I'll buy an American car when they actually make something I want. Without compelling full-size cars or decent SUVs, the American car industry has nothing unique or interesting for me. If Toyota offered their full-sized Century in the US, I'd spring out and buy it immediately. But US automakers have nothing like that anymore, they just make lower quality ripoffs of Toyota and Honda vehicles. I'll admit, they have gotten much better with quality and reliability recently, but they've gotten more obvious about what they're ripping off of at the same time.
The main topic you left out is the businesses and plants shuttered. I have been downsized twice. Maybe you have been lucky so far. Personally I don't see the benefit of having a vehicle with parts from Japan, China, Malaysia etc as a valid argument in helping our economy. Just because there are some plants today hiring people, it does not generate enough to displace what plants were lost. And if a corporate entity is going to grow its from orders overseas, they can reinvest into their own economy. In their respective country.
In the end, time will tell if your comments are valid. In 20-30 years when you retire, see if all this reinvestment has truly benefited you. In a really prosperous economy, you don't see so much unemployment.
What I find most embarrassing about many comments on these sites, that are read by a global audience, is the image they give the world of a nation that cares nothing about its own people or industries. Almost daily we see American citizens advocating the destruction of their own industries and the livelihoods of millions of Americans.
The American auto industry employs millions of Americans directly or indirectly. To advocate their destruction is very difficult to understand. In 2009 fully nine out of ten jobs in the automotive industry in the U.S. were provided by American-owned companies. Even after the recession resulted in some plant closings, the vast majority of auto-related jobs in the U.S. are still made possible by Ford and GM.
Nor is quality an issue. Modern domestic cars and trucks are the best in the world.
I'm ashamed that my own country is probably the only country in the world where its citizens openly and publicly cheer on the destruction of their own companies.
We bought a Corvette and a Viper, which are American made vehicles. Funny - we have absolutely zero complaints. Both American made vehicles we wanted. Life is good.
Just because a car might have an American badge stuck on the front, doesn't mean happy workers in a US plant were merrily sticking it together does it? Nobody has ever been able to successfully counter the fact that something like over 60% of the import brand cars and trucks sold in the US are also MADE in the US. Who do you think makes those cars? Why - it's American workers, that's who. Who makes American cars made in another country? Non Americans. Somehow this glaring fact is always omitted from any counterargument.
Nobody said anything about anyone gleefully wanting the failure of the American auto industry. If anything, that assertion should be re-directed towards the thought that perhaps if hey - they hadn't spent years making totally crappy and unreliable products that failed to meet the quality standards of various Japanese brands, then perhaps they would have been in a better position.
We as American consumers have the right to buy what we want. That's how our economy works. Planned, closed economies don't work. period. But in any regard, I will agree - American automakers have made HUGE improvements with their product. So now they are doing much, much better and they are not only selling more cars, but hiring more American workers. It's simple. If you make a good product, then people will buy, and the more people who buy, the more workers you hire. That's what free capitalism is all about.
But more importantly, the reason that American cars are now so much better is due to international competition. Competition reduces complacency and encourages innovation and quality. So in the end, the consumer wins and ultimately so too does the company and its workers. So instead of blaming import brands, perhaps thank them instead for helping the US auto industry get out of a rut.
The fact that I would now very happily buy an American car and from a variety of models I think should be a clear indication that they are doing the right thing the right way. When I was in high school and even right up until maybe 6-7 years ago? Not a chance. They made a lot of really crappy cars, as well as cars that lacked hardly any appeal to me. I wasn't alone in that thought either. But now they've made a total 360 degree turnaround. But to be clear, this has never had anything to do with nationalism. Its strictly about the product. So stop blaming imports and the people who buy them for the situation with the American auto industry. It's about the company who builds the best product wins.
Again, corporate gets to cash the big check in whatever country they are at. Maybe look at the big picture and the entire pie.
I have owned full size, very reliable domestics since the 60s, mostly GM V8s. In turn I have owned Hondas as well with V6s. They let us down, especially drive trains and weak transmissions. I find Toyotas to be very bland and not a consideration.
People want inexpensive MPG cars where they turn the key and go. The economy is really in a decline. Having a few neighbors that work in scattered plants from overseas is not growth in my opinion. But if you are prosperous and getting large annual raises, it shows we are wrong. Spend it however you wish. I have several family members, some well educated, that were downsized. It could perhaps happen to you.
I stopped buying imports because they just were not as reliable or well built as our domestics. And that was in the 80's and 90's when domestics were supposed to be "crappy" according to import propaganda.
I now buy only domestics, not only because they are much better, but because I know the difference between "foreign industry" and "domestic industry", which apparently many people still don't understand.
The economy hasn't been growing at all for the past 6 years or so. It's just government propaganda so you don't lose hope in them. The truth is that they have no interest in benefiting the majority of the people, and would rather see the majority of Americans suffer than prosper; much easier to control them that way.
Taking just cars out of your comments; look at other products such as appliances. The labor costs overseas are an even bigger factor than quality. If quality was the issue, it would not be a throwaway society. I see products full of plastic that burns up and goes to the curb. Free trade works if you can compete against China for example. I would buy a cheap econo import, and when it needs a trans or engine, scrap it at a junkyard. Quality to me is products that last and can be easily serviced, not thrown away. It's pretty hard to compete with the Internet with a thousands of guys in a garage that just answer email or a phone. And no physical building, employees and more taxes to pay.