Through all this union car shopping, sometimes you just have to go with your gut. Like most people, if a friend tells me how amazing something is, I'm interested. It usually takes an extraordinary piece of advertising to raise my interests.  But even then advertising doesn't seal the deal. If it did, I'd be driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee right now.

I've been hearing a lot of buzz recently about the Ford Fusion. I must have had five people tell me that they love the car including a very tech-savvy friend who has for years looked down his nose at American cars. It was time for me to look at a Ford. I was practically sold on the Fusion before I was sure what the new model even looked like.

ford fusionIn fact, Ford has done a good job of rebranding itself over the last few years. They were the only company of the American Big Three not to take bailout money and their new CEO, Alan Mulally, has developed a reputation of driving Ford towards a long-term commitment to quality. Sure enough, when I researched Ford at Car and Driver and Consumer Reports, their quality was ranked as high as Toyota's and the Fusion had very positive reviews. I went down to a local Ford dealership practically ready to sign the contract right there and then.

After some discussion with the salesman on how much Ford had improved their products, I decided to take a drive in the Fusion S-a four cylinder version, but still with 175 horsepower, which is not bad. I sat down and I could see Ford CEO Alan Mulally's influence immediately (he served previously as the CEO of Boeing). It did have the look of a jet's cockpit. Very cool.

Driving the Fusion around the block... something was missing. Yes, the ride was smooth. Yes, it handled well. Yes, it was an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety Top Safety Pick (even though it didn't feel nearly as solid as the Chevy Malibu). But something was missing. I don't know what it was, but I just didn't find myself developing the same enthusiasm I had for the other cars I have so far tried out.

You have to understand, I was so ready to love this car. I wanted to love this car still, even after the test drive was over. After stepping out, I walked up to the sticker in the rear window looking for that crucial selling point:

33 miles to the gallon highway? Very nice.

$21,000 list. Affordable. I can live with that.

Factory of manufacture:  Hermosillo, Mexico.  WHHHHAAAAT!?!?!?

I knew something was wrong!

I frantically checked and, yup, there it wasn't: The Ford Fusion was not included on the list. Argh.

I cannot believe that I almost let my friends talk me into buying a non-union made car, but a non-union car made in Mexico. I really dodged a bullet on that one. At least my gut knew it wasn't right!

Maybe it's time to start looking more at SUV's-UNION-MADE SUV's. But this time I'm checking the UAW list of union-made cars first.

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