Made in America? Part 1

With all the recent talk about exports, MSNBC has a new section of articles completely focused on the concept of  ‘Made in America.’

First, “Made in America? Not always ones you think” details the results of an informal poll MSNBC performed on it readers, asking for their favorite products that are made in the US. The results perfectly illustrate how most global corporations are strategically sourcing from low-cost countries to maximize both customer satisfaction, quality, and profits.

The list of US-made products also makes note of how these companies are taking advantage of globalization to grow their product lines without sacrificing quality:

In most cases, the companies readers named make some products in the United States but also rely on manufacturers in other countries to produce certain product lines or lower-priced items.

In addition to babies and crooked politicians, readers named these companies as producing their favorite US-made products. Can you name which ones on the list no longer have 100% US-based manufacturing?

  • Harley DavidsonMade in the USA / Free Trade Agreements
  • Craftsman Tools
  • Red Wing Shoes
  • Levi’s clothing
  • Fender guitars
  • Smith & Wesson
  • All-clad cookware
  • Weber grills
  • KitchenAid stand mixers
  • Zippo
  • Fiesta Dinnerware
  • Cars

Most of these manufacturers go on to say, they aim to provide low-cost, high quality items- whether that means sourcing from home or looking overseas. They also supplement their main US-made product line with accessories or low-end items sourced internationally sourced. For example:

Larry Costello, spokesman for the Sears tool line [Craftsman], said the company is always looking for the most cost-effective suppliers to manufacture its products, and that hand tools made overseas carry the same warranty as those made domestically.

Weber-Stephens Products Co. says most of its barbecues, including the iconic kettle grill, are manufactured in the United States at factories in the Chicago area.

Mike Kempster, the company’s chief marketing officer, said the only exceptions are certain accessories, such as toolsets, and its Spirit line of gas grills, which are made in China.

The company also occasionally relies on overseas suppliers for certain, low-value parts, because they aren’t available in the U.S., Kempster said.

Others are moving their manufacturing as part of a low-cost country sourcing initiative. Whirlpool, which owns the US-made mixer manufacturer KitchenAid, announced that it would close its refrigerator plant in Evansville, Ind., and move that production to Mexico. Sounds like they are cutting labor costs & taking advantage of NAFTA.

Additionally, some products are made in America- but by foreign companies. Many people listed their car as their favorite Made in USA item – whether that’s a Ford, Chevy, Nissan, or Honda, these companies manufacture their vehicles in the US.

Still trying to figure out which of the list is 100% Made in America? Check out the slideshow on MSNBC for the answers.

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Caroline posted at 2010-4-1 Category: free trade agreements, NAFTA, trade compliance

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