It wasn’t long ago that consumer products were proudly labeled “Made is the USA.” The implication was that the product not only supported families in America, but that the quality was superior. Now the Made in the USA slogan is rarely heard. Since the late 1990s, U.S. manufacturing has declined dramatically, as more manufacturing is outsourced to China and other lower wage countries. But what has happened to the quality of exercise equipment from overseas? Does it still make sense to prefer American-made treadmills? Not so much.
We have gotten used to the idea that we can both save money and get good quality products that are made in Asia. This change in attitude is most easily seen with automobile manufacturers. Of course, much of this change comes from the realization that many large companies are truly multi-national. It’s tough to hold a grudge against Japanese goods with Toyota and Nissan being made in America with American parts by American workers. So too with exercise equipment. Foreign exercise equipment manufacturers do virtually no manufacturing in the U.S. However, one major American brand was recently bought by a Chinese company. More common is American manufacturers that buy parts that are made overseas and then assemble them in the U.S. This is different than buying a Chinese company’s products in the U.S. because the American company can have its products made in China to its U.S. specifications and standards. This can make it difficult to say exactly where your equipment is from or why it may be built to lower standards.
In fact, the manufacturer can not only deliver a high quality treadmill in this way, but probably at a much lower cost, as well. Much of the most expensive exercise equipment is now made in Asia too. It seems that many consumers say that want to buy American goods, but can’t resist lower prices. In any case, even if you could identify exercise equipment made purely in America, it would be very difficult to find it. It does seem that there are foreign brands made overseas that are of low quality, but these are not name brands commonly seen or recognized in the U.S.
In any case, since these foreign brands share labor costs similar to those of U.S. companies that import parts, these foreign brands do not cost much less than the U.S. brands. However, they don’t offer the same strong warranties provided by the U.S. companies. This is another reason why the foreign quality question is no longer being asked; the foreign parts are backed by warranties of American companies.
This guest post was written by Robert Braun. Robert Braun has been using, selling, and writing about exercise equipment for decades. For a good treadmill selection, see http://www.Treadmill-World.com.