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Where In The World Did Your Ride Come From?

By: Jim Champion, The Auto Guy Email
By: Jim Champion, The Auto Guy Email

Lots of people want to “buy American” when they purchase a vehicle and that used to be pretty easy decades ago. You simply bought a vehicle made by an American company. But times have changed over the years and that’s no longer true.

In the global economy that exists these days, you can never say for certain where all the money that you pay for a vehicle is going. Some of the parts might be made in one place, shipped to another place and assembled into a completed vehicle in another place. Add that to the fact that the automaker’s headquarters might be in another country and it really becomes confusing.

But if you look at the window label of a new vehicle it will have some helpful information related to where the vehicle was built and where the parts came from. The window label will show the percentage of parts that were manufactured in the United States and Canada. It will also show if some of the parts were manufactured in other countries and the percentage of those parts. Finally, it will have where the final assembly point was to put all of the parts together on the assembly line and actually build the vehicle.

Another clue about where your vehicle was built comes from your vehicle identification number. This clue doesn’t tell you where all of the parts came from, but it will tell you where the vehicle was built. You can find the VIN on the lower part of the windshield or the driver’s door opening. It is 17 characters long and the very first character will tell you where it was built.

Here are a few of the most common examples. If the first character is a 1, 4 or 5, the vehicle was built in the United States. If it’s a J, the vehicle was built in Japan. If it’s a 2, the vehicle was built in Canada. If it’s a 3, the vehicle was built in Mexico. If it’s a K the vehicle was built in Korea. And if it’s a W it was built in Germany.

While it’s not a perfect system by any means, the information on the window sticker is the best way for consumers to get a real good idea of where the parts came from and where the vehicle was assembled.

With automakers being more global than ever these days, it’s pretty hard to keep all of your money right here in the USA. But if you do a little research, you can make an educated decision about where in the world your money is going.


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