What do import and domestic mean in terms of cars?
Import and domestic are terms that have been used to describe cars for almost as long as there have been cars to describe. What do import and domestic mean in terms of cars? It should be fairly obvious. If you’re in the United States, then import means any car made outside the United States. By contrast, a domestic is any car made inside the United States. The current truth of the automotive world is a lot muddier than that now.
What are the American car brands?
American car brands mostly include GM, Ford, and FCA along with the associated brands. GM uses Chevy, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac, Ford uses Ford and Lincoln, and FCA uses Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, and Ram trucks.
It may come as a surprise to some, but most of these big brands actually own other brands that are typically considered import brands. For example, Chevy owns the Australian brand Holden, Ford owns the Chinese brand Jiangling, and FCA owns a myriad of brands including Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Lancia, Maserati, and until recently they even owned Ferrari.
Are import brands really imported?
Mainstream import brands include Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen, Subaru, Kia, Hyundai, and even luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Every single brand that we listed above employs factories in the United States to supply vehicles to North American customers. This means, buying a car from one of these “import” brands, doesn’t always mean the vehicle was imported.
Do domestic car brands import vehicles?
Okay, so many of the vehicles that we think of as imports are actually made here, but what about the domestic brands? They are still made here in the United States, right? Actually, that is not always the case.
Read More: Trucks made outside the U.S.
For example, GM has plants that make cars all over North America. This includes plants in both Mexico and Canada that make cars for car buyers in the United States. They even make some vehicles for us in China and other countries. GM isn’t the only one. Ford and FCA both do the same thing with many of their models.
Do import and domestic really mean anything?
In a modern context, the terms import and domestic are mostly meaningless when it comes to cars. Often people just used them to distinguish between the big three companies that we all imagine being headquartered in the United States and other brands. Though both Ford and Chevy are still headquartered here, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Chrysler whose parent company is FCA, is a little different.
FCA is a curious case. Of the big three brands, of which FCA used to be Chrysler, FCA is actually no longer headquartered in America. In fact, since it’s been called FCA it has been headquartered in the United Kingdom with its legal office in the Netherlands.