Carmen: The Mindset of Buying American Cars

These days, a lot of friends and family are looking to buy American. When I ask why, (I don’t presume) the response is always a variation of, "I want to support American autos."

Understood.

Now, I approach buying a car with a purchase-value mindset (resale, true cost to own, safety, reliability and driving experience). You don’t have to be me to see that American autos don’t rank high enough on those lists—check out Edmunds.com to see for yourself. However, I am very happy to see that American automakers have been making gains on many fronts, making it easier for me to recommend some good buys to folks looking stateside for their next ride (How much fun is the Ford Flex! But wait until fall for more power—Mama needs some metal in my pedal).

Back to purchasing mind-set: The argument (and trust me, there is much arguing) of foreign vs. domestic when it comes to wheels reveals another kind of value. For many, it’s a purchase as personal statement. My dad, a former Detroiter who went from a Gremlin to Japanese for thirty years, now drives a Ford. Even he, who preached to his five daughters and one son for decades that Mazda/Honda/Toyota were the way to go, has made a purchase that reflects his current sentiment. I can appreciate that. Money and what we do with it is, and always can be, a reflection of what’s important to us. This is one very big buy that can act like a giant team sweatshirt.

So, if you're looking to buy American, make sure it’s the best buy for you. Put solid money down. Buy well within your budget. Make sure that if your dealer is closing, or has closed, that you’re hooked up with another dealer for maintenance. And don’t snub other buyers who chose to go Japanese, German, Korean and even Swedish. Some of the biggest employers in Mississippi, for example, are Toyota, Honda and Mercedes. Now, about that "American Made" t-shirt...

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