BY MATTHEW CAHILL
7:59 AM EST, November 17, 2008
1. Chevrolet -- In a global market economy, buying American may not carry as much meaning. Domestic car parts can be made overseas and foreign car brands can be made in the U.S. Though they have changed with the times, Chevrolet has been with us through thick and thin. To date, no production car company has matched the mean, sexy look of the 1969 Camaro Super Sport.
2. Toyota -- The term "Japanese automaker" may be a muddy concept, because these guys manufacture in more than 20 countries, including the U.S. Still, the rollercoaster oil price index makes historically fuel-efficient cars like Toyota models invaluable.
3. Cadillac -- American luxury. Gone are the days of flashy chrome and tail fins on fuel-thirsty land-yachts, however Cadillac has balanced the needs of its buyers with those of the highway and the environment. Wait a minute ... chrome hasn't gone anywhere and people just traded the tail fins for fancy spoilers.
4. AMC -- American Motors should not be forgotten, but remembered as a company that found niches and diversified the U.S. car market. When muscle cars were in, AMC had muscle cars, like the Javelin and AMX. When sub-compacts were in, AMC had the Gremlin and the Pacer. Who knows what they would be making if they were still independant today.
5. Ford -- Of course, Ford. Henry Ford made the automobile feasible for many working families and pioneered assembly line production. Despite its long history, Ford proves that it still understands market currents and can still make a desirable product. The fifth-generation Mustang (2005-present) is evidence of this.
6. Honda -- What don't these guys make? In addition to lawn mowers, boat motors, jet engines and robots, Honda also makes cars. The popularity of the Accord, the performance of the VTEC engines and breakthroughs in energy effiiciency make Honda an all-around contender in the global market.
7. Dodge -- Another household name, Dodge has survived the raucous muscle car era and the embarrassing sub-compact era and is now a leader in the era of retrospective styling. The new Charger is worth a mention.
8. Subaru -- Racing doesn't always have to involve roads. Subaru may not have been the first car company in rally racing, but their line of all-wheel drive vehicles have allowed consumers to experience more than the standard thoroughfare. The Impreza WRX may be their most mouth-watering model.
9. Mazda -- Mazda has much in common with other Japanese automakers. Like the others, this company offers efficient vehicles with a reputation for quality. However, Mazda is known for using rotary engines. Who does that? This type of engine makes sports cars like the RX-7 and RX-8 truly unique.
10. DMC -- This isn't really a joke. The Back to the Future car stood out in the stimulus overload of the 1980s. With a stainless-steel body and gull-wing doors, the DeLorean DMC-12 was no copycat. And no one else dared to copy it.
Matt Cahill's Daily Top 10 comes out every weekday. Coming Tuesday: Top 10 undergraduate college majors.
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