Jason Notte wrote an article for The Street highlighting 10 products that are seemingly synonymous with America. The irony, of course, is that these “American” products are not in fact, made in America.
Notte begins highlighting how drawn American consumers on to the “Made in America” tagline – which many times is more public relations jargon than truthfully representing how much of a product is physically made in the United States.
“According to a 2010 survey by Adweek Media and Harris, 61% of Americans say they are more likely to buy a product when an ad says it's ‘Made in America.’ That includes 75% of Americans 55 and over, 66% of those 45 to 54 and 61% of those 35 to 44.”
With such a loyalty to products perceived to be wholly made in the good ole’ U.S. of A., it’s no wonder that brands work so hard at this coveted image.
Notte includes two beer brands and two auto makers in his top 10 – Budweiser and Coors, Ford and Chevrolet.
Noting that American imagery, like flags and the Rockies emblazon both cans and labels of the beer products, only a percentage of the product is “home-grown.”
“Brazilian-Belgian brewing company InBev took over Anheuser-Busch for $52 billion (in 2008). Though the company still has a dozen breweries in the U.S., there have been a whole lot of layoffs stateside in an attempt to make the brewer a leaner, more cosmopolitan international player.
“Coors stopped being solely a Rocky Mountain resident in 2005 when it merged with Canadian megabrewer Molson. That lumped the Coors brands in with a stable that includes the Molson products, England's Carling and Dutch-derived Grolsch. Still, it needed a little something extra to compete in the American marketplace.
“SABMiller — formed in 2002 when South African Breweries bought U.S.-based Miller Brewing — teamed with MolsonCoors to market both companies' beers in the U.S. under the MillerCoors joint venture.
“While it's nice that Coors Light recently took the No. 2 spot in the American market from Budweiser, saying it's the No. 2 American beer brand is a bit of an oversimplification. At this point, Coors in the U.S. is equal parts American, Canadian, British and South African. You'd have to dig down through the beer ranks to Yuengling or Boston Brewing — with a combined U.S. market share of little more than 2% to MillerCoors' 29% — before you found a truly ‘American’ beer.”
For the auto manufacturers, more parts and pieces, means less and less of the vehicle is made in America.
For General Motors, maker of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, “some of the trucks are assembled at plants in Flint, Mich., and Fort Wayne, Ind., but a sizable number are also made in Silao, Mexico.
“Even those made north of the border aren't quite ‘American.’ Auto pricing site Cars.com booted the Silverado and Sierra out of the Top 10 of its American-Made Index after its pieces slipped below the list's cutoff of 75% domestically produced content to only 61%.”
The Silverado’s top marketplace competitor, the Ford F150, doesn’t fare much better.
According to Notte, “The F-150 may roll off the lines in Kansas City, Mo., and Dearborn, Mich., but only 60% of its parts are made in the U.S. That's actually a great statement on the F-150's quality and demand, considering that 90% of its parts were made in the U.S. before volume increased nearly 11% in the past year alone. Unfortunately, the F-150's popularity forced Ford to outsource parts and cut costs.”
Notte goes on to shine light on Rawlings baseballs, Levi’s, American Girl dolls and Craftsman tools in his report. In many cases, like Rawlings and American Girl, the brand is just part of a conglomerate.
For Craftsman, none of this is first-time news. In 2004, Sears, who oversees the tool manufacturer was sued for falsely claiming the tools were “Made in America”. While the suit was thrown out after the filers could not prove any damage was to anyone, the fallout was felt. Craftsman products do read “Made in China.”
– Alanna Stage, Consumer Media Network News Staff Writer