Good afternoon dear readers and welcome back to Made In America! This is Ken Baxter of Las Vegas and today is Friday, June 19th, 2015. After spending several fun-filled days out on the boat in California this week, Linda and I drove the usual four hour commute back home to Las Vegas. With not much to see in the desert and internet service spotty at best, my eyes began to wander to all the new cars on the road. Sleek shapes and all the latest models, hot colors and sharp designs; I must say my chest swelled with pride as I noticed the nicest ones were American made!
As you recall, a few months back we wrote a very informative blog about the new American automobile in support of U.S. manufacturing and the dazzling future of the auto industry here at home. With all the amazing improvements to modern U.S. motor vehicles, including: superior safety technology, more luxurious styling, increased gas mileage, and advanced reliability, we are very proud to back American made brands like Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler in their pursuit of vehicle design perfection. Yet, in order to achieve our mission to “Be American, Buy American” we must answer the questions on every consumer’s mind when they visit their local car dealer, research new models online, and view the latest sales ads – how much do they cost and how do they compare to the foreign cars available today?
Patriotic spending does sound good. Just the thought of keeping our taxpayer money in our own economy and supporting our own workers and businesses is admirable in itself. Yet for most people, it is just a fleeting thought since so much of our economy relies on international trade, global competition, and foreign manufacturers nowadays. After all, most of the goods currently sold in stores across American have made In China labels, don’t they? Well Made In America is here today to tell you that we CAN improve our economy just by seeking out those US made products and committing to buy American again!
There was a time many years ago when you would be hard pressed to find anything made in Taiwan or India or anywhere else for that matter. In fact, one stop shops selling everything from lunchmeat to televisions did not exist and people relied on retailers who specialized in whatever you were looking for. Those Mom and Pop shops did not import anything if it was more than a few states over and you knew just about everything you bought was American made. Not so today my friends, foreign companies are fiercely competitive here in the US and especially in the auto industry.
In fact, the three largest foreign car manufacturers, Japan’s Toyota brand, the French-Japanese merger Nissan-Renault, and Germany’s Volkswagen group hold three of the four top spots in global sales. With 10.23 million new cars sold last year, Toyota took home the crown of World’s Largest Automaker in 2014, besting both Volkswagen and GM (second and third, respectively) for the third year in a row.
American consumers are savvy though; they know what they want and they’ve done their homework to get the best deal. The good news is that while global sales of those foreign brands are up, American car brands are giving them a run for their money here in the United States. A recent report in Car and Driver magazine shared that Toyota finished second at 2.06 million sales behind Ford’s 2.39 million and just ahead of Chevrolet’s 2.03 million in America, leaving U.S. automakers in two of the top three spots.
That’s no fluke my friends, that’s renewed American quality shining through. Let’s take a look at some popular American and foreign 2015 models to see how they rate based on popular reviews in categories like quality, style, pricing, and fuel efficiency:
The 2015 Ford Focus offered at a starting price of $18,000 is an economical, budget friendly and gas saving vehicle which CarandDriver.com describes as a “practical, playful companion offering a rare blend of agility and accuracy.” Its stellar fuel efficiency rated at 26 mpg city and 36 mpg highway give this tough little car an edge over its competitors. A handsome build and a load of standard features make the Focus a great value for the money earning it an overall score of 8.3 from U.S. News.
A 2015 Kia Soul, commonly ranked number 6 out of 42 compact cars on the market, earns an overall score of 8.4 from U.S. News for its intriguing design, high end interior materials, and numerous options. With a 24 mpg city and 30 mpg highway rating, the fuel economy is so-so yet the low starting price of $15,000 may make up for that. CarandDriver.com calls the Soul “eye-catching” and gives it good marks for agility and a refined suspension.
Why Buy American: The Focus’s lively handling, first-rate interior materials, and upgraded standard features like the SYNC voice control system and rearview cameras make this little car a winner in its class. TheCarConnection.com praised its optional high-mileage, three-cylinder engine and revamped cabin and says it “remains one of the best-driving small cars on the market” and at a reasonable price tag too.
Premium Electric/Hybrid Vehicles:
The Tesla Model S is an ultra-premium evolution in automobile engineering, offering a top of the line all-electric motor, the highest safety rating in America, and a 270 mile range on a single charge. Sleek styling, impressive handling, and futuristic options make the Model S a truly unique choice for luxury buyers while also offering excellent savings due to the electric engine at a $71,000 starting price. Rated #1 out of 10, not only for electric vehicles but also for large luxury vehicles, reviewers feel the Model S’s low center of gravity contributes to its supreme handling, smooth ride, and precise steering. All that and extra cargo room due to the space saving electric system, this sedan is an excellent investment and a true feat of modern engineering, earning it an impressive 9.4 out of 10 on U.S. News’ Best Cars Report.
BMW’s futuristic looking i8 model is at the top of its game with swan-wing doors, shark-nose grill, and ultra-luxurious interior. Though not an all-electric engine, this hybrid plug-in charges in 1.5 hours and offers a top speed of 155 mph yet only so-so fuel economy when utilizing its three-cylinder engine at 28 city and 29 highway mpg. CarandDriver.com says “if Los Angeles were a car, this would be it” due to its flashy, attention-grabbing personality and instant celebrity status at a hefty price tag of around $136,500.
Why buy American: Tesla’s commitments to superb quality control, top-notch customer service, and seamless engineering are tantamount to its success. With all the trimmings Tesla offers, the Model S is number one in the electric market and will continue to be the top pick for the foreseeable future…or until the latest Tesla model arrives! Popularmechanics.com reports that a new, more economical version of their electric vehicles will be released in 2016 just before the 2017 production year. The Tesla Model 3 will be valued around $35,000 and is expected to be 20% smaller than a Model S while still offering at least a 200 mile range utilizing the supercharge system.
The key to Tesla Motors success is their unwavering commitment to the American economy by manufacturing all their vehicles right here in the USA and spearheading other visionary endeavors aimed at improving our advantage over foreign competition. In fact, Tesla has already begun construction on the Gigafactory, where producing batteries for sustainable transportation in sufficient volume will force change in the automobile industry on the whole. This forward thinking vision is why Tesla is Made In America’s top pick and our favorite US automaker.
The Toyota Camry, one of the best-selling vehicles in the world, is endorsed for delivering steady handling and user friendly technology but offers less power and fuel efficiency than expected, receiving up to 25 city/35 highway mpg, a bit low for its class. Starting at around $23,000, reviewers felt the cabin was bland and though quiet, comfortable, and extraordinarily reliable, it was not notably more fun to drive than other similar models and earns an overall 8.8 out of 10 score from a recent U.S. News report.
A top contender in 2015 is the redesigned Chrysler 200, which Autotrader.com says has corrected nearly every flaw of the last model year, making it a truly impressive offering from an American automaker. With a starting price tag of $22,500, it beats out the Camry not only in price but offers superb highway fuel economy of 36 mpg, with city mpg par for the class at 23 mpg. Test drivers reported precise steering, powerful safety features, and especially enjoyed the 200’s high-end stylish materials in its interior. The top of the line “Uconnect” information system, rated as the best technology feature in its class, earns this car an 8.2 out of 10 overall from U.S. News.
Why Buy American: Autotrader.com says the 200 is “Chrysler’s pivotal moment, their Sammy joins Van Halen, Rachel marries Ross, Dylan goes electric moment…because the 200 is so good that it will forever change the way you think of Chrysler and will have you questioning the features, prominence, and performance of every other mid-sized sedan on the road.” Enough said.
The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, says KBB.com, feels like it should actually cost more, giving high marks for blending luxury and performance with soft curves and smooth integrated lines at a starting price of around $41,500. One of the few luxury sedans offering standard all-wheel drive, the C-Class gets 24 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, average compared to others in its price range yet still named “the one to beat” as a Best Buy award winner for all its luxurious trappings at a modest luxury budget. U.S. News ranks it as number 2 of 14 in its class and gives it an overall 8.9 out of 10 rating.
Another Kelley Blue Book award winner, the 2015 Cadillac CTS, has been touted as a fine blend of style, comfort, technology, and performance. Starting at around $45,000 and averaging 20 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, this model particularly appeals to the new generation of buyers coming into the luxury market with its edgy, angular styling and attractive technology features like “DockSpot” wireless phone charging, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and an automated parking feature earning the new CTS an outstanding overall score of 9.2 out of 10 in its class from U.S. News.
Why Buy American: It’s a tough competition from the Mercedes, but the winner is the Cadillac CTS. Ranked #1 out of 17 in upscale mid-sized cars, the CTS has the best reviews and test drive scores of all the vehicles in its class. Reliability, space, and safety were rated very highly as well, so for a buyer in that price range the $3500 difference between the Mercedes and the Cadillac is well worth the investment.
Mazda’s 2015 CX-9 reviewers felt the ample engine power, dependable transmission, and precise shifting earned it a nod for best crossover SUV for the money, starting at around $30,000. Critics thought the sleek exterior styling, good gas mileage at 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway, and ample legroom were attractive features however the limited cargo space and antiquated infotainment system detracted from its appeal. An Edmunds.com review noted it was “still a consumer favorite but starting to show it’s age.”
From the General Motors family of vehicles, Chevrolet Traverse’s 2015 model counts massive passenger and cargo capacity, a smooth ride, and top crash-test scores among its strengths. In combining the road presence and outward visibility of an SUV with the space of a minivan, the crossover has become the latest consumer trend due to its increased fuel efficiency over truck-based models. The powerful V6 engine, rearview camera, and “MyLink” infotainment system are just some of the many standard features offered at the starting price of only $31,000 and earning this crossover an A from Edmunds.com buying guide.
Why Buy American: Chevy Traverse may offer only average fuel efficiency at 17 mpg city and 24 mpg highway but it does offer many other advanced features available in their 2015 model including a 10 speaker Bose stereo system and collision, blind spot, and lane departure warning systems. Automobile Magazine says “it’s a winner and we won’t be surprised if this excellent vehicle helps itself to an even greater share of the large crossover segment.”
As you can see, American car manufacturers face stiff competition from foreign brands in the auto world today…which is not necessarily a bad thing. The latest American models, of which these are only a small sample of all the impressive, innovative technology out there, offer more dynamic features than ever before due to their drive to meet savvy consumers’ expectations for what a vehicle can and should be in the 21st century. The great thing about owning a Ford, GM, Chrysler, or any other American car is that by purchasing USA made, we keep our economy humming, help support US workers, while also keeping more money in our pocketbooks. After all, maintenance and upkeep for foreign cars can become pretty costly due to the expense and availability of foreign parts.
Not only is it cheaper to own an American vehicle, but it’s a lot more fun. Quality is definitely up too, with long-time opponents like Toyota and Nissan forcing USA automakers to bring their A-game in order to stay competitive in a saturated market. Some of the top performing vehicles available today are American made: Chevy Camaro, Dodge Charger, and Ford Mustang are all muscle, all affordable, and all American!
While there are many aesthetically pleasing foreign models out there to choose from as well, American cars will always have something intrinsically offered in their purchase that no foreign car can, and that is pride of ownership. Just by owning American, you know you are a part of something bigger, something sweeter even than the humming of your powerful V6 under the hood; you’ve got confidence that you are fueling the economy just by coasting that classy new automobile through the winding highways and byways of America’s heartland and driving the success of American manufacturing all at the same time.
For more information on everything we do to help keep manufacturing in America and how you can help fuel America’s economy through Patriotic Spending, please visit us at www.MIANV.org. Post some comments on our Twitter and Facebook pages as well…we’d love to hear from you!
Have a fabulous weekend my friends…Be American, Buy American!