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Are you a patriotic consumer?

Drivers are being urged to buy vehicles made in the UK as part of a new 'Buy British Cars' campaign. Do you put patriotism before price?

Background ¦ Your reaction

The Background:

Motorists are being encouraged to buy British-made cars and help boost the motor industry.

The Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union - the UK's biggest manufacturing union - wants people to stop buying imported cars - and do like the French - who usually go for home-grown vehicles.

The union has "named and shamed" a local council for spending tax-payers money on Citroen vans. Birmingham City Council said it could save £160,000 by opting for foreign vehicles.

Would you buy home-made goods over cheaper foreign alternatives? Is it important to use purchasing-power to boost our national economy or is patriotism at the check-out too much to ask from cash-strapped consumers? Tell us what you think.

Background ¦ Your reaction

Your Reaction:

Most people seem to be missing the question. It is not asking about which firms are British, but would you buy a car that was made in Britain, i.e. in a factory in the UK. I do not earn a great deal of money and cannot afford a new car. This is the case with most people. Why pay a few thousand more for a car that is built in Britain and transported just down the road, when you can buy a British car, transported to the continent for less. At least if you buy abroad, you can use the money you save to turn your trip into a holiday (and still make a saving).
Izzy, UK

Until this country wakes up to realise that the British people are fed up with being ripped off I wouldn't buy toilet paper from an English company. We the British have been taken for mugs for far to long, now it has to stop. The government gets rich, they rip us off to give millions to the so-called ROYAL FAMILY. It's got to stop, and it has to stop now. The money this country wastes it could put a stop to poverty within six months if it managed our money properly instead of wasting it by giving it to wasters.
R Silcock, England

I am a patriotic consumer as I always like buying things which are really useful for me. Nice consumers have a knowledge of all thing which help our society directly or indirectly.
Radha Krishan, India

How the heck is one supposed to buy a British car? If I remember correctly, about the only British marque still in British hands is TVR, whose cars a for a very niche market. If there actually were a range of British cars to buy, I'm sure some people would buy them, but they can't buy something that doesn't exist.
Andrea, UK

Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. I would never buy a British car, because only lamers buy them.
Michael Harvey, UK

What an insult to the British people to encourage them to pay more for their own cars than other countries!!!
Becky, UK

May I point out that one of the reasons why the French buy French cars is that a Renault, Peugeot or Citroen garage can be found in almost every French village. This also means that getting it maintained or repaired is not a problem. Another reason is the existence of protectionist measures allowed by loopholes in EC legislation. But non-French manufacturers are now increasing their outreach in France also, and French purchasing patterns are changing.
Peter, Netherlands

The point is one of a contentious issue. We are only buying a brand that is perceived to be British i.e. Rover or Jaguar. Both these companies are owned by German and American respectively. So what is the actual issue here?
In the car market which seems to be the hot topic of the moment, but the main solely owned British car manufacturers are firms that make the "Black Cab", or kit car manufacturers. Not one single mainstream car manufacturer is British!!!
Brett , GB

It's a difficult balance between being a hard capitalist and wanting to protect your own domestic industry, which obviously includes your own job (even those in The City!).
Until there is a free flow of people to counter the free flow of capital, protecting domestic industry to a degree will be legitimate. Because I want England to be my home, and not merely an economic camp, I feel obliged to do my bit.
Fortunately, when buying a car this is not too arduous. Some of the world's finest sports cars, saloons and off-roaders are made here. The motorcycles are pretty good too.
Andrew Jones, UK

Until something is done about "rip-off" Britain, then I'm afraid people will inevitably shop around for the best deal no matter what the country of origin. 15 years ago most things in France seemed terribly expensive to me. This year I was astonished that virtually every product (cars, bikes, TVs, videos, PCs, mobile phones, furniture etc.) was significantly cheaper than in the UK. So come on Tony Blair; do something about it and quickly!
Grant, UK

The relationship between consumer and vendor is a commercial one, not an emotional one. The day a company cares about anything other than its share price will be the day I care about anything other than the best product at the best price.
Jack Hu, UK

Absolutely Not! Buying British whether it be cars or white goods is your guarantee of poor quality, shoddy workmanship, of a product built down to a price rather than up to a standard. If Britain built good quality, even at a premium price it would sell. But we don't: our inefficient management constantly cut and chop, making "savings" in everything from staff conditions to quality of raw materials, bet never from their own fat salaries, or shareholder dividends!
Ian lowe, Scotland UK

It's very simple, we are getting ripped off, prices over seas are by far cheaper, why should we pay more?
Paul Hames, UK

I would. If I could afford to. As it is, I can't afford to buy a car full stop, UK or otherwise
Alex, UK

Why should we pay more than our friends in Europe for a car ???? for lower quality cars ???
James Hodgson, ENGLAND

Here in Germany nearly everybody buys either VW, Audi, BMW, Mercedes etc. This may be because we are patriotic, but the more likely reason is that the cars are good quality and affordable (here at least) So I think British people would buy British if they could buy affordable quality. Come on TVR expand!
Herr Weiss, Germany

For all major purchases I will make an effort to buy British manufactured goods as long as the quality is as good or better as foreign products (it usually is). I also will actively avoid goods from certain other countries that discriminate against British goods.
Simon Wilson, UK

So what if the British aren't patriotic in their purchasing? All it means is we've got a lot more common sense than say, the French do.
Vernon Hunte, England

I note the majority of comments here refer to "buying British". Yet your heading actually says the public are being urged to buy cars "manufactured in the UK" (By which I presume you mean Toyota for example. However, when I went out to get a new car sixteen months ago I found the Toyota Avensis was about seventeen grand, the Mondeo was about seventeen and a half grand and the Vauxhall Vectra was fourteen grand. No contest. I have a Vectra. It still annoys me (no, it more than annoys me but under-18's might be reading this) that I could have bought the same car across the channel for quite a few thousand pounds less though. I recommend to the AEEU that they get THAT matter addressed.
John Voisey, UK

Why should we support them when they sell their cars in other parts of Europe at a lower price?
Nick Vass, Scotland

I would buy British if Volvo cars were made here. Until then....!
Stephen Trott, England

I would buy British cars even if they are expensive. But will that help to get rid off the "Rip Off" Britain syndrome? It is the British consumer being robbed by British automobile manufacturers while they sell same car for much lower price in the continent. I think it's time that manufacturers show some patriotism.
Srinivas, UK.

Yes I do try very hard to purchase British goods, but it's very difficult, where cars are concerned. What is a British car? Is it one that's made up from parts bought from all over the world and assembled here in the UK, or is it the make of car which contains the most parts bought from Britain?
John Foster, England

Before we get dragged into cars again, I have a problem with the idea that British companies must be doing something right in order to be the main purchasers of overseas businesses. Working with regulated utilities has taught me that the main reason for this shopping spree is the huge profits made by British firms. The only thing they are doing right is milking the UK consumer for all they can. Be it cars, power, water, food or clothing, the Brits are being ripped off. As for me, I'm going to Canada when I graduate (but I may just import that Lotus one day...)
Andy, UK

I do not feel that the unions have any right to tell the consumer where to spend their hard earn cash. If British products are more expensive in their country of origin so be it, but I do not understand how a car built in Coventry can be cheaper in Holland than it is on the UK high street, and thus UK citizens are penalised. Perhaps the unions should concentrate on improving productivity and making British items less expensive to the UK consumer.
Chris Netherclift, UK

Just because a foreign company buys a British company does not mean that the product instantly changes "nationality". So if Ford (UK) have bought Aston Martin what exactly at Newport Pagnell has suddenly stopped being British and suddenly become American? The workforce? The design team? The sub-contractors who provide most of the components? None of them, the only thing that has become American is the owners, the product is as British as it was 5, 10 years ago, the only difference is that it is constantly improving.
Graeme, England

Being patriotic is bad for competition and consumer choice.
Marc Deveaux, UK

Many UK residents would buy British given the opportunity and reassurances of top quality. Unfortunately this does not come cheap. I can understand councils purchasing foreign vehicles to serve their needs, especially when a TVR or a Morgan does not exactly perform the same function as a US owned Ford Transit. But at least we could purchase goods that are made in the UK, or at least have a strong British tradition, such as MG, although Germanic owned.
We can't afford, financially or diplomatically to always buy British. This is a global economy. However, given the chance, the best quality audio equipment is British, the best engines are British, and craftsmanship of luxury goods made by the British are renowned world-wide. Yet, these days, even my cutlery is made in Japan!!!
A Bennett, England

I am just about to buy myself a new car from Europe. I'll love to buy from the UK but I cannot afford the price they are asking for. Can someone explain the reason for the significant price difference?
Dees, UK

I wasn't aware that there was a British car industry any longer, only foreign owned car manufacturers that have plants in the UK.
June Simpson, UK

While UK-built cars cost so much more in the UK than abroad, how dare unions, manufacturers or the Government "encourage" us to be ripped off? Why should we subsidise car sales abroad?
Paul, UK

The bad quality myth must End! Have people not heard of Psion organisers, Dyson vacuum cleaners, Duallit toasters and Kenwood appliances? None of these could be described as shoddy goods. If consumers weren't made to pay rip-off prices, buying British wouldn't be so difficult for those who choose to. But at the end of the day, as it has already been pointed out, is anything truly any one nations goods anymore in a global or even European economy.
Ben, Uk

When Charles buys William a VW what hope the GB car industry. But is there one? TVR? Robin Reliant?
lesley, Uk

I ride a motorbike as my primary form of transport and I have a great admiration for Hinckley based Triumph who have in recent years been manufacturing some truly excellent bikes that are the match of many Japanese, German and Italian sports bikes. However, as much as I would like to own one I cannot justify the extra £2000 or so that a Triumph costs over its equivalent Japanese model. I am further irritated when I know that in most European countries and in the US one can buy a Triumph considerably cheaper than in the UK.
Guy Parkes, UK

Unless the "British" manufacturers start realistically pricing their vehicles, I have no intent on buying British. It is even worse when one finds British made cars cheaper in other countries. The Landrover Discovery 3.9 FXi for example is less than £20,000 here in Dubai.
Tony Cheng, Dubai

Buying British is fine, but as far as motor vehicles are concerned, it is completely pointless. With the exeption of Morgan or TVR all car manufacturers are Multi Nationals. They will produce where ever it suits them. Far better to buy British Beef and pork or English fruit.
Ron Banks, UK

I'm surprised that this request has come from the AEEU. The way to win sales is to produce something that people want, and to promote it effectively for what it is. Appealing for patronage on sentimental grounds isn't a great recommendation for the product. And it won't lead to better ones. The trabant has already been mentioned.
Andrew Witham, UK

While I think it's a good idea, surely a "Buy British" campaign is now illegal, since it distorts the European Single Market?
John Courouble, England

Having spent many months in France I see the French bias towards French goods as part of a greater nationalism. It is not something to be admired or envied and I am relieved it is not part of British culture.
Ian Osburn, UK

I would be happy to buy a British made car, IF manufacturers showed any respect for the consumer. But if UK built cars can be purchased abroad for less, when it must incur additional costs for distribution etc, then the car companies and Britain do not deserve our loyalty. The government should force down prices in line with Europe. Then the British car industry would boom.
Victoria, England

Yes, when a British company takes over BMW or VAG ...
Mark, UK

Patrionism! What a laugh. How about our government being Patriotic for once. Letting companies arround the world stroll in taking money from our country. LEAD BY EXAMPLE. "Starbucks Coffee","MC Donalds","Burger King","KFC" soon "Walmart" it sucks. When have companies like "Tesco" ever tried a move into America. NEVER why cause UK companies don't stand a chance in a GLOBAL economy. US rules the day! DOH!
Matt Ward, England

The British car industry has some good products, but invariably they are over priced compared to other European and International manufacturers. Any purchase should be based on quality, service and price. Would a father/mother pick a people-carrier vehicle without airbags or SIPS just because it was British? - unlikely. I would dearly like to buy a nice Jaguar, but I can get a BMW that matches it's features and quality for significantly less. It's a shame, but that's business for you. If we can get out a good product at a competitive price then maybe...just maybe...being British-made would give it an edge over other manufacturers.
Scottish Anon, Scotland

In today's market very few cars are made exclusively in one country. Some of the cars the French buy are partly made in Britain for example. As a green I believe that the key is to buy less cars. Car companies should be required to allocate a percentage of the funds that they spend on advertising their products to a fund for promoting/advertising public transport and cycling.
Barry Tregear, England

Is the English monarchy always supportive of what is made in England? I seem to recall the Queen is married to a foreigner. Or, does the British government always give a hand to the British industry and commerce? We can all buy English cars, eat English genetically modified food, watching English films (played by American actresses). Then we can claim that we are on the right side. Indeed, rule Britannia!!
Christopher Jameson, France

Buy European yes, but British no - we are no longer the centre of the (shameful) empire, but part of Europe. People should stop thinking Britain is something special, and should accept the fact that Europe together can be something, Britain alone nothing.
Roland Ellison, UK

It would be nice if Briton manufactured something that was worth buying.
David Leek, England

I will buy British if the quality and price are right. I feel no obligation to support a firm producing shoddy and/or expensive goods just because it is British.
John Atkins, Brit in Singapore

What is British exactly? Jaguar, Aston Martin are Ford. Rover is BMW. Rolls Royce & Bentley are VW. I would certainly support the notion of British if there were such a thing. Though other companies farm out their manufacturing force, the British chose to farm out the entire white collar force as well. If there was a BMC (British Motors Corporation) that was owned and operated within Britain then your poll would have some substance. Yes, I would buy British but the question has about as much logic as buying American.
David Geissler, USA

Of course I'm not!!! I don't want my car to break down on me do I???
Andrew Arnold, UK

I have bought 2 British cars in the past year. They are both made by Reliant. Interestingly, the 'C' registered vehicle runs beautifully and I have had no problems with it. The 'S' reg, brand new when I bought it, has had one problem after another, the first problems appearing within a few days of the purchase. So I would say yes, buy British, but only if it's second hand !
John Trader, UK

It seems that a lot of people here are moving from the car discussion and making the topic generic. Before anyone else does this, yes the UK owned Auto industry is gone, for reasons discussed many times over already, from poor management to too strong unions. The simple fact is that the rest of the UK manufacturing base is extremely strong, high quality and expanding rapidly. Of all international business purchases in the first 6 months of 1999, 48% were made by British companies. More than the that of the US, Germany and Japan combined! They have to be doing something right to be able to do this.
There are many, many companies and brands that are British owned that the majority of people don't realise, from the one extreme of Dunkin Donuts to Diesel Engine and pump manufacturers and huge construction companies at the other end. Business is booming, the quality is great. I notice with some irritation that the people who knock Britain the most are the Brits themselves, which is just nuts. Have some objectivity here.
Simon H, USA

There are hardly any mass-produced "British" cars left. Manufacturers in other countries are far better than the British motor manufacturers because they are willing to invest. For example the Germans and Japanese have highly skilled workforces who produce cars to a high standard. The firms which operate within these countries offer cars which are excellent value for money, are built to an extremely high standard and these firms are now respected al over the world.
Even the most highly respected names in the British car industry such as Rolls-Royce and Bentley could not compete successfully with the likes of Mercedes and BMW because British management was not willing to invest and follow a long-term strategy. The British disease of "short-termism" is what has led to the demise of the British car industry and until this attitude in the UK changes, it won't be long before companies like TVR ad other independent companies get taken over too.

I feel the topic itself is irrelevant in these days when people are talking about global economy. It's the survival of the best. People care about best value for their money. I don't think they have to prove their patriotism just by buying poor products when they can get a better one ! After all a country's progress depends on intelligent and well informed consumer!
Srivathsa, India

If I was truly "Buy British" I'd probably buy a Honda or Toyota or a Nissan. I'm afraid with global manufacturing there are no true British Cars. Gone are the days of uncompetative, union lead industries. Thank heavens!!!!
Mark Lisle , Ireland (British National)

Yes I always buy British built cars, though that does not mean that I buy them in the UK, there are many places cheaper than in the UK. I will always try to buy British but at the lowest possible cost; and as a footnote if the government introduce IR35 in their usual bulldozer approach I will be closing down my UK company and opening one up in Spain, or where ever is cheapest, the only change of operation will be that I will pay the lower rate of tax to the Spanish government. To summarise, I am patriotic, just not stupid
Rob, UK

I don't know why you show a Jaguar as the company is now American owned. Rover products have been Honda sourced and then Britified over the past few years. If I had the money available the smaller British companies such as Strathcarron or TVR could receive a cheque.
Robert McCaughan, Scotland

I always like to buy British, but increasingly, every day it seems, we hear stories of British consumers being ripped off left right and centre (cars, clothes, CD's, books, petrol, food, etc.etc.) Now I buy the best value. My next car will not be a second hand car bought in the UK - it will be a new car bought in Europe for the same price. The more consumers accept the outrageous prices and services we are presented with, the more it will continue. I am sure that if Americans suddenly found themselves in the same situation, all hell would break out. They know what they want and they won't pay a dollar more than they feel is acceptable. But we pay over the odds for everything. Enough is enough !!
Alan Brockwell, UK

I'm not averse to 'buying British', as such and I mostly do (when I can) - its just that when I hear comments like this they invariably emanate from groups who are doing nothing more than using patriotism/nationalism as a means to hide a shoddy product or line their pockets or both. And I can cite examples. Even so, my next car when I return to the UK will be as close to British as you're likely to find in a business that is so internationalised - It'll be a Jag ! You see, I've already picked it out
Benjamin Jordan, Singapore

I am a very patriotic consumer, I will continue to provide accurate market signals to UK firms by buying foreign where the UK product is poor relative value.
Ben Campbell, UK

My current car is a Honda. I selected this because of the reliability of the engine in my previous car, a Triumph Acclaim. Was it assembled in the UK? I do not know, nor do I care. It was the car I wanted at the price I could afford. If the British government reduced all their stupid taxes and got their act together, more people would not only buy British but would be able to afford to do so.
John Churchman, UK/Germany

I have one of the first Jaguar XK8s to be imported to the US. Not because I'm English, because of the car itself, which is wonderful. Nearly everyone I talk to about the car assumes I am having reliability problems. Not so, but the perception of poor quality is stopping a lot of people "Buying British."
John Atkinson, USA

I might be inclined to buy a car built in England if I wasn't going to be ripped off for being patriotic!
Simno, UK

Although not a British subject, I am quite an Anglophile. I still believe that goods made in Britain are a match for those made in Japan or Germany and better than those manufactured just about everywhere else. I try to buy British as much as possible. I drive a Rover car and buy my clothes from M&S, Aquascutum and Burberrys; shoes from Clarks or Loakes etc. However, I have to say that buying British is increasingly becoming a problem, for two reasons: foreigner are taking over British firms and not always maintaining UK manufacturing and UK owned companies are shifting manufacturing overseas (e.g. Kenwood Appliances, Van Heusen shirts, Clarks footwear, etc). Personally, I would have preferred companies like Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Rover Group and Jaguar Cars to remain in British hands, but alas that is water under the bridge now.
Stephen Calleja, Malta GC

Everyone seems to forget that the standard of living of Britain is dependent on the manufacturing base, if we are to lightly dismiss manufacturing as not important you will most likely end up with a standard of living akin to that of India
A Hall, U.S.A.

With headlines like this for our national flag carrier :
"BA accused of passenger 'rip-off'"
Forgive me for being a cynic. I'll continue to spend my hard earned money where I feel I get best value for it.

I buy an auto on what I perceive is the best quality and best value for the money I am willing to spend. I usually buy German or Japanese, but have noticed the quality of American cars is improving considerably. The next go around I might buy an American car, but it's not about patriotism. Nationalism doesn't play in a manufacturing world where so few of any products are Made in USA or wherever. And as far as those Citroen vans that were purchased, aren't England and France both a part of the European Union? Stop playing games, people.
David, Chicago, USA

Are you a patriotic consumer?

Final Votes:


> >
Yes: <% =percentyes %>% No: <% =percentno %>%

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