The latest study run by J.D. Power and Associates has found that the desire to ‘buy American’ still has a significant influence in convincing new car buyers in the U.S. to pick a domestic brand over an import. According to the 2007 Escaped Shopper Study, nearly 80% of new car buyers limit their choices to either domestic models or only import models. Among those who cross-shop for both import and domestic models, consumers who ultimately buy a domestic frequently do so because they simply decide they do not want an import.

On the other hand, import buyers who reject a domestic model usually do so because of perceived vehicle attribute deficiencies such as reliability, quality, mileage and resale values. This is a major problem for the Detroit 3 because in many cases, domestic branded vehicles are just as good, if not better, than their rivals from Asia and Europe.

The Detroit 3 are definitely facing an uphill battle when it comes to winning back market share in the States. Right now, they have two key alternatives to help win back market share, explained J.D. researcher Kara Steslicki. They can either continue outspending imports on incentives, or find vehicle specific opportunities, such as styling or promoting a positive dealer experience, that can have an immediate impact on consumer perceptions of the brand.