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Import Cars vs. Domestic Cars. Which are better?


With so many foreign manufacturers building vehicles in North America, the line between import cars and domestic vehicles has become blurred.

Did you know Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and other import brands build many of their vehicles in North America? Domestic manufacturers such as General Motors and Ford build cars all over the globe including Asia and Europe. Today more than ever, there is a global focus in the automotive industry.

Import cars such as the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord are built in the United States, while many components of the Chevrolet Malibu such as the platform of the car, were originally designed in Europe. It would be foolish to assume all foreign cars are well built, and all domestic vehicles lack quality. This way of thinking is no longer relevant. As companies continue to grow, it is the management and business culture which shape how cars are engineered and built.

There are some differences between domestic vehicles and import cars. However, the difference is no longer as great as it once was. For example, JD Power has awarded many GM production facilities with awards in regards to quality. In 2004, General Motors received the Gold and Silver Plant quality awards beating Toyota, Honda, and Nissan amongst others. Mercury produced the highest ranking large car in terms of initial quality. Dodge produced the highest ranked full size pickup in initial quality according to JD Power and Associates. The list goes on.

To make things more complicated, Korean manufacturers such as Kia and Hyundai are becoming more and more competitive as well. In fact, the Hyundai Sonata has received various awards regarding its high quality. Hyundai and Kia also provide very extensive bumper to bumper and powertrain warranties.

Over the last decade, the quality gap between Japanese and American car manufacturers has narrowed significantly. However, American vehicles continue to depreciate more quickly than their Japanese and German competition. As a consumer, this affects you in two ways. When buying a new car, it is likely that within three years an American vehicle will lose its value more quickly then one made by Toyota, Honda or Volkswagen. However, it will also cost less to buy due to increased incentives.

When buying a used car, a domestic vehicle will be cheaper and according to many industry analysts, will have been produced to very high, and competitive quality standards. Therefore you will find a high quality car at a reduced cost.

A buyer’s focus should not be on where the car is from, but if the vehicle meets their personal expectations.

Whether you are buying an import car or a domestic car, always check its reliability and dependability through organizations such as JD Power and Associates or Consumer Guide.

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