July 30, 2006
Written by C.N.
You may have heard that U.S. automakers (Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford) have been experiencing hard times recently. Another example of their struggles is that for the first time in American history, Americans are buying more import cars than domestic ones (retail sales only, as opposed to fleet sales):
New statistics compiled by R.L. Polk and Co. . . . show foreign brands commanded 52.9 percent of the retail auto market in the first five months of 2006, while domestic automakers fell to 47.1 percent. While the power shift has been long in the making, it’s nonetheless a disheartening sign that Detroit’s auto industry is losing the battle for the hearts and wallets of American car buyers. . . .
Industry experts say the numbers illustrate that Asian automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co and Nissan Motor Co. are doing a better job meeting the needs of U.S. car buyers. Domestic brands have been hurt by lower quality scores, and more recently, a heavy reliance on large trucks and SUVs at a time of a high gas prices. . . .
Toyota’s U.S. brands posted a 12.5 percent increase in retail sales in the first five months of the year. By contrast, GM’s retail sales slipped 7.7 percent. Excluding fleet sales, Toyota brands now outsell Ford and Chrysler nameplates in the United States, Polk reported.
I’ve written before about how many Asian automakers have several factories in the U.S. and are opening up even more and hiring thousands of U.S. workers, while at the same time, several domestic automaker factories are being closed and laying off thousands of employees.
However and unfortunately, for the foreseeable future, there will always be the lingering sentiment among many Americans that despite their commitment to contributing to the U.S. economy, Asian automakers such as Toyota, Honda, Nissan, etc. will continue to be seen as “foreigners” and not “real” American companies.
Unfortunately, this sentiment also trickles down to how many of us Asian Americans are treated as well — that despite our contributions as loyal Americans to this society, we are still frequently treated as “outsiders” and not “real” Americans. Nonetheless, and as these numbers about the success of Asian automakers show, our impact is undeniable and that fortunately, most Americans seem to recognize excellence when they see it.
The slow march of progress and acceptance continues . . .
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Americans Buying More Import Cars Than Domestic" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2006/07/americans-buying-more-import-cars-than-domestic/> ().
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