“Imported from Detroit” was the tag on the very last frame of one of this year’s better Super Bowl ads, a two-minute scowl by Eminem featuring the Chrysler 200 sedan. A few detractors argued that this was a slim, perhaps shady, claim, inasmuch as the 200 is actually assembled in Sterling Heights, Michigan, whose boundaries start about six miles beyond 8 Mile Road, and besides, all the shots at Chrysler these days are being called by Fiat, which is about as American as bocce balls, and furthermore, they’re all using those damn Chinese parts anyway.
It therefore falls upon me to check it out, and fortunately, I have just the tool for it: the April Car and Driver has a three-page feature (at this writing, not yet on their Web site) called “Domestic Bliss,” which identifies every automobile assembled between Baffin Bay and Belize that’s offered for sale in the States, and the domestic content thereof. “Domestic content,” says writer Tony Quiroga, has a legal definition:
By Uncle Sam’s reckoning, if 75 percent (by value) or more of a car’s parts come from the U.S. or Canada, it’s considered a domestic product; less than that, and it’s not.
So it was a simple matter to turn to the Michigan section, look up Sterling Heights, and there’s the 200, which has a domestic content of, yes, 75 percent. I’d say Detroit can claim this one as one of their own.
Smack that, haters.