Independence Day is just past, and Americans celebrated their love of country with family and friends, picnics and cookouts and grand fireworks displays. But patriotism runs deeper than that, particularly for those car shoppers whose love of country plays a big role in which vehicle they decide to purchase.
According to the July edition of the Shopper Insights Report from the AutoTrader.com Trend Engine, 41 percent of car shoppers recently surveyed say that it is important to purchase a vehicle built in the U.S. by U.S. workers, versus 28 percent who say it is important to purchase a vehicle made by a U.S. automaker.
The top three reasons shoppers say that it is important to purchase a vehicle that is physically made in America are: Protects American jobs (78 percent), supports the American economy (74 percent) and keeps American dollars at home (62 percent).
"There's no doubt that buying American products supports the U.S. economy, but 'Made in the U.S.' doesn't have to mean 'made by' a U.S. manufacturer," said Rick Wainschel, vice president of automotive insights at AutoTrader.com. "With the global nature of the auto industry, many vehicles from foreign automakers are manufactured right here in the U.S., enabling car shoppers to feel that they are still supporting the U.S. economy and job creation for American workers."
Further, the survey revealed that while "American made" is generally seen by consumers as a car made in the U.S. by a U.S. automaker, a vehicle that is made in the U.S. by a foreign automaker is more likely to be seen as "American made" (57 percent) than one from a U.S. automaker that was built outside the U.S. (43 percent).
Top Vehicles Made in the U.S.
There are several great cars made by both foreign and domestic automakers that are manufactured right here in the U.S., so the experts at AutoTrader.com offered up a list of their favorites: five with U.S. nameplates and five with foreign nameplates.
Top Five Vehicles Made in the U.S. by U.S. Manufacturers
-- 2013 Chevrolet Malibu (Detroit): The 2013 Chevy Malibu may be larger than its predecessor, but its Eco model is almost more fuel efficient than ever. The Malibu Eco gets and EPA estimated 25 mpg in the city, 37 on the highway and 29 mpg in combined driving. Plus, the combination of Chevrolet MyLink Touch and OnStar turn the Malibu into a mobile concierge for the on-the-go family. The Malibu is also much nicer inside than previous versions with good quality materials and an upscale look.
-- 2013 Ford Escape (Louisville, Ky.): The Ford Escape has been completely redesigned and reengineered for 2013. In place of the old tank-like design and disappointing powertrain is a sleek, technology-filled crossover with a peppy turbocharged four-cylinder engine. If you're in the market for a mid-sized crossover, the Escape might just be the benchmark for success.
-- 2013 Dodge Dart (Belvidere, Ill.): The Dodge Dart comes as a result of the recent Chrysler/FIAT marriage. Under its American sheet metal, the Dart is actually based on the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. If you're looking for a small, practical sedan with a distinctly European driving flavor, the Dart might just be the car for you.
-- 2013 SRT Viper (Detroit): The Japanese have the LFA, the Germans have the R8 and the Italians have the 458 Italia, but let's not forget that the SRT Viper has been reborn for 2013, too. As the only true supercar bred and built in the U.S., the Viper is part muscle car and part racing machine. And, oh, that exhaust note coming from the 8.4-liter V10 makes gets our heart pumping every time.
-- 2013 Buick Enclave (Lansing, Mich.): With its plush interior, moderate pricing and seating for up to eight passengers, the Buick Enclave is an affordable way to put a full-size luxury SUV in your driveway. Plus, the 2013 model gets an updated design and technologies to wow your family with.
Top Five Vehicles Made in the U.S. by Foreign Manufacturers
-- 2012 Volkswagen Passat (Chattanooga, Tenn.): The 2012 VW Passat is perhaps the most comfortable and most affordable family sedan on the market today. Built in Chattanooga, the Passat also comes with three interesting engine choices: the 2.5-liter five-cylinder, a 3.6-liter VR6 and our personal favorite, the 2.0-liter turbocharged clean diesel.
-- 2012 Kia Optima (West Point, GA): The Kia Optima is a game-changer for the family sedan market. For less than $30,000, the Optima includes a peaky turbocharger, leather-heated seats for both front seat and rear seat passengers and a gorgeous panoramic glass roof. Plus, there's enough legroom to comfortably seat five adults.
-- 2012 BMW X3 (Spartanburg, S.C.): The BMW X3 drives like a sport sedan, but has the ground clearance to do moderate off-road duty as well. If you're looking for a comfortable crossover with fun driving dynamics, this one has an added boost of presence that comes with owning a BMW.
What you might not realize is that every X3 is built locally in Spartanburg, so even the Germans who buy one import their cars from the U.S.
-- 2012 Honda Odyssey (Lincoln, Ala.): While the Odyssey has swelled to the size of what used to be considered a full-size van, it comes with the comfort and technology suited for a private jet. Its wide-screen rear-seat entertainment system has the ability to keep two rows of kids quiet, and that's something that any parent can appreciate.
-- 2012 Mercedes-Benz ML-Class (Tuscaloosa, Ala.): Redesigned for 2012, the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class can play both roles of competent off-pavement vehicle or luxurious family cruiser. Quilted leather and an updated navigation and entertainment system meet all-wheel drive capability.
Plus, it's built in Alabama, so you can enjoy German engineering while supporting American jobs.
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