when times were good. To top it off, they sold most of the cars at a loss of profit. Being a true capitalistic society, the consumers have spoken. If they want Hondas and Toyotas in the driveway, that's what they get.
 
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wichita kansas
I generally look at where the car was built, US content and reliability when buying a new car. I don't really care to buy a domestic car when it is built with foreign parts or like in Mexico. I'd rather buy the so called foreign car that is employing US workers if other things are pretty much equal. The way I look at it, if I buy a domestic car that is almost foreign then I am encouraging them to offload more. Buying a foreign car built here with US workers is encouraging the foreign makers to invest more here and boost production. I'd rather give the profit to the foreign car makers in trade for their investment in boosting manf here and employing more US workers.
 
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California
I firmly believe there is no such thing as a truly American-made product anymore. Americans can make a good product - see Honda, Toyota, Subaru, and there's more non-auto related ones. Shoot, even Apple is assembling the Mac Pro and some newer iMacs in Elk Grove, CA while HP and Dell are having Foxconn or Asus assemble their systems in China. Even though a Honda or Toyota is still classified as a foreign car despite being made in Ohio/Indiana/Kentucky/Cali/Alabama, it helps both the US and Japan in GDP and GNP, respectively. Here's the real kicker though - Honda and Toyota had their parts suppliers set up shop near their plants while Motown was slowly going to Mexico, China, and Europe. I've read an article somewhere that Hyundai Mobis is now a supplier to the Jeep plant in Toledo, they make the chassis and suspension. Consumers just want cheap, disposable goods these days. I remember when Sam Walton wanted Wal-Mart to be an all-American company. Now, every time I set foot in there, 3/4 of the [censored] stuff there is from China.
 
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1,478
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Iowa
 Originally Posted By: Bill in Utah
When buying a vehicle I buy what is going to be the BEST for my money. Then I buy what is going to EMPLOY the most Americans on my choice.
This is the exact same thought process I use when buying a new vehicle.
 
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Saint Paul (ex-San Diego)
This discussion is pointless. I noticed that no one said he would buy "American" even though he ends up with an inferior product. You've already decided what to buy, then you invent a moral justification -- why bother? Let me be clear: I don't care, or at least not much. If the best cars in the world were built in Burma or Venezuela or Zimbabwe or North Korea, I'd have to settle for second-best, because I couldn't buy from those countries. China is freeing its markets, so I do not have as much of a moral objection against China. But except for the extreme cases, I buy what I want no matter where in the world it is made.
 
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Glen Ellyn, IL
 Originally Posted By: Bill in Utah
My Toyota Corolla was 100% built in USA with most parts made in America.
Corolla is 55-60% domestic parts content last time I checked. Assembly is in California.
 
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Illinois
 Originally Posted By: css9450
 Originally Posted By: Bill in Utah
My Toyota Corolla was 100% built in USA with most parts made in America.
Corolla is 55-60% domestic parts content last time I checked. Assembly is in California.
Profits and most taxes go to Japan.
 
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Iowa
 Originally Posted By: tig1
 Originally Posted By: css9450
 Originally Posted By: Bill in Utah
My Toyota Corolla was 100% built in USA with most parts made in America.
Corolla is 55-60% domestic parts content last time I checked. Assembly is in California.
Profits and most taxes go to Japan.
Profits - well if it was bought in the past year or so, I'm pretty sure no profit went anywhere. As for taxes, how do you figure most taxes go to Japan?
 
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ON, Canada eh?
I like the guys that drive Mazda's under the Ford name or Toyota's under the GM name with the bumper stickers "Out of a job yet, keep buying foreign" on them. If they only knew... And I support Pablo's view, that there is nothing wrong with wanting to support your local backyard before supporting others. ;\)
 
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