Labor Day weekend is traditionally a time for final summer vacations and barbecues—and car sales. The holiday commemorates the contributions by workers in building our nation’s economic engine. Its origins trace back to the late 19th century, celebrating the average worker and union labor. This year, we mark the occasion by highlighting the best deals on union-made cars.
Millions of cars are built in the United States each year, making it easier than ever to “buy American”—especially if you extend the definition to domestic-brand models assembled north of the border. With the exception of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the import-branded models, such as those offered by BMW, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen, assembled in the United States are built by nonunion workers. Consequently, the list we have compiled is populated almost entirely with cars from Ford and General Motors, and all are built by UAW and Canadian Auto Workers members.
To ensure these picks are good cars, as with all our Best New Car Deals, each meets Consumer Reports' criteria to be recommended. These vehicles scored well in our testing, have average or better reliability in our latest subscriber survey, and performed well in government or insurance-industry safety tests, if evaluated. Chrysler is excluded from this decidedly Detroit-leaning list due to many of its models not meeting these criteria, and no notable deals currently offered on the recommended Chrysler 300 (V6), Dodge Durango, and Jeep Grand Cherokee (V6).
When buying in the summer, it is important to know that a 2013 model will soon be considered a one-year-old car, despite being relatively fresh off the showroom floor. This means the car will take an initial (admittedly painful) depreciation hit. But the equity impact will balance out over time, should you hold on to the car for several years, and especially if you log more than 12,000 miles a year.
Often, the best model-year-end deals are found on models about to be replaced. In this particular roundup, that is not the case. Certainly some updates are expected, but these vehicles are expected to soldier on as 2014 models without dramatic change. It is worth noting that the Chevrolet Volt receives a $5,000 price cut for 2014, so negotiate hard on a 2013, or hold out for the new model.
In general, it pays to understand what is coming down the road, as it could affect your decision to by the last of a generation or empower your negotiations. (Visit our New Car Preview.)