A decade ago Hyundai had a reputation matching that of the butt of all automotive jokes, the Yugo. Last year Hyundai opened a new plant in the US. Now it’s playing with the Japanese big boys and competing against their US manufactured volume products. Edmunds recently tested a similarly price Hyundai Sonata against the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. The Korean/US upstart whipped its competitors at that price point. That’s the sort of market the Detroit has to compete against.

Ford has recently entered the lists with its Ford Fusion/Mercury Milano combo. In car magazine reviews the duo does quite well. GM has Oprah’s Pontiac G6, which is OK but a bit long in the tooth at birth. The Chevrolet Impala has a stodgy reputation but is probably very adequae family transportation. Daimler Chrysler has jumped above the competition with the rear wheel drive Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger at mid-range price points. I’ve actually got the Dodge Magnum on my to-be-checked list.

But here’s the funny thing the UAW hasn’t quite figured out yet. The American big three are out-sourcing to Mexico and Canada and China and the Asians are in-sourcing to the US. Think about this for a minute. If someone says buy American, do they mean buy from the foreign companies investing in America or buy from the American companies investing outside of America? Seems to me that non-union American labor is very competitive while UAW labor is a short-cut to Chapter 11. Just ask GM.

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