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What country builds the most, recommended cars?

By: · July 2, 2010

The approaching July 4th holiday, and ongoing FIFA World Cup, have made this is a time for national pride and competition. Inspired, our Consumer Reports Auto Price Services studied the latest incentives and produced a list of the best deals on American-made cars. (See our Best Deals on all cars.) In doing this seasonal analysis, we found that among 118 models on the market this month made in the United States, 35 percent are Consumer Reports recommended. This raised the question of how other countries compare.

We identified 293 mainstream models sold in the United States, and they come from factories located in 15 nations. On average, Consumer Reports recommends 37.4 percent of the models sold here—just more than the current recommended percentage of U.S.-built models. To be recommended, vehicles must perform well in our road tests, have average or better reliability, and perform adequately in government or insurance industry crash tests.

The spectrum for recommended cars per country spans from not a single vehicle recommended to 60 percent from a given nation. Of course, there can be multiple factors that limit recommendations, including a model not yet tested and reliability data not available yet (too new).

With Turkey, the sole export to the United States is the Ford Transit Connect. While this small commercial van has been sold for years overseas, it is relatively new here. We have not tested it and do not have reliability data, so don’t hold this one against Turkey.

Instead, look to Great Britain for the true lowest number of recommended vehicles. Just one of a dozen models are recommended, for a paltry 8.3 percent. Historically, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Mini products have struggled with reliability, though Mini’s Clubman and non-turbo Cooper versions do earn our recommendation.

Japan and Sweden tie for the highest percentage of recommended models at 60 percent, though Japan has the true advantage with 29 models making the grade. With fewer exports, Sweden builds five vehicles and three are recommended.

Mexico and South Korea deserve mention, each with more then 40 percent of vehicles recommended.

Where the recommended cars are made

Austria 3 1 33%
Belgium 7 1 14
Canada 21 4 19
France 1 0 0
Germany 36 14 39
Great Britain 12 1 8
Hungary 2 0 0
Japan 49 29 59
Korea 19 8 42
Mexico 17 7 41
Portugal 1 0 0
Slovokia 2 0 0
Sweden 5 3 60
Turkey 1 0 0
USA 118 42 36

We recommend that car shoppers prioritize how a vehicle performs in our ratings, rather than shop by country of origin–a criteria complicated by parts sourcing that can bring numerous parts together from across borders. The reality is that all countries build some models better than others.

With significant incentives this holiday weekend, great deals can be had on models built from around the world.

Also read: “Who makes the best cars?” for our full automaker report cards.

? and Mike Dempsey

Filed under: Ford,Kia,News,Seasonal

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