Foreign or Domestic? Finding the Right Car for You

In America, the car is king. Millions of drivers on millions of roads covering millions of miles mean millions of vehicles bought and sold every year in this country. While a good amount of these cars are domestic brands, more and more Americans are choosing foreign made cars. Toyota, Honda, BMW and others have been steadily taking over American-made vehicles for some time, and it shows no signs of slowing. So does this mean that foreign is better? Let’s weigh in on the facts and see what this trend is all about.


When it comes to the bottom line, it seems like foreign companies are making headway, but only when it comes to cars, not trucks. When trucks are taken into consideration, American made brands are more favored. Perhaps the image of a hard-working American driving a pickup truck makes consumers buy domestic. However, it also probably has to do with the fact that many other countries don’t have the space for large trucks and SUVs, so foreign companies don’t make a lot of them. Below are the stats for each section.

Top Selling Car Brands

Toyota (13.7% share)

Chevrolet (11.1%)

Honda (10%)

Nissan (10%)

Ford (9.6%)

Top Selling Truck Brands

Ford (18.8% share)

Chevrolet (13.4%)

Toyota (10.7%)

Jeep (8.1%)

Honda (6.7%)

Top Selling Overall

Ford (14.4%)

Chevrolet (12.3%)

Toyota (12.1%)

Honda (8.3%)

Nissan (7.7%)


Part of the reason that many consumers have switched to foreign-based companies over the years is quality and dependability. During the tumultuous time of the 1970s, American made car companies started cutting costs, which led to lower-quality vehicles. Fuel efficiency was also a big issue back then (due to the OPEC oil crisis), and foreign cars just performed better at the pump. As a result of both occurrences, faith and trust in American brands faltered, and is only now starting to rebound. GMC, Ford, and others are bridging the gap when it comes to a well-built, reliable car that will last a lifetime. But for now, it seems that foreign cars still have higher consumer confidence.


It would seem at face value that a foreign made car should cost more than a domestic made one, but that is presuming that the cars you buy were manufactured in another country. There is a difference between foreign-made and foreign-based. Many of the most popular foreign brands in the US are based in other countries but still made in the US. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan all have factories in America that produce cars to be purchased in the country. This, in turn, lowers the sticker price and keeps the market competitive. While foreign brands typically are cheaper than their domestic counterparts, companies like Ford offer better features that come standard on their models. Ultimately, it depends on personal preference whether the price can be worth it.

When you take this all into consideration, which is better? For our money, we’ll always have a soft spot for foreign cars. If this were twenty years ago, they would have been the clear winner. However, to cover lost ground, many American brands are working harder than ever to compete in the marketplace, so for now, it looks like a tie.