American cars have been the punchline to too many bad jokes. If you thought that the Big Three produced poorly made cars and trucks, it probably didn’t surprise you when two of the three declared bankruptcy. That’s the headline, but the real story is that U.S.-made cars are coming back from the brink, and some of them are worth buying over the foreign competition. A recent J.D. Power and Associates satisfaction study finds U.S.-made cars only five points down from imports, and a complementary University of Michigan survey showed several resurgent brands performing well.

For the new CBS MoneyWatch site, I recently identified six made-in-USA cars that I’d be proud to own. Read the whole story here. The sexiest one is the all-electric Tesla Roadster (yes, Tesla is an American company, despite the Roadster’s Lotus roots), and here’s the video about it:


The other cars are not quite as dramatic as the Tesla, but they are a good value for new car buyers still in the market after Cash for Clunkers. My choices:

  1. Ford Fusion: A fine family car with an even better hybrid version.
  2. Chevrolet Malibu: A Euro-styled sedan to compete with Accord and Camry.
  3. Chrysler Town & Country: The graddaddy of minivans is still leading — and knows what kids like.
  4. Ford Escape Hybrid: The best small SUV on the market. Period.
  5. Cadillac CTS: Cadillac is America’s most improved brand, and the CTS is the entry-level sports sedan star.
  6. The Tesla Roadster: What’s not to like? Zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds, on batteries.
The U.S. isn’t yet competitive in small cars, but I have high hopes for the forthcoming Ford Fiesta and the Chevrolet Cruze.

Jim Motavalli ( @jmotavalli ) writes about cars, technology and the environmental world to anyone curious enough to ask.

Six American cars that wave the flag
Detroit is back from the brink with some cars worth a second look. It's not just about bankruptcy anymore.