Why I Drive An American Car

I didn’t always drive American cars.

About five years ago I woke up one day with the realization that any purchase I make directly impacts people in my neighborhood, my town, my state. Plus, I expected and hoped my fellow Michiganders would choose to shop in my stores, support charities I believe in and otherwise contribute to the well-being of our community – but I didn’t behave the same way in return. My purchases weren’t governed by a local-business-first focus, looking for the quality, service or selection in products made close to home before turning to sources from afar, because I didn’t believe one person could make a difference.

I was wrong.

My epiphany came as I stood on slick-top pavement in a moon-lit night, waiting for my car after a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

I stood with General Motors Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz, watching foreign car after foreign car drive away into the rain-slicked night. He turned to me as those foreign luxury vehicles peeled out of the parking lot and said, “How many people realize that when they buy an American luxury vehicle, they’re providing work for a dozen people for at least a week?”

Before then, I hadn’t felt in my bones the direct connection between the car I drive and the people in my hometown being in, or out, of a job. Many of my friends had told me so, but I didn’t listen – friends from other countries, shaking their heads in disbelief at the thought of neglecting one’s homeland.

I see it now.

And I feel it in my heart.

It struck me that night that I expected all of these people to support my local causes – ALS of Michigan for one – with their presence and their pocketbooks . Why didn’t I expect the same from them with regard to the place that gave us life and ensured our freedom of consumer choice?

I don’t even remember what kind of car I was driving, but the next day I bought a Cadillac STS and loved it. All of my preconceived notions that foreign cars were better-made and were longer-lasting, well, they proved untrue.

As a son of the Motor City, I can honestly say that for years, I found it easy to look across the ocean and see nothing bad in a car born overseas– a rose-colored view of the exotic promise of a place I didn’t know the texture of or the smells. I can describe the air-clear scent of the Detroit River and the open-sky echo of children on a summer day on Belle Isle, but I couldn’t tell you about the rapid plod of workers’ footsteps in a Korean, German, Bavarian or Japanese town or the series of sunset hues in their dusk.

Intimacy doesn’t always breed loyalty. In my own backyard, I could hurl the easiest accusations, based on nothing factual at all, and believe them true.

It’s harder to see a beautiful thing from close up.

My Cadillac is a superior vehicle in every way. Yes, I feel duty-bound and even intellectually-motivated to buy American, but I have to say that I buy American cars first and foremost because I know I’m getting a great product crafted by hands I know and with whom I share a destiny.

Plus, as I drive down the road, I feel like I’m part of a secret society of people taking care of one another.

Of course, any car you buy locally and drive off a lot owned by a guy who lives on your block means you’re in some way supporting local commerce. Still, it’s infinitely compelling to know that 100% of the car I drive was created, assembled and finessed just a few miles from where I live. Dozens of Michiganders took part in the creation of my vehicle, from concept to the moment I drove it off the lot.

American cars have a long illustrious history. It’s OUR history, for we come from a place of innovation and belief in the discovery, invention and possibility of great things.


Comments

Why I Drive An American Car — 86 Comments

  1. Thank you, for writing this blog. I know there are many in the community who have worked hard here in Detroit, building the best cars money can buy. We need more people like you to get the word out that Americans Work when Americans Buy American. As a result of this you have gained a New Customer.

  2. I have owned only American autos my entire life and have bought only GM products for the past 30 years. The quality has always been excellent and the company support is wonderful. I feel very confident purchasing from GM and cannot conceive of the US without its General Motors. Many years ago I considered a foreign vehicle for image and prestige purposes but couldn’t bring myself to do it – felt I was being a disloyal American. Thanks for this blog. Hope millions read it.

  3. Jim:
    Well said. I cringe at the number of foreign products I see on our roads. There are still a few foreign cars with higher quality, but the ones that are have higher price tags. We have recently seen the research reports stating american cars now match or exceed foreign car quality and recall numbers for those cars are rising.
    I just purchased a GMC in October and it exceeded all of my expectations. There was absolutely noyhing wrong with it and ride handling also exceeded my epectations. These are not the cars of the 80`s when recalls were common and it seemed every car had a flaw upon delievery. I managed a fleet of forty cars, so I know what I am talking about. The big three are turning out the best quality they have ever turned out. Right now is a critical time in their history and they need out support. They will not disappoint you. We need americans to support 3 12 million workers in these hard times.

  4. I was in my 30’s, driving a BMW …….my 4 children were almost grown…..Now it was my turn to work out, vacation down South, spend time w/ friends, enjoy eating meals out and basically be a “lady of leisure.”
    Divorce came suddenly and my secure little world changed abruptly.

    Why does it always take a forceful blow of some kind to change me? I don’t know.
    What I do know is that change is not easy but it is necessary for growth, be it spiritual, mental or physical.
    My city has received a similiar blow, change is in the air and we can all feel it.
    I drive a Jeep, I support American made products and I shop at Hiller’s.
    I have changed in many ways for the better. I am confident Michigan will too.

  5. Jim: Amen and huge kudos to you. I live in South Carolina but have always driven GM, Ford, and Chrysler vehicles with a tendency toward Fords for the last 15 years. Quality is on par or better in many cases than the foreign brands my neighbors drive and just as you stated, I feel a sense of pride in keeping fellow Americans employed and “advertising” a true American brand when I drive down the road. Just as Michaela above says, I hope tens, even hundreds of millions of Americans read this. This same sort of thinking needs to trickle down to the store shelves, especially the likes of Wal-Mart, who no longer “buys American so you can too”. It’s the true way to rebuild a sustainable American economy.

  6. Jim: Bless you Jim and a heartful thank you. My wife was an automotive engineer making a solid middle class income. Shortly after 9-11 that came to an end. With a bachelors in engineering today she is an assistant retail manager making half of what she did. I also have been severly impacted in my tooling sales to the automotive industry. I recently left the auto related business to sell plumbing products. However since I still sell in Michigan my business has recently been severly impacted. LOL I thought I could escape…gotcha ya! My wife and I survive and manage. We reside on the east side without any reasonable access to a Hillers Market. However if you plan to locate to the Utica Area, and we ever venture your way we will shop at your market because of your business practice. You can bank on that my fellow American! Thank you and a happy holidays to you and your family. Thank you sir.

  7. Jim, Thank you for being a proud American and supporting the American auto industry. My husband is retired from G.M. and we welcome your support. We live in Livonia and often shop at your store. Perhaps the Southern states that are supporting the foreign industry over that of American should keep in mind what products they ship over their state lines. Fish, tobacco and produce. If the rust-belt population were to turn their back on them, where would they be? While I would not encourage you to boycott them it would be nice for signs to be posted in the store noting that a product came from Alabama for example. This way customers could send a clear message to these states.

  8. Jim, I am happy to read that you buy American made cars. I don’t understand all the hassle that the Big 3 have been given in DC over the proposed LOAN (bailout really bothers me, they are asking for a secure line of credit to be paid back) they are being treated like criminals when they have been the most responsible group of hard working Americans I can think of. People need to realize that even if a car is built in America the profits are going back to the owners country. I am truly gald you came to the realization and that you wrote this blog. My wife and I love to shop at your Northville store and we will continue to in the future. Buy American, buy Michigan!

  9. Dear Jim,
    AMEN! Well said, especially after the debacle (sp?) this week in Washington!!!
    I shop at your Commerce Township store at 14 and Haggerty

    Teresa

  10. im, your Cadillac is a piece of garbage, and you are delusional or stupid if you believe otherwise!!
    GM has made garbage for at least 40 years, and they deserve to implode and to go away – and the US will be a better place!

    I have not owned an American POS car since I was young and stupid (1976) – and will never waste my $$ on one again.
    Spending money on an inferior product because it is made by overpaid, arrogant, sloppy American workers is lunacy.
    The market works if left alone. GM should go away!

  11. Jim,
    Thank you for buying American Cars. We have 4 Ford cars in our family. These cars are superb.
    Americans need to realize that if they don’t buy American , who will be left to buy anything if we don’t produce anything.
    Also, people don’t realize that buying American cars benefits everyone in USA, regardless if you work for the big 3 or not.
    Why do we all the tax breaks, free land and money for the foreign companies to build factories here, but we don’t support our own.
    Tammy

  12. Jim,

    You have made many people think about who and what they support. We have to support our families, neighbors our friends – those that need us the most. But, most importantly, we need to start right here at home supporting our Michigan businesses. That will do more than anything to get us going again.

    Thanks, as always of thinking of others!

    Sue B.
    ALS of Michigan

  13. Thanks for putting this so eloquently. I no longer live in Michigan, but I grew up there. My father is retired from GM. Grandfather, uncles, brothers-in-law, all directly in the auto industry, some for the Big 3, some for suppliers. I drove American vehicles all my life until 2006. That year I was looking to trade in my Chevy pickup truck for something that got good mileage, since my commute is long. After a lot of looking around, I settled on a Honda Civic. At the time, there just wasn’t anything the Big 3 were making in that class that I really wanted. I also bought my wife a GMC Yukon in the same year. The thing that struck me about my two purchases was this: Both vehicles were made in America (the Civic in Ohio, the Yukon in Texas), but the Yukon’s American parts content was only 53%, while the Civic’s was 70%. I wish that weren’t the case.

    I love my Civic, and though I’ve put nearly 65,000 miles on it in a very short time, it has never given me an ounce of trouble. And while it’s nothing against the car or the fine Americans who built it, I have decided it will be my last foreign vehicle. I have always felt a twinge of guilt about owning it, given that General Motors and the UAW kept food on our table and a roof over our heads growing up, but now with The General and Ford and Chrysler floundering as they are, I feel like a traitor. If I could afford to trade it in tomorrow (and if I thought I could get a car loan) I’d do it, probably for a Chevy Malibu or Ford Taurus. Sadly, I’m subject to the same economic climate everyone else is, and I just can’t do it right now.

    So I’ll keep driving my Civic, and secretly wishing it were a Chevrolet or Ford, and hoping to God that when the time comes that I’m able to change vehicles the Big 3 will still be around to build me one. I will buy one from them with pride. Meanwhile, I’m doing the next best thing I can – I’ve poured thousands into GM and Ford stock. It’s my showing of faith in them; my expression of my belief that they can and will pull out of this crisis they’re in.

    Or that if they burn, that I’m willing to burn with them.

    -Bill Kocik
    Charles Town, WV

  14. Thank you to everyone who gets it.

    To BKB MD:
    You are entitled to your opinion – even if it’s wrong.

    As Winston Churchill said: “The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.”

  15. Jim,

    I appreciate your conversion, understand it and support it. While I too have purchased both foreign and domestic autos over the years, I have not entirely come to the same conclusion you have.
    I remember the terrible cars of the 70’s and 80’s that the Big 3 produced – i recall my widowed Mother having to deal with American vehicle after American vehicle that were designed and sold with very little care for quality and the customer’s best interest. We eventually converted to Honda’s and Toyota’s in the 80’s due to a seemingly arrogant US auto industry who took customers for granted. But we did buy a Saturn, Olds Achieva, Aztek, Yukon, Windstar, Pacifica and various other vehicles (including some Imports) in the years since. Those American cars were (in my opinion) definitely inferior to the import counterparts of the time. So I tried to buy American and usually got burned – it seemed that the culture of “make money on the sale and more on the service” was still in effect at the Big 3. The leasing fad only served to hide the quality issue over the past few years as many American car buyers never kept them past the warranty period anyway.
    I am impressed lately with American cars and thin the quality has definitely gone up to equal or better (in some cases) than the imports. BUT – I am still wary of the “good old boys” at the Big 3 and some of their seemingly shady dealer network (i mean some of these dealers are still using 1979 style sales tactics).
    While you can probably afford to experiment with, and support the Big 3, many people cannot take the chance – it is just too big a purchase to gamble your hard earned money on and many of us do not have to rub elbows with Bob Lutz and worry about what car we are driving.
    All that being said – I truly hope the US automakers survive and thrive – I would love to drive an American vehicle again but I will not put my money in Lutz’s pocket and spend my work days in the service department haggling about service (even if it is covered by warranty). I think therein lies the problem – the trust has been broken with the customers long ago and it is just too expensive a purchase to take a chance again. The only time the Big 3 have even admitted they screwed customers is now when they need our money.
    Again, I hope they survive and CHANGE but I am not sure the old guard at Ford, GM and Chrysler are modern thinking enough to turn this around and that is sad. Besides what is foreign nowadays? Cars have parts from so many areas, how can we tell. I wish the Big 3 would stop trying to play to our patriotism and fear and just make a damn good car, at a decent price and stand behind it. I really like what they are doing lately but it is going to take more than “buy American” to get me to trust them again. Maybe some new leadership from outside the auto circle is what is needed.

    BTW, my current vehicle is the only “import” made here in Michigan by UAW hands.

  16. I think what matters now is how to keep american jobs.
    American government should increase taxes to a very high level for foreign products so foreign companies would transfer their plants to and create more jobs in the USA.
    I remember when in the 70´s, my father bought a Toastmaster bread toaster that was “made in USA”: it was so good we used it for 30 years without a problem…and lately my father bought a toaster “made in China” and we used it less than a month and it´s broken ! And many other products “made in USA”, much better than any other made in foreign lands.
    I believe in american workforce and american industry and I agree with Jim when he says: “we come from a place of innovation and belief in the discovery, invention and possibility of great things”.
    I miss those times when GM produced so different and beautiful cars specially in the 60´s and 70´s in so different styles.
    I still prefer american design than any other: the new Chevy Malibu, the Cadillac STS and DTS…
    I am not american, my parents are japanese, I love the american people and what I appreciatte is how american people are broadminded and buy imported products without prejudice: if the product is good, they buy it. BUT NOW is not a matter of being prejudice, but AMERICAN people: please buy american products to protect your COMMUNITY and help each other because a neighbour of yours that loose a job COULD BE YOUR RELATIVE and America needs to protect local jobs URGENTLY !
    The american Congress should seriously think about it and should increase the taxes for imported products and give incentives to american companies to bring jobs back to USA instead of China.
    Nothing against China or its people, but when I last traveled to USA in 2005 I noticed everything I saw in Department stores where “made in China” EVERYTHING: from electronics to Golf Clubs and even american brands like Black & Decker…of course: because the labor costs the World is in China, but it´s time to change, and I feel safe to buy American made product more than many other even japanese ones (all of my SONY devices “made in China” is broken only 2 years of using).
    AMERICANS believe: yes YOU can !
    GM, FORD and CHRYSLER can not be abandoned, even if in the past they failed with american car buyers concerning quality and after sales attention…but IT IS TIME TO SAVE AMERICAN JOBS and I believe american cars are getting better more than ever. Cadillac in my opinion is much more beautiful than BMW, Mercedes and Lexus, I don´t remember driving a car more comfortable than the Cadillac De Ville I drove in the 90´s when I traveled to USA, Cadillacs are really good and I remember I drove 6 hours long without being tired, a very comfortable seat, a genuine american project, very reliable and the opposite of what many specialized press say: I don´t feel the LEXUS seats are better than Cadillac´s, I drove a Caddillac and I can tell you: Cadillac is Cadillac !!!!!!!!
    God bless you all.

  17. This is not a racial nor political issue. I don’t suggest that there are any greater implications other than flawed judgment when you fail to support the work of your neighbors , friends and community.

  18. Jim,

    What a great testimonial. It is a refreshing and enthusiastic realization that many of us Americans need to come to. America needs to take its’ country back. For too long now, Americans have allowed jobs to go overseas while the majority of us sat back and enjoyed what seemed to be a booming economy. Meanwhile, millions of jobs have gone overseas and along with it, billions of tax dollars. It is scary that the people we have elected to office to represent our Country and the American people have failed so miserably. They are the ones we look up to, to take care of business. The grotesque fall of the financial world has politicians written all over it. If all of us do not wake up and support our own Country in every way, then shame on us when we fail and are owned by foreign entities. More Americans need to research who they are voting for and putting in office to make decisions for them. And after voting them into office, we need to hold them accountable for their voting decisions. Buying American and supporting our local business communities is a start. Again, thank you for your support and enthusiasm for America.

  19. I’ve always driven either a Ford or a Chevy. Even though I did get one really bad lemon of a Taurus once.

    My next door neighbor works for Ford. He spent several years in Denver because that was the only way he could work for Ford, and now he is back in Dallas.

    We drive TWO Fords, partly because of his family and friends discount, partly because the dealership has treated us well (we’ve bought 4 cars from them), and partly because I like Fords, especially Ford SUVs.

    I’ve had an LN7, the lemonly Taurus, a Fiesta, a Sport Explorer, and now the Escort and the Focus. Come think of it, only one Chevy!

    I wouldn’t think of buying foreign.

  20. I’m grateful as well to you for posting a much needed message. I cannot tell you how heartbreaking it has been for many of us employees to see how mean spirited Americans can actually be – A good examble is blogger “BKB MD”. Certainly the mean comments we have seen so often now stop me from wondering why many people hate Americans. To live in this country and not even a shred of sympathy for millions lof Americans losing their jobs and years of working hard for a livelihood they stand to lose – with an irrational attitude is just sad. I think BKB MD should go to China or India to consult with
    a real doctor.

    Ciao,

  21. Jim, I have worked in the auto industry for over 30 years. 15 years has been in Michigan. I have long wondered why many Michiganders have taken so long to realize the coming impact of their decisions not to support the domestic auto industry. Affluent doctors, lawyers, politicians, and other professionals did not support the industry that in most cases was the direct source of the income that allowed them to purchase the Consumer’s Report best buy, or Motor Trend hottest.

    It has been said that the customer is always right. In fact, it has been said all too often that the Big Three forgot about the customer hence the current status of the domestic auto industry. When I see the current state of the neighborhoods such as Novi, West Bloomfield, Clarkston, and Troy it is obvious to me why the many professionals who forgot about their patients, clients, subscribers, and constituents have these neighborhoods and the entire state in decline.

    I come from an era when you bought what you made so that you can keep the food on the table. So it has never been a question for me what car to buy. But it has always given me glee when it was my time to drive and the passenger commented about roominess and comfort of the Cadillac DTS compared to their Mercedes and how amazing that I could make dinner reservations using Onstar driving my Pontiac G6. These educated, media savvy people could not believe that an american car made in Detroit could be the equal or surpass the import that they had been convinced was superior. However; they had never taken the time to test drive or comparison shop. In other word’s they believed what had been told or in some cases not told. I am reminded of the fable ” The Emperor’s New Clothes”.

    I am heartened and delighted by the conversation that is going on relative to Buy American since it may get some people to at least “TRY AMERICAN”. However; if it takes the rest of America as long as it has taken many in Michigan to realize that we indeed need to buy what we make to keep food on the table then the Emperor will not only be naked but unemployed.

    I am not an advocate of protectionism. I am not scared of the competition, I am not fooled by the biased media because I work my heart out trying to build the best vehicle at the lowest price because that guarantees job security. I am proud to work alongside the latest incarnation of the auto worker that the media never talks about.

    I worked in the industry during the 80’s and 90’s. What we have today is different, vastly different. The pay and benefits are lower and the work is much harder. Most of todays pundits on the industry could not and would not do the work that these new age workers do. They know that they have to be the best in order to survive. This has been driven further home by the relentless media attacks on their work ethic as well as the so-called mismanagement by their leadership.

    I will say again that I am proud of what I do because I know the quality of product we produce. I know the people who make these cars. I am ashamed of how our own country has not only shackled the industry with this unfair media circus called bailout for a loan, but how our reputation is being tarnished in the process. It is called adding insult to injury. This is unreasonable.

    I have no doubt that the domestic auto industry will prevail.

    The quality is there.

    Drive one you will see.

    I have been to Hiller’s many times and I can’t wait to go there again next week.

  22. Jim,

    As a GM employee I really appreciate your blog! You latest radio spots and this blog are a tribute to the type of person you must be……

    Thanks again for the support!

    (FYI, I love the White Fish Pate’ at your 14mile store)

  23. After reading this blog, the first thing I did is look at your ad, and I am delighted there is a location in Berkley (very close to home). I then read your other blogs. Great perspectives and enlightenment.

    Paying it forward is sometimes not an obvious act. Buying local to support each other is one of those acts. The good thing is American automobiles are par or better than those from foreign owned companies, but the issue extends beyond cars. Our economy is weak because of our buying habits in general. Job loss from every sector of the economy has come from buying ‘outside’. It is snowballing and climaxing with the severe decline in credit, home sales, and, yes, auto sales.

    Because we can buy cutlery made in China so much cheaper, the resulting job loss in America quickly defrays that savings. Yes, I buy American, when I can, and that opportunity is waning.

  24. Jim,first of all thank you for supporting our company.I live in Oshawa ,Ontario and we don’t have a Hiller’s.After reading your story i can tell you if we had a Hiller’s I would be very proud to shop there.
    I have worked in this industry for some 22 years and have always been very proud of the products
    that we have assembled in our plants.Our plants have one numerous awards for quality and productivity and we proudly stand behind everything we build.

    Why is it,we as a human species would want to kick someone when they are down.I just read a great
    story by a Washington post writer that talked about how the American middle class worker’s life style
    that most enjoy today,was molded behind the leadership of Walter Reuther and the UAW.Is it wrong
    for people to want to be cared for when they are sick,or to have a benifit that helps them when they
    get laid off or loose a job.

    Over our history, Canada and the United States have enjoyed a great friendship,we are great trading parteners and the reason for all of this is,because our lifestyles are similar in a lot of ways.Is it wrong
    for some one to want to be able to care for thier family or is that something that should only be for the
    rich.

    We as North Americans started to let control of our lives slip away when we started to allow the things
    we produced be manufactured where ever it could be produced cheapest.Today,we see recalls on our
    toys,food,drugs,and much more that is being produced in countries that don’t have the same checks
    and balances that are manditory in our countries.

    We have to get back to the basic principles that these great countries were built on,buy what your
    neighbor builds,because in the end it helps you keep what you have.

    We are in one of the worst recessions since the great depression. If we can get people believing
    that if we buy what we produce and we make other countries like Japan,Korea,India,China,play by the same trade rules we play by,when it comes to trade,the recession will have been worth it.

    terry mcdonald

  25. I am a German citizen living in Germany. I can understand Americans who support American products by buying them. Up to a certain extent we do the same here. At the moment I am driving a Mercedes, and since the 80s I have bought exclusively German cars (BMW, VW, Audi, Mercedes). I am convinced of their quality as you are of the quality of American cars.
    In February 2008 I stayed in Florida for two weeks with my family. I rented a Cadillac DTS, because I always wanted to drive a big American limousine. And I was thrilled! It was pure luxury with a very high quality and performance. Back in Germany I asked for the price of a DTS at a local German dealer. The DTS is not available in Germany so I asked for an STS. I was shocked! The cheapest STS costs about 43,000 Euros, which is at the current rate $60,000! The model I drove in Florida would cost about $85,000 in Germany!
    And with prices of more than $6.00 of premium gas per gallon in Germany a car like a DTS would eat up most of my salary which is not bad at the moment. And a CO2 emission of nearly 300 grams per kilometer is hardly acceptable (I admit: There are also German cars with that high emission rate).
    You see, even top quality products cannot be sold if they don’t meet customer requirements and aren’t up to date.
    Despite my enthusiasm for the Cadillac I will not buy it because unfortunately it doesn’t meet necessary standards (among others, gas consumption and ecological necessities). And I think it’s the same with other (U.S.) cars.

    P.S. By the way, a very interesting blog.

  26. Jim,

    Well said. It is great to see so many responses that make an honest attempt to reply based on facts and experiences rather than emotion. To those consumers that justify the purchase of a domestically produced vehicle by a foreign company, please consider where the profits go. GM, Ford and Chrysler all sent aid and support to the victims of 9/11, Katrina and the Mississippi floods. If you take the time to research the amount of community support and charitable contributions made by Toyota and Honda it is clear that they are here to make a profit. They do not share their profits.

  27. In response to the comment by Charles Oldham –
    As a veteran of the automotive industry, you obviously know how much of a
    badge of pride it was in the ’50s and ’60s to drive around town in an
    American car. Even into the ’70s. But somewhere, many Americans, myself
    included, lost sight of that as we climbed corporate ladders and reveled in
    our new possessions. We are humbled now and reminded how important it is to
    honor our roots. No company produces a perfect product – there are beauties
    and there are lemons. But I’d rather stand by my hard-working neighbors,
    knowing, demonstrating, that we are in this together, for the long haul.

    I loved how you said it – “I come from an era when you bought what you made
    so that you can keep the food on the table”.

    The automakers have gone through their own cycles of brilliance and
    loss-of-shine. I do believe that their inevitable evolution is bringing them

    to the horizon of a veritable re-emergence as great car builders.
    Yours truly,
    Jim Hiller

  28. Just as I thought, you only post comments from people who agree with you and praise you. Plus a well-chosen negatives from people who can’t punctuate. Well, it’s your blog. At least the GM blog let some criticism through and it is truly preaching to the GM choir, over there.

    Government bailouts do much more harm than good. you’ll see.

  29. Jim,
    I share you sediments word for word. Like yourself I have always purchased American automobiles, we as Americans have to support each other. It seem like in this world enviorment that we live in today nobody cares about the guy next door or down the road. I feel that everyone should put themselves in the autoworkers shoes for a little while, or maybe the electronic industry that is no longer in this country. We have sold ourselves down the river. This younger generation is so brain washed with foreign automobiles and have never really owned the great cars that this country has built over the years. Yes they had some poor models but I think that it was bound to happen sooner or later. Also I feel that the Big Three have given Americans the cars that they have longed for, big, high horsepower,and classic cars.So we as Americans shouldn’t complain about gas guzzlers and emmisions.
    Thank you for the post and feeling that you have and maybe you were able to shed some light onto this situation and make more Americans realize what a great county we have and should be buying American made and owned products.

  30. Jim,

    I’m a part time automotive writer. One of the sites that I write for is The Truth About Cars, where I’m sort of the designated Detroit defender, a role I took because the site is unremittingly critical of Detroit and many of the people posting comments there have a healthy dose of Detroit hating going on.

    The editor of the site, Robert Farago, picked up on this post because it was quoted on the GM Inside Line blog, and is apparently unhappy with how GM is playing the “patriotism card” by quoting this blog post.

    If you want to see how steep the public relations hill is that Detroit, the companies and the people in the region have to climb, drop in and read some of the comments there. Some attack you personally. Apparently, spending your money locally, to help the folks in your own community, is a bad thing if it means helping out the Detroit automakers.

    Frankly, I think you should drop in to TTAC and let them know what you think.

    Here’s the link to the post:
    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/gm-plays-the-patriotism-card-again-still/#comment-1063891

    Ronnie Schreiber
    http://www.motorobilia.com

  31. On the one hand, it’s nearly heartbreaking to read letters from those in North American domestic auto industry communities because the travails of the North American domestic auto industry are going to have a broad impact on some decent people.

    On the other hand, it’s depressing to read letters from those in North American domestic auto industry communities because, in varying degrees, they transmit a sense of entitlement or betrayal or bewilderment and, sometimes, darker emotions.

    No one should be writing, “You must support us,” or “Supporting us supports you,” or “We’re just as good,” or “mean-spirited press,” or “Why are you doing this to us?” or any of that.

    Members of the North American auto industries have got to ask themselves some hard questions, especially when faced with notes like BKB’s… for example, “Where did we fail the customer?” and “What must we do to win back their trust?”

    Because this is what happened… Thirty years ago, foreign cars were a curiosity. EVERYONE had a strong domestic preference (many still do!). But the North American domestic auto industry did not continue to deliver value and satisfaction. The North American domestic auto industry slept while foreign competition came in, with better methods, better product and, working diligently, delivered better. And kept improving it.

    I used to buy domestic. Supporting the North American industry was a PRIORITY for me. But after particularly bad runs of “bad luck” with domestic cars, I discovered I got more for my money from certain brands of foreign cars. And while some small percentage of a dollar that I spend on the North American domestic auto industry comes back to me in some small way, a dollar that I kept in my pocket because I didn’t have to spend it on transmission rebuilds or something equally miserable and expensive (or on the hotel bills, towing and car rental that go along with being stranded with a dysfunctional vehicle on vacation) is there for me 100% of the time.

  32. My first car was a 1964 oldsmobile 98 at age 16. The second a 1971 buick Skylark with a 350 and 4 barrel carb at age 19. The third was a brand new 1979 chevette at age 20 that got 30mpg. The 4th was a 1983 Trans Am at age 24. The 5th was a 1986 Corvette at age 26. I never had a problem with any of these vehicles other than flat tires. The first 2 were used and the last 3 were showroom floor new.

    In fact, I test drove a 1986 Porsche 944 and 911 when I comparison shopped against the Corvette. I couldn’t get used to the sport tuned (harsh ) rides of the Porsches. So I settled on the sexier C4 vette. I rationalized that it was a good decision because it got 30mpg. The only regret that I have is that I did not keep all of those cars. The memories I have are of the good times I had with friends in all of those cars. That is why I love the Dream Cruise!

    Emotion has played a part in all my new car buying decisions except the 1979 Chevette. In 1979 as a 20 year old paying my way through college I knew I needed to establish credit so I thought buying a new car would be a good place to start. The only car I could afford was the new 1979 Chevette with $300 down (from the 1971 Skylark) it would only be $99/month. The only problem I had was that I needed a Co-signer for the loan.

    This was a big problem since few in my immediate family had a good enough credit record and the one’s that had credit had already been burned in the past by other relatives with good intentions that had defaulted on their loans. I was a straight A student in high school while playing sports. I was dean’s list all semesters at a very competitve university. I had never been in trouble. I had never missed or been late to work, yet no one could or would trust me enough for $99/month. This was for a Chevette, not a Camaro or Corvette. A Chevette, I couldn’t get a co-signer for a Chevette.

    Dale Carnegie said look at it from the other person’s view. I did and I all saw was that no one would help me get the smallest of the small auto loans. I did get remonstration. I got “Remember when you were 6 years old and you bit that apple in the grocery? The time you left the shoestrings out of your shoes cause you did not want to go to church when you were 7? Better yet, when you spent your haircut money on comic books when you were 10. These show that you are irresponsible”.

    It seems funny now because it was almost 30 years ago. It was almost 30 years ago that my 2nd cousin co-signed for a loan for me. The one relative who knew me the least. He is only 13 years older, but had been living on the East Coast after college. He overheard me talking to the dealership while we were visiting my Grandmother. He just said “I can help.” I never was even a day late on that 48 month loan.

    That was 2 kids and 2 wives ago. I remember it like it was yesterday.

    My cousin told me later that “a prophet is never recognized in his homeland”. He is like that, full of quotations. I was just glad that he co-signed for the loan. No car, no girls. At 20 years old having a car far outweighed any other issues. At that time it was the lowest point of my life and I did not know what I was going to do.

    The experience taught me 2 things. 1. Just say yes or no. False hope and criticism leave only bitterness. 2. You cannot achieve your wildest dreams without help. If it wasn’t for that co-signer in 1979 I would not have been able to get the new 1986 C4 Corvette in December of 1985 at the age of 25.

    Last month my 20 year old son came to me with the idea getting a new car. It took him awhile to grasp the concept of total operating cost of a vehicle. So, I suggested that he get insurance quotes before settling on his purchase. He settled on a 2008 Cobalt coupe. He only had one problem…. not any more.
    He asked, I said yes.

    I know my son better than anyone. I know all his faults, failures and inadequacies. However; I am betting on the come. Think about it what is the worst that could happen? I own a new Cobalt. I am betting that the honest, hardworking son that I helped raise will someday be in a position to help someone else live their wildest dreams.

    Mine started at age 20 with a new Chevette. His is starting at age 20 with a new Cobalt. I need to call cousin ‘Prophet’ and thank him again for believing in me.

    Is there a moral to this. Yeah there is. If you can help, do it. If not, shut up and get out of the way.

    BKB MD – does that mean Burger King Boy drinking Mad Dog?

  33. JIM’S EPIPHANY IS GREAT. IT IS SOMETHING I HAVE KNOWN MY WHOLE LIFE. MY FIRST CAR WAS
    A 1956 CHEVROLET. I NOW OWN A 1999 OLDS INTRIGUE AND A 2005 CHEVY SILVERADO. I WILL
    ALWAYS BUY AMERICAN. I WAS SO DISTRAUGHT BY THE PROSPECT THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS
    NOT GOING TO HELP OUR AUTO COMPANIES OUT. I E-MAILED EVERY CONGRESSMAN AND SENATOR.
    AND THE PRESIDENT ABOUT 2 HOURS BEFORE HE ANNOUNCED THE BAIL-OUT. AS AN AMERICAN I
    HAVE A VESTED INTEREST IN SEEING WORKERS KEEP GOOD PAYING JOBS, BUILD THE CARS OF THE
    FUTURE & REBUILD OUR MANUFACTURING BASE NOT JUST THE AUTO INDUSTRY BUT ACROSS THE
    ENTIRE SPECTRUM. WE ARE AT A WATERSHED MOMENT IN AMERICA AND WE CAN DO AS THOSE WHO
    PRECEEDED US AND PROVE ONCE AGAIN THAT WE HAVE THE BEST COUNTRY, BEST TECHNOLOGY,
    BEST WORKERS, AND BEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. FINALLY THE ONLY THING THAT CONCERNS ME
    IS THE “GEEK” STYLING OF THE NEW TECH CARS…HOW ABOUT A “CNG” CORVETTE, A HYBRID
    SILVERADO, OR A SCALED DOWN CADDY…REMEMBER YA GOTTA SELL THESE CARS AND STYLE
    SELLS.. BOB IN MAINE

  34. ABOUT CHARLIE H’S COMMENT SOUNDS TO ME LIKE CHARLIE HASN’T FORGIVEN SOME MISTAKES A
    NUMBER OF YEARS AGO…WHERE QUALITY HAD SLIPPED. IF HE GOT INTO A NEW AMERICAN VEHICLE
    HE WOULD HAVE A HARD TIME CRITIZING THEM COMPARED TO FOREIGN AUTOS. THIS IS NOT A
    TIME TO BE SHY ABOUT HELPING OUR AMERICAN COMPANIES OUT. WHILE CHARLIE IS ENTITLED TO HIS OPINION. HE IS THE KIND OF GUY WHO STANDS ON THE RIVER’S EDGE AND LAUGHS AT THE INVENTION
    OF THE STEAMBOAT. IT IS TIME TO LEAD FOLLOW OR GET LEFT BEHIND. LET’S FISH OR CUT BAIT CHARLIE.

  35. My only foreign car was a Honda civic purchased in 1984, it was the biggest mistake I have ever made, I had to push it home on three different occasions and also had to have it towed three times for repairs, ALL OF MY OTHER CARS HAVE BEEN CHEVYS, they never let me down once and I never had to have them towed they always got me back home even when they were running bad, they always made it back home and back to the dealership and when I got them into the dealership it didn’t cost me a thousand bucks like the Honda did. SO CHEVY IS MY CAR COMPANY NOW AND IN THE FUTURE.

  36. My Volkswagen, which cost about $18000, is light years ahead of ANYTHING produced by GM, Chrysler, or Ford in the past 50 years. It is fun to drive, handles with German precision (certainly nothing like the GM numbness or the Ford wallow), and get an AVERAGE of 45 miles per gallon. It has 120000 miles on it and has NEVER had a problem.

    American cars are poorly constructed, made of cheap products to compensate for the overpaid labor, and are a total WASTE of money. I will absolutely NEVER purchase another one. These companies need to go away, they are embarrassing and useless.

    Jim, your Cadillac is a cheesy imitation of a real German – engineered vehicle!!!

    Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery they say, and Detroit is doing a LOT of imitating!!!!!

  37. I have always lived in the Detroit area. Many family members have been auto employees. I owned multiple American cars. And by 60,000 miles or so I was beginning to put the repairs in. I thought that was the way car ownership went. Then I bought a Honda Accord. I finally sold it because I was tired of it, I had a growing family, and my family was pressuring me to buy American. I bought a Pontiac minivan. It ran good for me, quality had improved much. So, I bought another minivan from Pontiac. By the third and fourth, and fifth years the problems and service issues had kicked in big time. I was stranded twice, and thankfully I purchased an extended warranty-but the car was in the shop tooo much. I had it, I was fed up. I went back to Honda. So far so good, but I am just in my 4th year. I was angry. Maybe it was the service dept., maybe it was car quality-but I wasn’t ready and couldn’t afford to pay for the big auto problems. I thought, when they get it right, or closer to it- for the nonCadillac drivers in a lower price bracket I will come back.

    I never meant for them to go out of business. I do believe in their need and right to be here. A lot of people depend upon them. But maybe too many just got fed up like me. They had too many bad experiences. I keep my cars for a few years. I don’t turn them in every 2-3 years. I will come back, as long as they are still here. I just couldn’t afford to stay and re-repair my cars for the while. I believe a lot of the hard corrections the auto companies need to make will be good for them. They were overextened for a long time. It will hurt me and others while this happens, but it is long overdue. I do believe in the auto companies and support them making a comeback. Hopefully, my next car will financially support that as well.

  38. Mr. Hiller,
    Your article was truly inspirational. I would like you to also understand that it was not a dozen or so hands that touched that vehicle, it was more likely thousands. From employees in sales, service, marketing, engineering and manufacturing to the assembly plant a new product launch is a cross functional effort that requires the combined efforts of hundreds and hundreds of dedicated employees. While the U.S. manufacturers may have made mistakes in the past, I can tell you first hand that these same employees are loyal dedicated professionals that strive to put together products that do not meet, but exceed our customer’s expectations.

    It is refreshing to see someone advocating the purchase of an American car not just because it keeps our local economy strong, but because they recognize value and quality in those products.

  39. Bob Cox, You are not asking, “Where did we fail the customer?” Nor are you asking, “What must we do to win back their trust?”

    You’re trying to lay a guilt trip on people who lost money and time driving domestic cars and found value and satisfaction elsewhere. The guilt trip plan is no longer going to work.

  40. Hi Jim,

    If you ever decide to open a store in the Ortonville/Oxford area my wife and I will be dedicated customers. We live by the rules you mentioned in this blog. And it is always great to hear from others that feel the same way.

    Thanks so much for the feelings you have brought to Christmas this year with your article.

    Joe

  41. Jim,
    I love your letter! My wife and I both work for GM. We feel the same about all of the purchases we make. I will pay a premium to buy products made in America when I have a choice. What a difference it would make if every one supported their neighbors and countrymen.
    Best regards,
    Tim

  42. Excuse me, are you sure any car is entirely American? I bet under that Caddy’s hood are a number of parts made in Canada, Mexico, and elsewhere.

    As for those who claim that buying a Chrysler meant they were driving an American car…well, that is a sometimes statement. While they were owned by Daimler, they could have as easily been considered German. Where is Cyrberus based?

    I am about to downsize my car. I no longer need the mommymobile (van).

    So my choice for economical and ecological reasons is a small car. The options still in consideration are a Ford Focus or a Honda Fit. I will test drive both, and see how they fit me. They will each get a fair trial and then I will decide. I won’t buy one or the other because of who owns the company, or where the car was built. I will decide based on the quality and usability of of the product. The car must fit my needs.

  43. I sure hope we can get this view out to the rest of the Nation! It seems we lost our consumer confidence in the 70’s and early 80’s, well deserved I might add. We really designed and built Crap back then. It is unfortunate that we have had a hard climb back up to the top. Beleive me we have made so many improvements in the last 15 to 18 years, that we have surpassed the competition! Mr. Hiller if you build a market in my neighborhood, I will go out of my way to shop there. We need more people that feel the way you do! And for the people who have had problems in the past with domestic vehicles, I’m sorry you have had problems in the past, but I have taken back many more Japanese electronics, and didn’t have a choice where they were made.

  44. Jim,

    Great article. I applaud your decision to buy American made cars and I hope you apply this same philosophy to all of your business practices. This is a difficult time for all companies in Southeast Michigan and the entire state in general. Do your purchases at Hiller’s support Michigan based companies? I don’t know much about the food business but I do know banking. Are you banking with a non-Michigan based bank(BofA, NatCity, Chase) or a bank that has bailed on Southeast Michigan (Comerica)? Buying an American made car is nice but you’re in a position to make a more significant statement than that.

  45. In response to H. D. Schneider (December 18th, 2008 at 10:56 am)

    “The cheapest STS costs about 43,000 Euros, which is at the current rate $60,000! The model I drove in Florida would cost about $85,000 in Germany!”

    I wonder how much of that cost is due to tariffs the EEC imposes to discourage the purchase of “foreign” automobiles. I’d love to see some reciprocity in the application of taxes, especially in the Pacific Rim.

  46. Jim,
    Great Thoughts! I worked for a printing ink company in Ann Arbor when I started shopping at your store (which I love). My division was closed and I now work at Ford. My wife and I live in Ann Arbor, she works as a teacher in Flat Rock which is home to the plant that makes the Mustang and Mazda 6. I’m a Coatings Chemist at Ford. When I park to go shopping I wonder how many people know how my job at Ford impacts the value of their homes, and mine an my wifes contributions to the community.

  47. I could not agree more. I mean it just makes complete sense that if one is going to invest tens of thousands of dollars that that money be put towards something that provides jobs for fellow Americans. I hope that people begin to see that the decisions they make with their money have real impacts on people and that this country will not be as strong as it was if we keep on sending jobs overseas and don’t support each other.

  48. Jim. I own a 2008 Chevy Trailblazer. It’s my third Trailblazer (traded-in a Blazer for the first one_a 2002). I defy anyone to show me where any foreign SUV in it’s class is superior! I LOVE THIS CAR! People need to understand that Detroit got the message awhile back; good quality automobiles for a good price. BUY AMERICAN!

  49. Yeah Jim, I hear ya! But you have to admit that Land Rover Defender 90 kicked some butt! I hope you’re not comparing your Caddy to that!

    Love the stores, great service (better location now in Commerce) and I really don’t care what you drive – this is America, the land of choice!!

  50. Nice blog. We all need to do what we can to help our community, neighbors and the country.

    But I also I wonder: my Buick was made in Canada while my husband’s Mitsubishi was made in the U.S. So which one of us helped Americans?

  51. Finally I see the light too. I’ve driven those expensive German Cars since the mid-1990’s. On New Year’s Eve I bought a GMC Yukon Denali. It’s beautiful and gives you so much more for the money. Especially in these trying times, I want to keep the money in the USA from now on. Why doesn’t GM market the hell out of the “Buy American” thing and try to explain, at least slightly, how buying their quality cars helps the USA?

  52. Great article Mr Hiller. I also enjoyed reading what most people said here. If you go to other websites (newspapers, car mags … etc) the Big 3 bashing is incredible. It’s really sad.
    It’s ironic that the American public can forgive Japan for Pearl Harbor, but not GM for cars of the 70’s and 80’s.
    This would be the equvilent of say, in 30 years from today, lets say a company called Bin Ladin Motors, started making high quality cars and our grandkids started buying them. We (people who lived thru 9/11) would be devistated.
    BUY AMERICAN!!!

  53. Thank you for supporting our Michigan products, and our national products in general. Please continue the push for buy American. Even Warren Buffett in his latest article suggested that the way out of this economic recession is to control/address the huge foreign trade deficit. Thanks again.

  54. I just saw Gran Torino last night with Clint Eastwood. I thought that the best line in the movie was when Clint turned to his brother-in-law, who was a Japanese car dealer, and said, with gritted teeth, “Would it kill ya to drive something American?” GM should sign Squint Eastwood to repeat this line in a commercial. I live in Canada but we are all in the same boat in North America. I’ll always try to buy North American to help the economy.

  55. Buying an American made car is just not the American way. Why in the world would I buy an overpriced piece of junk when I can buy a precision made machine for less money?

    The unions have completely ruined the american car industry. They are way over paid and now even get paid when they are not working. Get rid of the unions and put some of that wasted labor cost into designing and building a quality machine.

  56. Clearly, this issue riles a number of people as it hits so very close to home. We can debate it till the cows come in but really, the issue is keeping an eye toward the local while understanding that we can’t always buy everything close to home. I mean, even local dealerships for foreign carmakers employ Michigan folks – which I say in my blog. That is important to remember.

    We all recognize the urge to *blame* someone for our bad economy – truth is, there’s no one person or one problem or one situation that’s responsible for it. I’m just trying to make conscious purchasing decisions so that I do keep as many Michigan dollars in Michigan.

  57. Jim, Thank you for your support of the domestic auto industry! I firmly believe that WE must support our local jobs no matter what. To some people the foreign autos are preceived to be better quality, and to some degree they are correct, if we went back 25 years. Today with all the quality systems/controls in place in the big three factories OUR quality is equal to if not surpassed the foreign makers!

    The union issue as mentioned by the poster on Jan. 22 is an opinion not based completely on ALL the facts. With the current state of the economy we need to ALL rethink our spending habits and help to support OUR economy. Like it or not the “living wage” that the unions have fought for affects everyone, believe it or not. All unions, in every industry, have set a benchmark for wages that other industries use to determine their salaries. As the wages of the middle class union members decrease so does the wages for all other industries and thus we are stuck in a downward spiral of economic ruin. Let’s stop pointing fingers at each other as to who’s to BLAME for OUR economic slump and let’s HELP each other out by first and foremost BUY AMERICAN and buy NOW. Secondly buy MICHIGAN MADE and buy NOW.

    Thank you Jim for supporting your fellow Michiganders and most importantly…AMERICANS!

  58. Jim, thank you for your letter. A site that you may want to look at for other information is
    http://www.levelfieldinstitute.org/
    This site shows how many Americans are employed by vehicle manufacturer and other information.
    I also went to your website and looked at your ads. I loved how you put the origin of some products and the number of employees. If you would ever consider a store in the Lansing, I would love to shop there.

  59. Thank you for supporting local business, and if I may chime in just a little with some information for the ones who like to point fingers instead of offer solutions.
    The car companies based here in the States have for decades supported thousands if not millions of Americans and have done so with their dollars alone, the imort companies have for decades enjoyed government supplied health care, technology subsidies, and retirement assistance that our companies have paid for. That doesnt even begin to address the unfair currency manipulation or import limits that the whole world would scream about if we did it but for some reason our Government and our population just seem to sit back and buy their cars while pointing fingers at the only ones here trying to save what little middle class we have left.
    Please people come to the realization that a world economy also means a worldwide standard of living that will be a whole lot lower than what you are used to.

  60. This attitude is too little too late. The Detroit 3 and Michigan need a lot more than good will and a Buy American attitude. And, anyway, it’s a global automotive economy now.

    As for me, I was a child of the 70s and 80s and grew up watching my poor parents support the local economy and auto service shops by trying to keep their U.S. made vehicles running, leaving little for the family to get by. Certainly no vacations, air travel or college tuition. Thankfully my dad got his first Toyota in 1989 — a 1985 Camry — and was able to escape from transmission repairs, blown head gaskets and all the major ills his previous vehicles had left him. That car lasted him until he passed, 10 years later.

    I don’t doubt that the quality gap has decreased but, given a choice I make sure to buy used Japanese cars that were *made in Japan*. I need to keep my cars beyond warranty and can’t afford the risk of anything else if I want to support my family and contribute to my kids education.

    I agree with your main point and I will gladly steer my grocery purchases towards Jiffy pancake mix and Better Made potato chips but until Detroit can put cars on the top of Consumer Report’s reliability charts, you won’t see me in an American car.

  61. I know there are some people here that hate japanese for what was made in Pearl Harbor, but I can not agree with the idea that suppose japanese people are guilty for that wrong political decision.
    number one: my parents are japanese and they where children when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor;
    number two: their family didn´t have any choice over it and they think Japan was wrong;
    number three: my mother as many other japanese families had her house invaded by japanese military force that stole all the metal things to supply japanese army industry, even her house´s fawcet for example, she didn´t have any choice over it and her mother was obliged to accept it or she would be arrested or even killed by those stupid militar group.
    So please don´t suppose that japanese people are bad because of Pearl Harbor as someone supposed here when wrote: “…It’s ironic that the American public can forgive Japan for Pearl Harbor, but not GM for cars of the 70’s and 80’s.This would be the equivalent of say, in 30 years from today, lets say a company called Bin Ladin Motors, started making high quality cars and our grandkids started buying them. We (people who lived thru 9/11) would be devistated”.
    What if GM decide, in 30 years from today, to build an assembly plant in Afeghanistan, what´s the problem if local people buy it ?
    Thank God there are american people who are really conscious that buying a Honda for example has nothing to do with Pearl Harbor (or should Vietnam people never drink Coke ?)
    Another point is: american companies like Microsoft, GM, FORD…has operations all around the world and noone says: “hey americans go away”…or suppose that nobody can buy their products because of some attrocity that was commited by american militar force somewhere someday…don´t forget that even inside american military group there are violence like rape cases…so what do american families and citizens have with that !?
    I remember one of the comment writen above:
    “Nice blog. We all need to do what we can to help our community, neighbors and the country. But I also I wonder: my Buick was made in Canada while my husband’s Mitsubishi was made in the U.S. So which one of us helped Americans?” That´s it: if GM can produce cars all over the world, creating jobs what´s the problem?
    After all, CADILLAC was founded buy a French person…so what is “being” american ? An american person told me “it´s a melting pot made by people that came from Europe and started this wonderful land, but let´s not forget: killing the indians that were the first inhabitants ever, before it started being called United States of America” ( very broad minded person )
    I like you to know that I love USA, I love american people, I just don´t agree with the idea that GM, FORD and Chrysler are facing bad times because of japanese guilty…what about other countries cars that americans buy like German, Italian, English…are all of them also guilty of the BIG THREE situation ? I think no.
    Japan was totally wrong concerning PEARL HARBOR , but please don´t judge japanese people and families because of that, if you do: read more, travel more and open your mind.
    I said here that I believe in american workforce and all of my SONY devices “made in China” is broken only 2 years of using. I promissed to myself that I will not buy SONY anymore until they really prove to be good quality again someday, even being a japanese son…I am very said with SONY poor quality and durability. So I think I´d be stupid to buy SONY just because it´s japanese brand, we have to buy what attends our demands.
    To help our community, what should be made is: increase the taxes over imported products to make companies come to USA and produce all here and create jobs to all communities, and this has nothing to do with Pearl Harbor…or Iraq, or Vietnam war…American families and japanese families and all families around the world can not be judged buy wrong political decisions in the past.
    Thank God there are many american people that understand that.

  62. Are you kidding me? Not only is the question of what makes a car “American up in the air (my Ford Focus was made in Mexico and Honda and Toyota employ hundreds of people in Ohio and Michigan respectively), but living in a capitalist democracy gives each person the right to choose their own products. I would think that as the owner of a store that has an extensive selection of non-American food products (been in your International aisle lately? Where do all your fruits come from this time of year?), you would be the last person advising people to “buy American.”

  63. Monica,
    You do have a compelling perspective. And I never said buying exclusively American is the way to go.

    But I do believe that we must support our hometown industries as much as we can, if it’s an authentic push for hometown rebirth.

    Just like I have the uniquely American right to make my opinions known in public and here on this blog, so, too, do you have the uniquely American right to disagree with me. Thanks for reading!
    Jimmy

  64. I am also a supporter of American Autos and other American products. We need to support and protect American Industry. If you just check the involvement that the American worker has with the Great USA, you will realize how important the American Automobile is to the US. After 911 the American Car Companies sent money and product to New York, to help the City out. The foreign Car Companies did contribute one cent. Sent the foreign Companies packing, and put Americans back to work,buying and producing our needs. Thank You. God Bless the USA.

  65. Jim,
    Thank you for taking a stand against foreign cars and publishing your thoughts on the Internet. I drive 20 miles to work every day in Portland, Oregon. I am just sick in the stomach to be surrounded by foreign cars as I drive. My friends know not to get me started talking about these foreign cars that have been invading our shores for decades. It is bad enough that we as Americans have lost the computer, TV, clothing, and other industries to foreign competition. As an American I am forced to buy foreign products every time I walk into the grocery store or the auto parts store. The last big industry we have here in America is the car industry. We pioneered the auto industry with such people as Henry Ford, Walter Chrysler, and Alfred Sloan making history and putting America on wheels. I am a Ford guy, but I would hate to see the demise of Chrysler, GM or Ford.
    I drive a 1993 Mustang GT that I bought brand new. This car has 177K miles on it and runs very well. It continually passes the emissions tests every 2 years. Yes, Americans can build cars that last as long as the foreign cars. I am proud to drive American made cars and would never, ever consider owning a foreign car.
    I recently sold a late model Honda Odyssey van with all the bells and whistles that had 22K miles on it. I did not own this car but was selling it for my father. I drove the car for several weeks and did not like the fit and feel of the car. The transmission lugged and the van wasn’t nimble in the corners. I cannot understand why the public thinks so highly of Hondas. I couldn’t wait to see this thing drive away for good!!
    Buy American cars from American owned companies that are built by American workers. Keep U.S. in business, buy from American owned companies.
    Just say no to foreign cars.
    Mustang5pt0

  66. I was on the Hillers website and as I was reading your “Why I drive an American car” knowing how much effort Hillers puts in to promoting and supporting Michigan companies it is unfortunate that more bussineses don’t take this position. Not only are they missing out on a great marketing opportunity especially in these tough economic times, IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO. 30 years ago my career as a Hillers Bag Boy at the old Greenfield store came to an end. Life has many turns wich brings me to the reason I am writing to you.

    I would like to tell you about our business. We are a Michigan business that dose not have a product that can be sold in Hillers Stores. However, what we do with our clients is similliar to what you do with your scrip card program. In this difficult economic environment many people and businesses are finding it more and more a daunting task to support the charities in their communities. That is were we come in, my company Synergies Plus Solutions can help in this area. We would like the oppurtunity to show you, or what we can do to help in this area. I look forward to meeting you soon.

    Sincerly
    Mark Kostes
    mark@synergiesplussolutions.com

  67. There is a reason people buy foreign cars: they are often better. Better quality, better look, etc. Nothing against the people that make them, but their managers take a large share of the profits with inflated salaries and bonuses. I talked to employees of an american car manufacturer (that had moved production over to Canada, so much for loyality) and they said quality was not important for their factory. They let the buyers bring back the cars. It will take a long time to convince me to buy an American car.
    As an example how to get out of Americans buying foreign, look at Apple.

  68. I agree that it is important to by an American car which is why I am now driving a Lincoln MKS. It is a great car and I feel great driving a car built buy Americans in America. My wife’s Lexus RX lease is coming to an end and I am considering replacing it with the Lincoln MKX or Cadillac SRX. The Lexus has been the best car we have ever driven, and the dealer/service has been far superior to anything else we have experienced. I find that the Lincoln MKX is built in Ontario and the Cadillac SRX will be built in Mexico. The reason I want to buy American is to support American factory workers, and buying either the MKX or SRX do not fit that end. Why is it better to buy the Lincoln than the Lexus both of which are built in Ontario? I do not want to reward GM or Ford for sending work out of our country. It seems to me that it would be better to buy a Honda, BWM, or Toyota that is assembled in America by American factory workers, than the Cadillac or Lincoln that is built out of our country. In some instances the American part content is higher in the locally built “foreign” car.

  69. Right on. I have always driven American cars –except for a few years while I was assigned to Misawa Air Base, Japan –where American cars were not allowed to be shipped. I have been assigned to bases in the Philippines and Germany and had no problem shipping my used car there. But shipping a privately owned vehicle is not allowed for service members assigned to Japan. I guess they’re afraid we’ll sell our used cars to the Japanese. Anyway, I’ve always driven American cars because they were well-made and it seemed like the right thing to do.

  70. You’re right on the money with this one. I have been in the automotive industry for the past 12 years and have recently been laid off. I have never had to go through that before, so it was quite a difficult experience. I wholeheartedly believe that if you live in the United States, you should be driving an American car. Period. The quality is there and if anyone wants to question that, please do your research. When you buy an foreign vehicle, the money is going back to that country making them stronger. Yes, the have a lot of plants here and try to promote the fact that they’re employing a lot of Americans but guess what, they’re paying a very low wage. This only reduces our standard of living hence slowing the entire economy down as people tend to hold onto their money. As for the free trade agreement, there are so many restrictions placed on the sale of American vehicles overseas, especially Japan, that it’s not really and agreement. At least, it’s a very one-sided one. I drive a Ford Edge and I love it! It’s a great car, drives smoothly and is rated very highly for safety. To those who buy foreign, think twice before your next purchase. If every single person bought a foreign car, who do you think will be holding all the cards? What happens if we have another war, will we ask Japan to make planes and tanks for us? I encourage people to read up on the history of the automotive industry in the Motor City. It’s quite facinating and we should be proud of it and support it. The job you end up saving could eventually be your own!

  71. Actually, the foreign car manufacturers in the US do not pay very low wages, they pay wages that are very much lower than the exorbitant wages that US workers get paid by GM, Chrysler, and Ford. This WILL change, or GM and Ford will not exist (Chrysler is done for). Competition is a wonderful thing, and the free market WORKS. Companies that make garbage, as GM and Ford and Chrysler have for the past 50 years, DESERVE to fail.

  72. I don’t understand why it takes so long for people to figure out that supporting local businesses (and charities) supports local people. Why bite the hand that feeds you?

    Note to Peter Hiatt: I drove a Ford Contour for 10 years; it was a great little car. I’ve had a Saturn Aura for 2.5 years now, and guess what? It’s a great car. If you’re going to lay some blame, consider too our artificially low gas prices, and the fact that here, businesses pay for workers’ health care, not the government. Competition is a wonderful thing, but so is a dash of reason and maybe compassion.

  73. Jim, thanks for the opinion on American automobiles and the change of heart on buying American. I have read some of the responses to your post and find many of the same reasons for not buying American cars that I have heard before. Bad quality, not really built in American, and so on.

    I have a small business that is right in the middle of the automotive parts business and of course I have always bought American and will continue to do so. Certainly I do so in part because it helps my business and yet as a consumer I have not had the problems so many others have had with American cars, Ford, GM, or Chrysler. I doubt that I am just lucky but maybe so.

    WIth respect to comments from some that so many foreign cars are American made I say most are “Assembled” in America and not “Made” in Amerca. The vast majority of jobs connected to the American automobile industry are in the supply base and simply assembling a car with foreign content is not the same as purchasing domestic content. Granted many American cars have foreign content and are assembled elsewhere but most are not. If anyone is interested in the facts the content and assembly location data is posted on every new vehicles sticker. Just take a look.

    Finally, if I never purchased something a second time that has previously caused me a problem than I wound never spend another dime. While I believe many people have problems with domestic cars I think a vast majority don’t even take the time to visit, drive, and truly compare current domestic products to foreign owned company products.

    Regardless of other opinions I always have and always will buy American and I am proud to say so.

  74. I just wanted to make sure that “America’s Fan” doesn’t think I “hate” Japanese people because of the comment I made. My reference to the statement I wrote was that I’ve heard people talk so bad and forceful about The Big 3 that I was made the comment “people can forgive the Japanese for Pearl Harbor, but not GM because of their cars from the 70’s and 80’s” there is no comparison of course between the two. But it’s some people’s attitudes that “I’ll be damned if I ever buy another American made car”. It’s just a car.

    Please understand I do not “hate” Japanese people. It’s just the opposite, I really admire them for their faimly values and their work ethics.

  75. I took it one step farther. For a large part of my life of being a professional race car dirver, I built, owned and dorve the quickest and fastest cars on earth. They were all Chevy style bodies. I never have owned anything but American cars. You would think that I would be some kind of GM only type of person because my personal fame came in GM style cars. Not So. I drive Fords now because they were smart enough to keep their American Company afloat with out any government bail outs. I buy American Only but I try to buy from responsible smart American Companies. It was a lot of stupid desisions that pushed the American buyer over seas.

  76. While I believe in buying American, I have to agree with the person who posted above who is distrustful of the big three. Having driven American cars and purchased them for my family to drive in, I cringe to this day every single time I have to visit the dealerships. Now maybe if you are a friend of Bob Lutz, dealership customer service is a piece of cake, but for the rest of the non-Michigan residents it is nothing short of a caning.

    My Mother in law in a fit of patrotism during the economic slow down in 2009 bought a left over 2008 Chryler mini-van…4…READ FOUR tranmissions and only six months later (less than 12,000 miles of literally hauling her gandchildren to church) it has a carfax report that has rendered it worthless and a service department that asked her not bring me with her anymore. (I demanded that she get a rental after the third tranmission and suggested they buy back the vehicle…they offered a less than blue book value trade in allowance if she buy a newer vehicle…this is Freddie mac type screw the customer behavior. I was not going to let my elderly Mother in law be ripped off.) We are currently shopping for a replacement for this vehicle.

    The list of complaints against dealer service and denied customer claims by Detroit auto manufacturing is staggering. UNTIL BOB LUTZ admits this, his faux concerns over his employees future will fall on deaf ears.

    By American but only if the manufacturer concern is the long term impact on his society, his neighbor and his country.

  77. I have Mustang and i always prefer mustang to all other cars. This is true American cars are best too drive and more comfortable to me rather than other countries cars.

  78. Very interesting… I’m quite confident my post will never appear on your blog because I drive a Subaru and you and I both know an American built car is built to put $$$ into the pocket, not for longevity.

    You and I BOTH know that American cars are not the best. But you live your dream buddy, keep smoking that pipe that makes you feel the magic… ha ha ha

    Yea… I’ll keep driving my Subaru that currently has 287,896 miles and still runs like new…

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