Skip to main content

Decades ago, the struggle of choosing between foreign and domestic-made cars was a plight many car enthusiasts went through. Today, the difference between a foreign or American-made car isn’t as drastic as it once was, although there are still some unique factors to consider.

But first…

What’s the Difference? 

There was a time when American-made cars, like Ford or Chevrolet, were built exclusively in the U.S. However, the tides have changed, and we’re seeing more American car manufacturers using parts made in other countries worldwide to support their vehicles. In addition, it’s become easier to import cars from foreign countries. Companies such as Breeze Customs provide customers with custom brokerage tools that make importing easier. 

How To Choose

popular local Southern California car show with many makes and models

So, how do you choose? Well, it

all comes down to personal preference. Consider your needs when determining what type of car is best for you, and do your research. Sometimes it isn’t always so obvious what is or isn’t a domestic or foreign car. 

Here are some key points to consider:


Many American brands have a strong focus on size. The larger, the better! That’s why SUVs and pickups are some of the best-selling vehicles in the U.S., with brands like Ram and Ford promoting more cabin space and wider seats. Even “smaller” American-made vehicles often put comfort and spaciousness above all else. 

Foreign brands often make more compact cars with smaller engines. That’s not to say that they haven’t expanded and manufactured roomier cars, but size isn’t everything for brands like Nissan and Honda. While domestic cars prefer to go bigger with engines and scale back on transmission gears, foreign manufacturers tend to produce smaller engines with more gears. That’s something to think about when determining what your next car will be. 


Cost is perhaps the most common factor that car owners mull over when deciding on a vehicle. Consider the cost of import, auto insurance, and maintenance. Most domestic companies have parts made overseas, which cuts the cost of parts. However, when it comes to repairs, domestic vehicles cost less to fix compared to foreign models. If you decide on a foreign car, such as a Volkswagen, you may need to shell out more money if a specific part requires fixing or replacing. In some cases, car parts may need to be shipped in from overseas, increasing the overall cost of the repair.  

When talking about fuel efficiency, you’ll get more bang for your buck when choosing a foreign car. Most foreign-made cars have better fuel efficiency compared to domestic vehicles, meaning that you won’t need to fill the gas tank as often. Gas is expensive, after all. 

While domestic brands have many affordable vehicles, foreign brands like Kia and Hyundai have some of the most affordable cars available in America. In addition, foreign automobiles are becoming much more accessible in recent years due to better importing fees. 


While many car enthusiasts will contest this point, foreign cars have been known to outrank domestic vehicles, especially with performance and reliability. Brands like Toyota, Lexus, and Mazda are some of the few that prove to be continuously reliable. While domestic-made cars have leaped forward in their reliability factor, foreign vehicles remain the top choice.


Many car owners prefer imports solely for looks and status. Desired foreign brands like BMW, Mercedes, and Audi are some of the few that outrank domestic competitors. These brands also emphasize furthering technology and refinement when manufacturing their vehicles, meaning the cost is sure to skyrocket. 

Weighing the Pros & Cons

Pros & Cons of Domestic Cars 


  • Many affordable brands
  • Spacious options 
  • Less expensive repairs
  • Specialize in SUVs and pickups 


  • Lower fuel efficiency 
  • Less reliable than foreign cars 
  • Fewer options for sedans 

Pros & Cons of Foreign Cars 


  • Better fuel efficiency
  • Improved reliability ratings
  • Best warranty coverage


  • Replacement parts are harder to obtain/cost more
  • Some brands are more expensive 
  • Not as spacious 

We understand how torn you can get choosing between domestic and foreign cars. Do you want something spacious or affordable? Remember that it’s pivotal to do some research first. We hope you found this helpful and use the knowledge to purchase your future vehicle of choice. 

Meta Description: Can’t decide between a domestic or foreign car? Follow this pros and cons list to determine which type of vehicle is the right choice for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

For foreign cars, the exact mileage they can last will depend on which make and model you have. Generally speaking, they are designed to last longer than domestic cars. For example, a typical foreign car with regular maintenance can often last upwards of 200,000 miles or more. However, this may vary depending on the specific car’s design. Additionally, you should also factor in additional elements, such as how often the car is driven and the driving that it’s put through. To get a more accurate estimate of how many miles your foreign car can last, consult a professional mechanic or look up the manufacturer’s guidelines for this information. Ultimately, following regular maintenance procedures will help ensure that your foreign car lasts as long as possible.
When it comes to finding a quality car at an affordable price, many factors come into play. The best place to find a cheap car depends on the type of car you’re looking for and your budget. Some countries, like Japan and Germany, offer cars with excellent safety ratings and reliability at surprisingly low prices. On the other hand, countries such as Mexico and India have become increasingly popular for those looking for inexpensive vehicles.
One of the most important considerations is the condition of the vehicle. You must take detailed information from the seller about any previous repairs or maintenance done on the vehicle, its current state, and potential repair costs. Moreover, get a full history report and inspect it by a reputable mechanic before making your purchase.


David Muench (Carnes Mechanical)

David Muench (Carnes Mechanical)

Hey, I’m David. I’ve worked in a cars store for 6 years. I write reviews and guides, helping people to choose the most suitable technicals and best product for them. I’m happy to finally share my knowledge of the industry here, on CarnesMechanical.

Leave a Reply