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How Often is a “Foreign” Car Made in the US? This Isn’t a Brainteaser, We Promise

foreign carOften when we want an idea of how many foreign cars there are in the US, we look at news articles, facts, or figures from somewhere. However, this week introduced an amazing visual of just how many cars built outside the US there are. The online comic XKCD used looping .gif files to show the frequency of numerous events, such as how often there is a death in the world, how often there is a birth, how often Japan builds a car, how often the US builds a car, etc. The words “birth,” “death,” “Japan builds a car,” blink with the frequency at which the event takes place. For example, “birth” blinks so fast that it’s difficult to distinguish but seems to be almost several times per second. So let’s discuss what the frequency of cars being built anywhere has to do with your life right now.

The odds that you’ll buy a foreign car are higher than you think.
Unfortunately, the writer of XKCD hasn’t shared all the sources that he used for his comic, but it’s possible that he used the amount of cars made by Japanese or Chinese companies per year to get his numbers. If that’s the case, there’s obviously a huge problem, because some cars made by “foreign” companies are the most American cars that you can buy. Car and Driver had an extremely interesting article about it a few years ago, listing the most “American” cars from foreign manufacturers. It featured the stunning statistic that a massive 80 percent of Hondas and Acuras are built right here in the United States. While some individuals may say that money goes back to a foreign corporation, that corporation still pays a certain amount of US taxes and the car-making facilities support thousands upon thousands of US workers in a still-hurting economy. On the other hand, cars from the “Big Three” American automakers such as the Lincoln MKZ are being assembled in places like Mexico. When it comes to cars, buy what’s reliable and easy to fix. This brings us to the next point.

Foreign cars may be cheaper to maintain.
There may be a lot of argument about this point, and of course, it entirely depends on the car that you choose. Expensive foreign models could cost you thousands if you so much as scratch the fender. However, of the 10 cheapest cars to maintain according to MSN Cars, seven are made by foreign companies, including a Chevrolet model manufactured around the world. According to CarMD rankings, the least expensive cars to repair, should you find yourself having to fix some body damage after an accident, are those from Toyota, Hyundai and Honda, in that order. And to make your maintenance costs worthwhile, you may be thinking about resale value. Foreign models excel in this category as well, with the Honda Civic as the best sedan for retaining value five years after you buy it).

Whether you’re looking at an infographic from XKCD or seriously considering a new car purchase, foreign and “domestic” cars may be labeled different than you think, and could save you a hefty amount when it comes to maintenance and repairs.

Image Credit: Car and Driver