Letter to the Editor

Seeking best product, best price

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The definition of "Made in America" is debatable. Cars.com determined the top American vehicles based on three criteria: sales numbers, domestic parts content and assembly location. Cars.com's data were mirrored by a USA Today study. The Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado ranked first and third, respectively. Surprisingly, the Dodge Ram was not eligible because nearly 30 percent of its parts are foreign. The Toyota Tundra, meanwhile, took fourth place, thanks to an 80 percent domestic parts content.

So a Toyota Tundra made in Texas or Indiana is, in theory, more American than the Dodge Ram built in Missouri. And a Honda Pilot built in Alabama with a 70 percent domestic parts is more American than a Ford Escape with 35 percent foreign parts.

Automakers buy competitively priced parts to meet their needs. They're free to shop around the world, not just in the Stars and Stripes section. Why shouldn't consumers do the same? We deserve a quality product at the best possible price.

The Big Three make some quality products, and instead of wasting their time and our tax dollars on 1970s era "Buy American" advertising, they should simply state, "We build a competitive product at a competitive price" -- and consistently do it. "We're very proud for the economic role we play in this country," said a GM spokesman. "However, we're a global car company that happens to be based in the United States." Well put. And we're educated consumers looking for the best product and the best price.