In today’s economy, the automotive market is globally interconnected. So, is there any real difference between foreign and domestic cars anymore?

When it comes to car shopping, some drivers are only interested in foreign cars, while others will only buy domestic cars. But why? Here’s what you need to know about the differences between foreign and domestic cars.

The Modern Market

When you’re shopping around for a car, you hear many stereotypes about various carmakers. For instance, Japanese cars are more reliable and fuel-efficient, Italian cars are more stylish and sporty, German cars are more mechanically complex and expensive to repair, and American cars are unreliable.

These stereotypes aren’t necessarily all true, and some are outdated and no longer apply to the modern car market. For example, a Ford Fusion is competitive with a Toyota Camry when it comes to fuel-economy. But really, there’s not much difference these days, notes Autotrader.

When brands struggle with reliability or fuel-economy, it has less to do with whether they’re foreign or domestic, and more about corporate management and design, engineering, and manufacturing processes. These issues are more specific to company than country.

A Shared Background

While some people will only shop for foreign or domestic cars based on information they’ve heard, the reality is, no matter what they choose it will likely be a mix of both. In fact, just about every automaker is global now, as CNN Money points out.

There was a time when thanks to pro-union or nationalist sentiment, American consumers had a preference for buying items made in the USA, cars and trucks included. But in today’s economy, that can be difficult to do because the automotive market is globally interconnected.

While some automakers are headquartered outside of the United States, almost every foreign automaker builds at least one model here. Other carmakers may source parts and components from American suppliers, and many automakers employ Americans at regional offices and dealerships located in the States. And, when it comes time to design a new car, automakers may create designs in two places at the same time—one in America and one overseas.

It works the other way, too. Many domestic cars produced by the Detroit Three (Ford, GM, and Chrysler) are built in other countries, often in Canada or Mexico. In fact, Ford has plans to build a new plant in Mexico in 2018, notes The Wall Street Journal.

Window Stickers

New cars have a sticker on the window that show the percentage of American parts, as well as the percentage of foreign-supplied parts. The sticker can help you determine how foreign or domestic your car actually is. You can also find the place of assembly on the window sticker or through online searching.

So whether you prefer a Dodge or a Honda, the choice is more about which is the best car for you rather than where it’s built or where the corporate headquarters is located.

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About the AuthorTim Healey

Tim Healey is a writer and reporter specializing in covering the automotive industry and reviewing new cars. He also has experience covering sports in a past journalistic life. The Chicago-based journalist loves cars, sports, and music, and can write passionately and knowledgeably about all three topics.