Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tracking the Elusive American-Made Auto in San Francisco

Like a birdwatcher spotting a rare Raso Lark and a Madagascar Pochard on the same day, I was shocked to discover not one but two relatively late-model American made cars parked on my block in San Francisco on Sunday. And they weren't SUVs or trucks! One even displayed the colorful cream, orange and black plumage known as a Giants sticker. This is the first time I've ever witnessed this astounding event. While purely anecdotal, the close proximity of an elusive Ford Focus and a seldom-glimpsed Chevy Aveo — mingling with the Toyotas, Hondas, Minis and BMWs — must surely herald the recovery for the domestic auto industry.


  1. But were the drivers under the age of 75?

  2. Oh the irony....
    The Chevy Aveo is made in Korea, by Daewoo.(1) The Ford Focus is assembled in Wayne, MI, but currently only 50% of it uses domestic products--down from 75% originally.(2)

    1. http://www.edmunds.com/chevrolet/aveo/review.html
    2. http://ask.cars.com/2009/07/is-the-ford-focus-made-in-america.html

  3. Truly a rare sighting in California, much less San Francisco. Of course, the Chevy was running fine, but the Ford hadn't moved in a week - still waiting on parts. I miss driving around Flint and seeing all the Chevy's and Cadillacs. Don't miss the Fords pulled off on the shoulder...

  4. Ah Driftwood, you did my work for me. I actually considered checking up on the percentage that was American made, but I feared the answer would ruin my clever post. But as my management friend at Ford always points out, there's a lot of Americans employed at the Big Three who are not putting the cars together on the line. So While the Chevy may be made elsewhere, it's still employing a lot of folks in Michigan and the U.S.

  5. The American small car is back and it will be good this time. Small does not equal cheap anymore. They are European inspired (loads of amenities), good on gas mileage, and most importantly fun to drive. Ford's Fiesta and next year's Focus will compete with anyone, Chevy has a few great cars in the pipeline, and once Fiat figures out how to put a Chrysler badge on some of their cars, the segment will be full of good choices. Even you SF guys may have to consider one..

  6. True the Aveo is currently produced in S.Korea....however production will be shifting to Michigan....Pontiac, Orion or one of those.

    Funny we never see Toyota pickups coming in for trade with over 200k miles...but we see probably 3 or 4 GM trucks with 200k miles every week.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at www.teardownbook.com.