By all standards, it is clear that USA is the single largest consumer market for automobiles in the world. In addition to the country having a high level of income, it also has a large population meaning that demand for cars is high. Over the years, there has been a misconception that the US invented the car.
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However, it is Karl Benz a German who in the year 1885 registered the first vehicle patent. In subsequent years though, it is the Americans who provided the market incentives making car making a fully fledged industry. Historically, Americans preferred large, fast and powerful cars.
This made the American car manufacturers manufacture cars in line with these market requirements. In the last three decades, the dominance of American cars in the US has been constantly declining as Germany and Japan developed more affordable and high quality cars (Marr, par1). In the last two years, the industry was almost on its knees as a result of the global financial crisis. So why do Americans prefer imported cars?
Fewer errors during manufacture
It has been a widely shared opinion that cars made by American Manufacturers are more problematic when the leave the show rooms when compared to Japanese or German cars. According to experts, a local car has about 20% higher chances of being faulty than foreign cars.
This raises issues of quality control in manufacture and the American consumer is left with little option other than purchase imported cars. A new car buyer may have to spend the first few months trying to fix minor problems such as malfunctioning power windows and a faulty CD player. There have been improvements but in relation to other cars, they remain significantly problematic (Jajko, par7).
In general American cars are not designed to last as long as most foreign cars. Experts assert that a consumer can get between 200,000 and 400,000 mileages from a Japanese car worth the same as an American car which can only deliver 100,000 miles. Consequently, many American consumers would rather get value for their money by purchasing foreign cars which will last longer and give them less trouble.
American cars are not only expensive but are grossly inefficient especially in fuel consumption. In the last two decades, the cost of fuel has been on the increase meaning that the pinch on the consumers pocket has gotten bigger by the years.
The implication of this is that preference among consumers has changed from the big, luxuries, expensive and high fuel consuming vehicles to smaller more fuel efficient models. Technological advancement has enabled Japanese car manufacturers to include features previously available in the luxurious cars in the smaller cars making them almost equally as good. This means that Americans can enjoy all the luxury and still spend less.
It is also clear that imported cars offer a wider variety than American cars. Toyota has a countless number of car models developed for numerous different uses. This added flexibility offers customers a wider range of choices which gives them more confidence in the fact that they will get what they really want with little limitation of what is in the market.
Lagged response to market changes
Recent years have proven that American automakers can also make smaller fuel efficient cars. Manufacturers such as Ford and Chevrolet have successfully developed small cars which have been well received in the market. What seems to be the problem is the lagged response to changes in the market. American automakers have been sluggish in responding to changes in preferences as a result of gas prices as well as environmental concerns (Rozema, par9).
A general and historical perception of the American car industry has been the most important factor undoing the gains made in the industry. It has become very difficult for consumers to do away with the combined notion that American cars are generally of poorer quality than foreign cars. Consequently, even the local car models which match foreign models receive much less attention.
In conclusion, it is clear that Americans have enough reasons to prefer foreign cars as demands of modern times take toll on the market. However in recent times Toyota which is the largest supplier of foreign cars in the US has had serious problems requiring massive recalls which have dented their image. It however remains unclear what the effect on local industry sales will be.
Jajko, Keith. Why don’t people buy American cars anymore? Helium. 2009. Web.
Marr, Aliyah. Buy What’s Best. Businessweek.com. 2009. Web.
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Rozema, Ben. Why do Americans Prefer Foreign Automobiles? 2010. Web.