Buy American Or Shun American?

U.S. automakers are lucky more customers haven’t deserted them, to judge by an Associated Press/AOL Autos/Ipsos Public Affairs survey. As you can see from the chart, people who own a car (or expect to get one soon) prefer American vehicles to the foreign variety. When asked to say which country generally makes the best cars, though, just 29 percent opted for the U.S. Forty-four percent picked Japan, with another 15 percent citing Germany. The poll’s most stunning number: Asked whether they’d “ever consider buying an American car,” 36 percent of respondents said “no.” That means the U.S. brands must do awfully well among the 64 percent of prospective car buyers for whom a domestic brand is even an option. People might shift to foreign models more quickly were it not for the fact that they tend to be content with the car they already own. Among those who have got a car, 34 percent said they are “extremely satisfied with it” and 45 percent “very satisfied.” By the way, if you think 2006’s high fuel prices left people chastened about gas-guzzlers, guess again. When those who plan to buy or lease a vehicle in the next six months were asked which types they are considering, half mentioned SUVs (33 percent) or pickup trucks (17 percent). A non-landslide 19 percent said they’re considering a compact car.