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Honda: Is It An American Car?

For years, Americans have had a love affair with their Hondas. Compact and mechanically near-perfect, they occupy a special place in the automotive pantheon. First, nimble Civics revolutionized the way Americans regarded utilitarian, high-mileage cars. Next, agile Accords proved you could cram big-car style and comfort into an affordable compact package. And lately, Honda's Acura line has helped to redefine the notion of luxury cars. In all, Americans have bought 2.4 million U. S.-made Hondas since the production line started rolling in Ohio in 1982, and today its Accord is the best-selling car in America.

More than any other foreign auto maker, Honda has also worked hard to establish itself on North American soil. It operates three auto-assembly facilities and an engine plant. Of the 854,879 cars that Honda sold in the U. S. last year, nearly two-thirds were built in North America. And those cars, Honda says, have a "domestic content" of 75% -- meaning that three-fourths of the price tag is based on American labor, components, and other costs.