As a loyal Ford Taurus owner, I was mourning the recent closing of Ford’s Atlanta assembly plant where my Taurus was made and waiting patiently for the Ford Fusion Hybrid to hit the dealer lots. Then, last fall I attended the Washington, DC auto show and checked out the Fusion in person. I confess I was disappointed with the interior, and the car’s profile had a masculine feel. To top off my dismay, the Ford Fusion was assembled at the Hermosillo plant in Mexico and the hybrid powertrain also was going to be imported. I remember asking the Ford representative how my purchase of a Ford Fusion Hybrid would be helping the U.S. autoworker? His only response was that at least Ford was a U.S. company! After that, I figured I would just keep the ’91 Taurus healthy and await new developments.
Then, last week one of “Fairfax County’s Finest” moved up my timeline. I was very politely informed that my inspection sticker had expired FIVE MONTHS ago. Egad. Upon inspection, my friendly neighborhood garage suggested $900 in repairs. Needless to say, I was thrust into car search mode.
Despite my best intentions, and many promises to StillMadeinUSA.com visitors, I had never put together my Buy American Auto page. Still, I had done some research and I decided to share my search criteria and data here. I wanted a 4-door sedan, UAW-made, good gas mileage and environmental rating, assembled in USA with maximum amount of USA parts.
I considered the following criteria and data sources:
- Percent domestic content (defined as U.S. and Canadian-made parts), on a sales-weighted basis by automaker/brand (Level Field Institute, a site funded by retirees of Ford, GM, Chrysler, and their parts suppliers, reminds consumers that American jobs associated with auto manufacturing go far beyond assembly, and the source of the parts that go into the vehicles is an important indicator of the ripple effect of auto manufacturing in the U.S. economy).
- Union-made: United Auto Workers (UAW) have long set the standard for wages and benefits for all automakers in the U.S., and I prefer to support companies that employ union labor (UAW Made Vehicles for 2007 )
- Environmental performance, including carbon dioxide emissions (an important contributor to global climate change) and air pollutant emissions (smog and ground-level ozone precursors) (EPA's Green Vehicle Guide)
- Price and car reviews (Edmunds.com
and my favorite car columnist, Warren Brown of the Washington Post)
Based on my criteria, I had selected 2 cars for test drive: the Toyota Corolla, if made in
I went to see the Pontiac G6, did a test drive, and fell in love! What a sweet car! I got a great price, including a $1000 “conquest rebate” for switching from Ford to GM. The car is roomy, sporty, and drives beautifully. The instrument panel and interior styling is excellent, and the driver-side seat has adjustable lumbar support and feels GREAT. It also has driver, passenger, and roof-mounted side impact air bags. All this for approximately $17,000.
I feel like I got a bargain, and I am proud to be driving a vehicle assembled at the Orion Assembly plant in Lake Orion, Michigan by UAW Local 5960, with U.S.-made engine and transmission.Stephanie, Webmaster