Motor Trends: Why The Most Profitable Cars Made in the U.S.A. are Japanese and German

If you want to solve one of the central mysteries of today's auto business, consider this tale of two cars: the Ford Taurus, built at plants in Atlanta and Chicago, and the Nissan Altima, made in Smyrna, Tenn. Neither vehicle is fancy; they're mainstream sedans for buyers on a budget. Both sell well. But when you talk about profit, the Taurus wobbles off the road. Ford must entice Taurus buyers with rebate offers and financing deals that slice 13%, or roughly $3,000, off the sticker price. After allowing for dealer profits, that leaves a negative return for Ford. The Altima, meanwhile,...

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