Americans have conflicting ideas about what makes a car truly "American". According to an AutoTrader survey released last year, "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)".
But that doesn't mean that Americans have given up on Detroit entirely. In fact, TrueCar says that in 18 states, at least 50 percent of new vehicles sold are manufactured by Chrysler, Ford, or General Motors.
TrueCar's Jesse Toprak says that "Despite Asian and European automakers having a number of factories in the U.S., many Americans still have strong loyalty to the brands they view as 'domestic'". As some might expect, those bastions of loyalty tend to be situated in the center of the country, an area generally considered more conservative than the East and West Coasts.
No prizes for guessing the state where residents are most likely to buy cars from U.S. automakers: that would be Michigan, where 79.2 percent of all new vehicles sold are built by the Big Three.
Overall, the top five states for Detroit-lovers are:
1. Michigan: 79.2%
2. North Dakota: 68.1%
3. South Dakota: 65.6%
4. Iowa: 63.2%
5. Wyoming: 62.6%
At the other end of the scale, we find far less affinity for the Big Three. In fact, Chrysler, Ford, and GM account for less than 30 percent of sales in all five of the "least American" states (including Washington, D.C.):
47. Massachusetts: 25.8%
48. Connecticut: 25.8%
49. California: 22.9%
50. District of Columbia: 22.6%
51. Hawaii: 19.4%
While these are some very interesting stats, they don't tell the full story. As we mentioned above, what counts as an "American" car these days is a matter for serious debate.
Last week, for example, we revealed that the Ford F-150 is the most "American" vehicle in the country, based on the origin of its parts, its place of assembly, and its popularity with U.S. shoppers. However, the top-ten list of "American" cars is evenly split between U.S. and Asian brands, and Toyota has more vehicles on it than any other automaker.
So, let's ask again: which is more important to you, the company that made your car or the country where it was built?