As told you yesterday, Seattle has loads of outdoorsy types who wouldn’t be caught dead driving anything but a Subaru. But there are plenty of people who live in Seattle who could never be described as outdoorsy. But that doesn’t prevent them from buying four-wheel drive cars. Mostly Range Rovers.
They tend to live in neighborhoods with names like Broadmoor, Windermere, and The Highlands. While outdoorsy types drive their Subaru Outbacks off-road about 0.00001% of the time the car is in gear, most Seattle Range Rover owners drive their Range Rovers off-road about 0% of the time.
Once the Range Rover dealerships have been stripped bare of vehicles, Seattle non-outdoorsy types are forced to move on to other vehicle options. For most of them, those choices are German cars. Luckily for them, they can indulge their pursuit of Teutonic automotive quality and still buy vehicles made by members of our extended American family. There are now three German carmakers making “autos” in the U.S. and Audi is on the way to these shores.
The premier German car maker in my opinion assembles its GL, M and R class vehicles at its plant in Vance, Alabama; all are SUV/Crossovers. The engines and transmissions for these vehicles are still made in Deutschland. I think the R-350 is the world’s coolest crossover.
Yes, you can buy a BMW made in this country. BMW makes its X5 and, more recently, the X6 in Greer near Spartanburg, South Carolina, USA. BMW recently began production of the X3 in Spartanburg as well. After investing $750 million to expand the Spartanburg plant, BMW hopes to produce 240,000 X series vehicles a year. After its expansion is complete, it is estimated that the Spartanburg plant will be the largest car factory in the United States by number of employees. If I was in the market for an American made BMW it would be the X5.
VW decided to jump back into the U.S. auto manufacturing game in a big way. VW recently build a brand new ultra-modern mega-plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The plant can produce 150,000 Passats a year. If the demand is there, VW could assemble other VW models in Chattanooga as well.
Audi has been on a real roll of late and is rumored to be on the verge of opening a plant in this country.
To round out the American made car lineup, Hyundai produces Elantras and Sonatas in Montgomery, Alabama and Santa Fes in West Point, Georgia. Kia produces Sorentos at Hyundai’s West Point plant. Finally, Suzuki produces the Equator truck in Smyrna, Georgia.
Well, after reading my posts over the last three days, you now have a fairly complete run down of cars that are made in this country. But how to choose between them? Tomorrow I will discuss possible issues to consider when you decide to buy an American made vehicle.