Most American Cars Index Creates Controversy Over Which Cars Really Are American
President Barack Obama said Thursday he’s asked the World Trade Organization to force the Chinese to stop imposing roughly $3 billion in tariffs on auto exports to the country, saying it unfairly hurts American automakers like General Motors.
The move came just days after a controversy erupted over what makes a car American, after consumer web site Cars.com named the Camry, made by Japan-based Toyota, the most American-made car of the year. The American Automotive Policy Council pushed back against the rankings, saying the study is flawed and gives foreign automakers the ability to falsely market themselves as American.
The Cars.com ranking and Obama’s WTO request show the struggle the U.S. auto industry faces to become a more global player, while maintaining a loyal customer base at home. Because profit margins are highest in the U.S., it is currently the most important market for most automakers.
“You can’t have it both ways,” said Karl Brauer, CEO of Total Car Score, a consumer web site. “We can’t say, ‘we want to be global but don’t want foreign carmakers to do well here’. Any economist or trade expert out there would say the last thing you want is an isolationist attitude.”
There was backlash against Japanese automakers after they began making headway in the U.S. market in the late 1970s and 1980s. Many consumers said they’d never buy anything but American cars, and in some pockets of the country, like the Midwest, there were strong biases against foreign cars.
Read More: Click Here