Is "Foreign Car" Becoming An Oxymoron?

Written By the Sam's Clan Staff

It wasn't too long ago that most Japanese or European car makers would have sneered at the mention of making cars in the United States. "Too many problems with unions...Wages are too high....Too many issues with procurement of materials." The list would go on and on. Yet, the transformation of the thinking in the car industry has been staggering. This transformation in thought can be directly attributed to the power of the American consumer. When the American consumer, the most powerful in the world, takes a stand on something, companies have to listen. There is an old adage in the marketing world, "Do you know what you call companies that are tone deaf to the wishes of their customers? Extinct."

Almost every major car manufacturer in the world now makes cars in the American heartland. These multi-billion dollar facilities are almost always dedicated to producing cars that fit American consumer habits, meaning the entire assembly line and technology needs to be built from scratch and customized. This requires a huge investment in time, money, and resources from these global companies. Within ten years, we at Sam's Clan estimate that 90% of new cars that are sold in showrooms across the country will be manufactured and assembled in the United States. With the global consolidation in the auto industry and shift from centralized corporate headquarters, it would not be far fetched to say that almost every company will be headquartered in the U.S. as well.

Anyone who says that demanding U.S. made products will not make a dent clearly has not studied the auto market. Just imagine the impact in other industries, if Americans make a concerted effort to stay away from foreign made products. Companies will be forced to react quickly or lose considerable market share. When Honda moved an assembly plant to Ohio in 1982 people in Japan thought they had lost their minds. Obviously the decision makers at Honda made a smart decision, and nearly every major manufacturer has followed suit over the last 30 years. Below we have included an updated list of manufacturing facilities of foreign owned car brands here in the U.S. The term "foreign car" has truly become quite the oxymoron. After reviewing the list, we believe it would be hard for you to disagree.


Smyrna, TN: This plant represented a capital investment of $2.5 billion from Nissan. The plant produces the Nissan Altima, Nissan Maxima, Nissan Xterra, Nissan Frontier and Nissan Pathfinder

Decherd, TN: This is Nissan's powertrain assembly plant. The plant manufactures all the engines for the complete lineup of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles produced in the U.S., forges crankshafts, and casts cylinder blocks.

Canton, MS: This plant represented a capital investment of $1.4 billion. The plan now produces the Nissan Altima, Nissan Quest, Nissan Armada, Nissan Titan and Infiniti QX56.


Tupelo, MS: This facility is currently being built, and production of the Prius Hybrid is scheduled to start in 2011

Georgetown, KY: In this facility the 2GR-FE and 2AR-FE engines are built and the Camry, Hybrid Camry, Avalon and Venza car lines are manufactured and assembled.

San Antonio, TX: In this facility the Sequoia, Sienna & Highlander car lines are manufactured and assembled.

Princeton/Fort Branch, IN and Fort Branch: In this facility the Sequoia, Sienna & Highlander car lines are manufactured and assembled.

Huntsville, AL: In this facility the 1GR-FE, 1UR-FE and 3UR-FE engines are built.

Buffalo, WV: In this facility the 2GR-FE and 1AR-FE engines are built.


Lincoln, AL: In this facility the Honda Odyssey, Honda Pilot, Honda Ridgeline, and Honda J engine are built.

Greensburg, IN: In this facility the Civic line is manufactured and assembled. This is the most recent U.S. plant for Honda, built in 2008.

Marysville, OH: In this facility the Honda Accord, Acura TL, Acura RDX, and Honda Gold Wing bikes are built. This was the first ever Japanese car plant in the U.S.

East Liberty, OH: In this facility the Honda Civic, Honda Civic (GX NGV), Honda CR-V, and Honda Element are assembled.


West Point, GA: In addition to corporate design campus in Irvine, California, Kia manufactures the Kia Sorento and the Hyundai Santa Fe in Georgia. In addition to four main stamping, welding, paint and assembly areas, the facility also includes a transmission shop, module shop and a two-mile test track.


Montgomery, AL: In addition to corporate design campus it shares with Kia in Irvine, California, and a state of the art engineering and proving grounds in California City, CA and Superior Township, MI, Hyundai assembles the Sonata and Elantra lines in a $1 Billion facility in Alabama that employs over 2,000 workers.


Lafayette, IN: Subaru was one of the first foreign car makers to have a presence in the U.S., establishing an American headquarters in the Philadelphia area in 1968. Today they produce the Legacy, Outback, and Tribeca models at the Indiana plant. They also assemble some Toyota Camry's as part of a partnership they have with Toyota.


Flat Rock, MI: This is the AutoAlliance International complex which is a joint venture with Ford Motor Company. The Mazda 6 is assembled in this plant

Claycomo, MO: In the Kansas City Assembly Plant, which is owned by Ford Motor Company, Mazda makes the Tribute line. This plant is the largest tax generator in Clay County, Missouri.

St. Paul, MN: The Twin Cities Assembly Plant is the oldest operating plant from Ford. In this plant, located in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul, Mazda assembles the B-Series pickup truck.


Normal, IL: At this facility the Eclipse sports coupe, Eclipse Spyder convertible, Galant mid-size sedan, and Endeavor crossover utility vehicle are assembled. Combined, these cards account for approximately half of Mitsubishi's passenger car sales in the U.S.


Greer, SC: At this facility the X3, X5, and X6 models are manufactured. For those that own a BMW, you can check your VIN, and anything starting with 4US or 5US will have come from this South Carolina complex. Last year BMW announced an ambitious plan to spend $750 million to expand the plant, making it the largest foreign car operation in the U.S., by employee headcount.


Tuscaloosa, AL: At this facility the larger Mercedes lines that are not sold in Europe are manufactured, including the M-Class Sport Utility, the R-Class Sport Tourer, and the full-sized GL-Class Luxury Sport Utility Vehicle.


After years of hemorrhaging sales in the U.S. Volkswagen has begun construction on an assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. This plant will produce cars solely for the U.S. consumers, including the new Midsize Sedan. Production is scheduled to begin in 2011.