I grew up in Columbus, Ohio where my father worked for Columbus Auto Parts. That company made forged parts for Ford and a few others. In the beginning, I was a Chevy guy and always wanted a Camaro, Corvette, or even a Corvair convertible. But after owning cars built by Honda, Subaru, SAAB, and Jaguar, I realized that other countries built good cars too. I’ve worked for Honda, Acura, Volvo, and Mercedes-Benz now and see a definite difference in the quality of American vs. Foreign. Compare a Lincoln with a Volvo after 5-10 years and the American is rusty while the Swede is not. Quality is an important reason for choosing what brand of car to drive.
But we Americans also choose to drive cars simply because we like them. In my opinion, many European cars are better looking than American models. My daily driver is a 23 year old Jaguar. It has multiple problems and isn’t the most reliable car I’ve owned, but it sure looks good. And I enjoy it. That, to me, is more important than being true to American brands. In fact, I once ridiculed a Ford factory paint man for driving a Chrysler. He replied that he could do what he wanted with his money. I think that was a good answer.
“Buy American” is a good slogan. But the mantra rings a bit hollow when American brands aren’t producing a product that is quality or that people want. As with any product, people will buy it if it is good. But until the product is really what they want, no amount of patriotic speeches and political ramblings will change their minds. Tell GM, Chrysler and Ford to make quality, desirable products again and we’ll all have reason to “buy American” again.