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American-Made Automobiles Score High in the Polls

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On: Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 4:39PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

American-Made Automobiles Score High in the Polls

According to MSNBC, recent car news reports that an Associated Press Poll indicated Americans now believe that U.S. made cars are better in quality than Asian-manufactured vehicles.

In fact, 38% of Americans who were polled said they preferred U.S.-made cars compared to 33% who still feel Asian-made vehicles are superior. Business analysts suggest a strong link between the tarnished reputation of Toyota due to recent safety issues and the results of the poll.

When the same questions were asked in 2006 the AP Poll showed that as high as 46% felt that Asian automakers produced the best cars, while only 29% preferred American vehicles, resulting from an opinion that the U.S. automotive industry was inferior, which dates as far back as 3 decades.

Although the numbers indicate that the U.S. advantage is marginal, the results are critical to the American automakers who have been strongly impacted by the recession and have taken a back seat to the popularity of foreign competitors for decades. Americans have stood by watching as one of our country’s strongest industries has been beaten down; and, according to John Heitmann, auto historian from the University of Dayton, "I think Americans are beginning to realize the significance of America's auto industry to its history and to its future, and we're a bit more sensitive now to what will be its fate,"

In both polls Asian manufacturers were represented by companies such as Honda, Toyota, and Nissan. Many analysts are quick to point the finger at Toyota for having the biggest impact on the dwindling numbers of Americans who put their faith in Asian automobiles as the best cars. According to David Williams, dean of the business administration school at Wayne State University in Detroit, “Toyota’s problems are not to be minimized here.” In the March poll 15% said Toyota manufactures the best cars, down from 25% who believed so in 2006.

GM is regaining American popularity as a result of the launch of many new cars and crossovers that are fuel efficient, as well innovative design of new hybrids such as the Chevy Volt. Paying back some of the billion dollar debt early this week has also helped GM to score more points in the public’s eye.

Ford strengthened its reputation by not taking bailout money and also as a result of developing many new fuel efficient vehicles as well, such as the 2011 Ford Fiesta, the Ford Fusion Hybrid, and the future Escape Hybrid plug-in. Ford was named as the top car in 2006 by 9% who were polled, and that number has risen to 18% most recently.

Now there are more reasons than ever for buying an American-made automobile and the news has raised morale at General Motors, according to CEO Ed Whitacre. He spoke at a GM plant in Kansas City, Kansas on Wednesday where he announced that GM was paying $8.1 billion in government loans back early. He also announced that GM plans to invest $257 million into expanded production at the Kansas plant and another production plant in Michigan.

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