Shoppers who want to buy American cars have a relatively easy job, provided that their definition of an American car is one that's assembled in the U.S.A., of mainly domestic parts. They can consult a new car's window sticker for a quick rundown on the percentage of domestic content and the country and state in which the car was were assembled, posted to comply with the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA). The first letter or digit of the car's vehicle identification number (VIN) confirms where the car was built. Cars assembled in the U.S. start with a 1, 4 or 5, for example.
But some car shoppers want to know more than just where a car was assembled, particularly if that "American" car comes from a foreign carmaker, such as BMW, Honda or Toyota. They want to know if purchasing a foreign car that's made in America will support the U.S. economy. Where does the money from that American car wind up? Does it stay in the U.S., or does it go back to the carmaker's home country?