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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Democrats Like Foreign Cars [Politics]

The Democratic party has presented itself as the party of the "working man", and the UAW has voted religiously for Democrat candidates. However, according to an April 1 story in the New York Times, Democrat voters tend to favor foreign built, non-union cars. A study found

...buyers of American cars tend to be Republican - except, for some reason, those who buy Pontiacs, who tend to be Democrats. Foreign-brand compact cars are usually bought by Democrats - but not Mini Coopers, which are bought by almost
equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans.

More about this study is mentioned at The Car Connection (3/4 down the page).

A few examples, gleaned from these articles:

Vehicle makes which are more likely to be driven by Republicans:

Land Rover
*Ford Trucks, SUVs

Vehicle makes more likely to be driven by Democrats:

* = UAW built.

What is quickly apparent from this list is that Democrats are not, apparently, making much of an effort to buy UAW made vehicles. And, lets not forget that the Democrats joined with the Republicans to support NAFTA. If I was a UAW man, I would not be pleased.


Anonymous said...

Wow, what a dumb blog post. Uh, are you saying Democrats are buying imports BECAUSE they're not UAW-built? If you are, you should say so and become known as somebody who can't reason his way out of a paper bag.

Democratic labor policies revolve around protecting the rights of workers to organize without threat of retribution from their employers. The policy never - NEVER - had ANYTHING to do with encouraging consumption of domestic products over foreign products. It never - NEVER - involved promises by Democrats to purchase only UAW-build cars.

Your ability to connect miles-apart dots is breathtaking. I think, more likely, what's happening is that Democrats tend to prefer imports, and imports happen not to be built with UAW labor, for the most part.

To imagine that Democrats prefer imports because of manufacturers' labor policies is absurd unless you can point me to even a shred of evidence that shows buyers giving a crap about such things.

The Auto Prophet said...

The point of my post was that if Democrats are pro-union, they should buy products that support american workers, aka the UAW. The fact that they seem to prefer foreign cars is a surprise to me, and if I was a UAW guy, I would be pissed.

Anonymous said...

re: anonymous

aren't the liberals always talking about "protecting the workers of america"? aren't they often supporters of protectionism and against free trade?

The Angry Engineer said...

I'm anxiously awaiting polling results showing which brands a third-party voter drives. I noticed your list includes GMC; perhaps there's a reason behind that ;)

I'm going to wager a guess that geographical and demographic reasons heavily drive such poll results.

The Auto Prophet said...

The article said that since Democrats were clustered more around the coasts, where the ports are, that they would have easier access to imported cars... I don't buy it. Cars are distributed across the country, and the destination fee is standard.

According to the article, the brand with the most independent buyers is Scion.

carpundit said...

I doubt seriously there's any UAW-related causation behind the Democrats' not buying UAW-made cars. I could postulate some reasons, but I'd be talking out my behind because I have no data.

One thing's for sure: Democrats support unions because they always have. Unions support Democrats because they always have. A lot of the reasons don't make sense anymore.

Sort of like the reasons for having unions in the first place.

pbxtalk said...

I looked at the article, and I think this could actually be sort of a cultural rorshach. I see buyers acting on different perceptions of value, what is of value to them. The intersection of value appears to be Buick (not surprising to me). Buick is a popular choice for both groups in the volume buyer category. After that, the readers cultural perceptions kick in. Are the buyers concentrating on fuel milage as a factor? Democrats have been advocating fuel efficiency on a national scale, urging higher CAFE standards for Detroit. Republicans have successfully fended these off. Are the Democratic buyers acting on a personal level regarding this issue? I suspect so, because the Buick Century is a well-built, comfortable and reliable car that also gets pretty good mileage. I've driven mine from the San Francisco Bay Area to San Luis Obispo, a trip of a couple of hundred miles, and got 30 MPG. And that was rolling at an average 10 MPH over the speed limit with the air conditioner on. That's better mileage then I used to get from my VW Beetle. So, I don't find it suprising that the Buick is the commonality between the two groups.

Of course, Republicans want to do all they can to hurry up global warming and destroy the planet so Jesus comes back sooner, so they like Hummers. ;-)

Perhaps they buy Buicks as a cultural hangover, an artifact from the days of 10 MPG Roadmasters?

Nah, I don't think so either.

Then there is the younger demographic buying foreign iron. They still carry with them the perception that Detroit makes crap. Their first cars were possibly used 1980's cars, and didn't Detroit make great cars then? No, they didn't. They also likely listened and observed their parents when they grew up bitching about the family car was headed to the shop again. Detroit has a lot to overcome with this crowd. Chrysler's made some inroads. I hope they keep it up.

Getting back to the UAW, they aren't in the car designing business, are they? They just put them together. They don't plan them, design them or anything. If we want to save American jobs, maybe the car companies need to be pressured to make more fuel-efficient, reliable and attractive cars. PT Cruisers sold well. You think Ford will sell many 500's? Talk about boring...

Seriously, I don't understand why there is a problem with drilling in a responsible manner in ANWR *and* raising CAFE standards. We should be doing both. A policy of Either/Or is only half a solution. But until then, people are likely acting on a personal level, combined with their own self-interest.

The Angry Engineer said...

I don't buy the claim that there's different amount of "access" to imported or domestic cars on the coasts vs. flyover country, although the geographic distribution of dealerships might vary significantly. Good luck finding a Scion or Mini dealership in Montana, and I'm guessing that perhaps there's not a huge stock of Ford Super Duty pickups in most urban areas.

Is that the cause or the effect, though? I'd argue that it's the latter, and that a significant factor behind the purchase of a vehicle is social acceptance. An xB is unlikely to be considered useful or cool to someone living in Montana, which is not the case for someone in LA.

Anonymous said...

This discussion is getting dumber by the day. You say you'd be "pissed" if you were a UAW guy.

You have definite difficulty reasoning. Let me help you. Democrats support the rights of union workers to unionize and conduct union activities without threat of retribution. Where have you read or heard that this means their support extends to buying only UAW-made cars? They are two unrelated things.

I also support the right to unionize, and I drive two Hondas. There is not a speck of hypocrisy there. I'm "pro-union" only in the sense that I support laws that defend union activities. After that, the marketplace will make its decisions. Support for laws that defend unions does not equal unlimited, unmitigated, infinite support for every single thing every single union does or makes. Don't be silly.

The Auto Prophet said...

Re: Anonymous

By buying non-UAW products, you hurt UAW workers, and reduce their membership, and their influence. Why do you think the UAW is so heavy on "buy American" or "buy Union"?

Did you know that if you tried to park your Honda at a UAW parking lot, or at a UAW plant, at best they would kick you out, and at worst they would damage your car?

Saying "I support the unions" and then giving business to non-union business is bordering on hypocracy. It is definitely as sign of merely token support.

I do not buy goods from China, if I can help it. Why? Because I support human rights, a democratic Taiwan, and I don't want to fund the PLA, which owns quite a few of the plants in China.

If you care about an issue, you put your money behind it.

Anonymous said...

"Of course, Republicans want to do all they can to hurry up global warming and destroy the planet so Jesus comes back sooner, so they like Hummers."

It's difficult to respect your argument when you have no respect for others.
I live in the NE, and the 3 Hummers I know of are owned by Democrat business owners. So, getting back to your weak argument, why are you biased against Christians?

Anonymous said...

This discussion is asinine. You think like a ninth-grader. If you "try not to buy things from China" you're either lying or...lying. That's not possible these days.

I said it once and I'll repeat myself now for slow learners. I support the right of workers to unionize in order to compete more effectively with management in negotiating wages and benefits. In other words, I support their right to be and to stay competitive. Then, they must compete, as auto manufacturers must compete. I am not obliged to purchase their products even when I feel they are inferior or just not to my style. Are you really this juvenile?

The Auto Prophet said...

Re: Anonymous

Is it possible for you to post without insulting people who disagree with you? Who here is acting like a junior high kid?

It is true, I don't buy Chinese when I have a choice. Example: I recently bought a more expensive piece of furniture, so that I could buy a piece that was not made in China. I recently put down a pair of shirts at Sears and walked away because they were made in China.

Here is a suggestion for you: go find someone who is a union member. I would recommend a Teamster or UAW worker. Ask them if they would agree that you support them, given that you don't make an attempt to buy their products.

Post back and let us all know how your union member responded.

Jonathan said...

Just some first-person anecdotal experience: I'm pretty liberal, and tend to vote for Democracts, and I just leased a Detroit-manufactured, UAW-built '05 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4X4. Feels great, too. I grew up in Toledo, where Jeep is still THE major employer, and I have no qualms about a slightly emissions to keep the line going. No regrets so far about selling my Acura either, the Jeep is a competitive product (better than the 4Runner, which I have driven extensively IMHO), which is why I got one.

The Auto Prophet said...


It seems to me that there is a sort of divide between the UAW Democrats and the guys who I like to call the "progressives". UAW guys are interested in labor issues, for the most part. Outside of that, they tend to be suprisingly conservative--pro gun, many of them openly anti-gay rights and anti-abortion. The Democratic party used to be much more conservative than it is now--some time in the '60s it was hijacked by the far left, the Feminists, the Greens, the GLBA, etc. The Dems used to be much more like Joe Lieberman--economically liberal, but muscular on defense and foreigh policy, anti-communist.

Anonymous said...

The republicans only want to DESTROY the Unions. The Democratic Party has always supported workers.

If print media is "biased" then I have to quesiton this article. If you look hard enough, you will eventually find an article written that favors your view.

Steve said...

Jaguars and Landrovers are also UAW built. Owned by Ford.