If you are in the market for a new vehicle, you will likely consider various models and makes from several automakers.
Japan is renowned for producing the energetic Toyota brand, while the Volkswagen Group is from Germany.
Hyundai and Kia are from South Korea, and the United States of America is known as the base of General Motors and Ford.
If you are a Honda lover, it is essential to note that a Japanese manufacturer makes it. Peugeot is a carmaker from France, while Fiat is from Italy.
There have been concerns about why American cars are not popular in Europe. Interestingly, American-made vehicles are seen to be less reliable than their counterparts in other countries.
In this article, we will take a critical look at the reasons American-made vehicles are not popular in Europe.
Table of Contents
1. Europe has narrow roads
It is noteworthy that most Europeans love and appreciate American-made vehicles, but this does not make them consider them for purchase.
The Europeans prefer brands such as Audi and BMW. The reason is that most of the roads in Europe are narrow, and it will be hard to drive large vehicles, such as those American carmakers produce, on these roads.
Europe is densely populated and many cities don’t have the space to construct large roads for vehicles.
The Romans, who had horse-drawn carriages in mind instead of motor cars for transportation, originally designed most of these roads.
Narrow roads mean it’s difficult for people to drive bulky American cars, and even more difficult to park or find parking space. With that in mind, find out some reasons European cars are so popular in America.
2. Different driving culture
The driving culture of Europeans differs from that of Americans. Many Europeans are okay with using public transport or riding their motorcycle or bicycle.
Europeans are also more conscious of the effect of greenhouse gases, and this makes them drive cars with lower carbon footprints.
Americans love their vehicles big and powerful and able to perform all of their needs. This leads to oversized, expensive and fuel-thirsty designs, which are attributes many Europeans don’t look for in their cars.
You can also find out why German cars are so expensive.
3. Recalls of American-made vehicles
When buying a vehicle, safety is a priority that most people pay attention to. Many American cars fail in this aspect, affecting their popularity in the European market.
Most Europeans often check for the recall rates of foreign automakers before buying, and American vehicles have a higher recall rate than their counterparts in other countries.
For instance, the Chevrolet Cruze from the American automaker was recalled due to a fire issue, and this hurt its sale as most people felt it was not a safe model.
In many cases, American models show signs of problems in their early years.
Unfortunately, the recall rates for many American models are high, which is a dent in the automaker’s image. Also, explore if you can drive and register European cars in the US.
4. Poor quality in design and build
If there is something the American automakers are guilty of, it is lacking quality in the build and design of their automobiles.
Most users have complained about poorly designed frames, door alignment issues, and gaps in doors and windows.
American-made vehicle manufacturers also release new features not thoroughly tested.
Let us take a look at the MyFord Touch technology from Ford. The feature has good intentions, but it suffers from numerous usability problems and is loaded with several bugs.
Customers find it too complicated to use, and this defeats the purpose of the system. The MyFord Touch technology needs constant and quick updates to resolve problems, and these updates have their own bugs and issues.
Most foreign automakers have the edge over American-made models because they are renowned for their quality.
These foreign automakers ensure their vehicles pass through rigorous testing to ensure quality. This allows them to make them release their cars in different countries as they are sure of the quality of their vehicle models.
On the other hand, American-made models lack build quality, making it hard for them to penetrate the new market.
Most American automakers find it hard to improve their vehicles’ build quality, and this is one of the reasons why they are not popular in the Europe market.
For more on this topic, please read about whether Japanese cars last longer than American or EU cars.
5. Poor style choices
Everyone has a unique preference for vehicles and other things in life.
However, their styling gives foreign automakers a competitive edge over American-made models.
Foreign auto manufacturers are more innovative in the styling of their vehicles and deliver astonishing artistic designs and lines.
Individuals who prefer vehicles with a rugged appearance are likely to go for the American brands. On the other hand, foreign cars are more stylish and beautiful than American-made models.
What’s more, European cars are safer than US cars.
6. European vehicles are more fuel-efficient
One factor considered by consumers before buying cars is fuel efficiency and this is just one of the ways European cars are different from American ones.
A fuel-efficient vehicle will offer you excellent gas mileage and enable you to save money in the long run.
Fuel-efficient vehicles are great for people who drive long distances and commute daily to work in their cars.
Most foreign automakers have strived to produce fuel-efficient vehicles, and this is due to the rigid regulations in most European countries.
For instance, Toyota vehicles rated a fuel efficiency of 44.2 mpg over Ford’s 36.8 mpg.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed this in 2014. The issue of fuel efficiency is one of the factors that favors international automakers over American brands.
American auto manufacturers are also working towards increasing the fuel efficiency of their vehicles as there is an increased demand for hybrid cars.
You may understand these reasons better if you know the differences between American and European cars.
7. Pricing Issues
The price of vehicles made in the United States is comparably lower than that of foreign-made cars.
Several factors are responsible for the pricing of American-made vehicles, including fuel efficiency, build quality, and manufacturing expenses.
It is even more expensive to import a vehicle into the United States, and American consumers prefer to buy their products than go for European brands.
Most Europeans associate the low pricing of American-made models with low quality, which is usually right.
Let us check the list of American cars that failed the popularity test in Europe.
Make sure to also read our article about problems with French cars.
Despite its acceptance and rich history in the United States, drivers did not accept the Ford Mustang in the European market.
Ford recorded an exponential increase in the sales of the Ford Mustang model, but had a terrible sale record of 7,495 Mustangs in Europe last year.
While the Mustang is a favorite muscle car in North America, it consumes too much fuel and has a bulky frame that makes driving on narrow European roads difficult.
Besides, parking the car can also be a hassle for Europeans who struggle to park diminutive cars like the VW Polo.
In 2006, Nissan Pathfinder sold 20,000 units in Europe, its most successful year on the continent.
The 2022 model has the same powertrain, an energetic 284-horsepower V6 engine with improved handling and gas mileage.
There was an improvement in its interior design, and you enjoy more space and the convenience that comes with it.
Despite its powerful engine and roomy cabin, the Pathfinder was too big and gas-guzzling to win over European users.
Unsurprisingly, only 700 units of the Chevy Corvette were sold by the automaker annually in Europe.
This is a stark difference from sales figures in the U.S., as more than 15,000 units of the Chevy Corvette were sold between 2009 and 2013 in the United States.
The newly designed C8 Corvette is a mid-engine sports car with a 490-horsepower V8 engine that can reach 60 mph within three seconds.
The Corvette might be fast, but there are many more Eurocentric alternatives from Porsche, Ferrari, Audi and other European carmakers.
Please also read our article about problems with Chinese cars.