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Buy American?

Survey suggests buyers might be ready to re-embrace Detroit.

by on Sep.03, 2009

Better products, like the new Ford Fusion Hybrid - rather than jingoistic slogans - may be why more motorists now say they're ready to "Buy American."

Better products, like the new Ford Fusion Hybrid - rather than jingoistic slogans - may be why more motorists now say they're ready to "Buy American."

It’s become a tired cliché.  “Buy American,” a phrase trotted out by generations of Detroit executives hoping to win back the motorists who’ve increasingly shifted, over the years, to Asian and European imports.

“Buy America,” proclaimed Lee Iacocca, hoping to head off bankruptcy with 1980’s first automotive bailout.  “Buy America,” crowed his successors, one by one, all the way up to the Cash-for-Clunkers program which, it turned out, sold a lot more Japanese sheet metal than Detroit iron.

But could American buyers really be ready to embrace the concept, once again, and turn to Motown for their transportation needs?

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That’s the rather surprising indication of a new survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center.  In a first-ever survey of motorist intentions, it found that 81% of new-car buyers said they would be likely or very likely consider a Detroit product, compared with just 47% who said the same thing about an Asian model, and 46% who’d similarly consider a European offering.

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