8 So-Called Foreign Cars Built in the US

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Foreign Cars That Aren't So Foreign

It’s not so simple these days to say if a particular vehicle is foreign or American – or what its country of origin really is. There was a time when you could reasonably assume that if a car wore the badge of a Detroit automaker, that it was built in the United States, and conversely that if its marque was European or Asian, it was an imported product. That’s no longer true.

The watershed moment was in 1978, when Volkswagen took over Chrysler’s unfinished Westmoreland plant located 35 miles south of Pittsburgh. Soon, many of the VWs sold in the US were built in America. Four years later, in 1982, Honda opened its first plant in Marysville, Ohio— and Toyota followed suit in 1988 in Georgetown, Ky. Now, there are more than a dozen plants scattered from South Carolina to Texas, from Indiana to Alabama, building millions of cars every year for “import” brands.

The decision for foreign automakers to save production and shipping costs, to take advantage of favorable currency exchange rates, and to form joint ventures allowing them to promote cars “made in America” became a force that forever changed the auto industry. It redefined the automotive map, arguably making a car’s origin less important. Here is a quick rundown on what’s made where.

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