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Save our economy: Buy a union-made vehicle


UAW releases the 2011 Union-Made Vehicles list

Undoubtedly someone will tell you they support jobs in the United States because they bought a vehicle made at a U.S. plant, even if it is nonunion.

Sure, those jobs may be filled by Americans, but there’s no way that their purchase supports as many jobs in the United States than if they bought a union-built vehicle. Why support our struggling economy just a little when you can do more?

2011 Union-Built Vehicles Guide photo
U.S.-based automakers directly employ about two-thirds of all American autoworkers.

“It matters a great deal who built your vehicle,” said UAW President Bob King. “When you buy union-made, you help support the middle class. One of the best ways to support our country, our states and our local communities is to buy a top-quality, union-made vehicle.”

The UAW has released its 2011 Union-Made Vehicles list, which thousands of consumers use not only to look for excellent, best in class vehicles, but to make sure their purchase supports the middle class.

You’ll notice that some of the vehicles on the list are made by our union brothers and sisters in the Canadian Auto Workers union. The UAW proudly recommends these fine vehicles because UAW members make a significant portion of the engines, transmissions and other components.
“There’s a lot of U.S.-manufactured content in these vehicles that our UAW brothers and sisters make,” King said. “When you buy these vehicles, you are supporting decent wages and fair working conditions in both countries.”

Some other handy facts about the domestic auto industry:

  • The U.S.-based automakers directly employ about two-thirds of all American autoworkers, some 300,000.
  • Another 3 million U.S. workers are directly or indirectly dependent on the U.S.-based automakers in jobs in the automotive parts industry, automotive research, design and engineering, and in jobs created by money spent on goods and services from the automotive industry and its workers.
  • Ford, GM and Chrysler sell less than half the cars bought in the United States, but they buy about two-thirds of the parts made in the United States.
  • U.S.-based automakers buy much of the steel, rubber and semiconductors made in the United States; conduct more R&D than any other industry and have invested more than $230 billion in new plants and infrastructure over the past 25 years.
  • Investment in R&D has a big impact on whether tomorrow’s best jobs remain in the United States. In 2009, U.S.-based automakers spent $17.5 billion on R&D and 80 cents of every dollar was spent in the United States. U.S.-based automakers do the bulk of their research, design and engineering in the United States, unlike the foreign automakers.
  • From 2001 to 2005, the U.S.-based automakers invested more in U.S. plants and infrastructure than all the foreign automakers together invested over the past 25 years. Eighty-six cents of every dollar automakers invested in America came from Ford, GM or Chrysler; the remaining 14 cents came from all the foreign automakers combined.
  • Chrysler, Ford and GM manufacture vehicles with more domestic content across their fleets than the foreign brands. As an example, averaged across fleets, Chrysler’s domestic content is 76 percent; Ford, 64 percent; GM, 64 percent; Honda, 63 percent; Toyota 46 percent and Nissan, 31 percent. If the U.S.-based automakers’ domestic content shrank to the same level as the foreign automakers, it would mean $49 billion less spent in the United States, costing more than 1 million U.S. jobs.

And let’s not forget that for the past several years, vehicles made by U.S.-based automakers have consistently been ranked high, if not the highest, in several quality categories in the esteemed, annual J.D. Power vehicle quality studies. In fact, in the 2010 J.D. Power Quality study results, U.S.-based automakers' cars ranked in the top three of 12 categories and ranked first over foreign-company brands in six of the 12 categories.

2011 Union-Built Vehicles list -- worker
Vehicles made by U.S.-based automakers have consistently been ranked high, if not the highest, in several quality categories.


In the July, 2010 J.D. Power Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study (APEAL) that measures customer satisfaction, domestic brands ranked higher than foreign brands. Domestic manufacturers won eight of the top 20 ranked vehicles, with Ford winning the highest award in five segments – more than any other manufacturer.

Domestic brands had an average score of 787 points on a 1,000-point scale, 13 points higher than the overall score of foreign brands.

Let’s also not forget that many nonunion auto companies violate their U.S. workers’ First Amendment rights to free speech and association by viciously fighting their workers when they express a desire to organize.

These same corporations allow workers in their home countries the right to organize and collectively bargain.  Should our American workers be given fewer rights and less respect?

Buying a union-built vehicle does make a huge difference. Happy shopping.


Vince Piscopo