Over the long weekend in the U.S. Google's Motorola reminded us repeatedly that the Moto X would be made in America and customizable.
Will the Made in America tagline really matter? Manufacturing in the U.S. has been a big topic of late. The general theme is that manufacturing jobs are coming back because offshore factory costs are rising and infrastructure is tricky.
Google and Motorola are upping the ante by noting that the Moto X will be made in the U.S.---and there's even a competitive advantage. That advantage is that the Moto X can be personalized. Apple has responded with its designed in California tagline to offset some of the Google ad assault.
All of this made in America ruckus is perfect fodder for the July 4 weekend. The biggest issue: Consumers may not care over time and the definition of Made in America is fluid.
For instance, Motorola's Moto X is assembled in America with parts from everywhere else. Does that count? Is it better to have U.S. parts compiled and manufactured elsewhere? Would we prefer a U.S. part percentage? Is the design more important than the assembly? Maybe the actual parts and assembly of a device is just a sideshow when the real win is U.S. jobs created.
Today, it's hip to tout U.S. manufacturing, but that's because costs in places like China no longer make that country a no-brainer.
As Andrew Nusca noted more than a year ago, the U.S. manufacturing dream is easier said than done.
Bottom line: Unless there's some competitive advantage and a kick-ass product---perhaps Moto X and an array of colors is the answer---few will care where a product is made. Nevertheless, give Google and Motorola some props---they're bringing manufacturing back and coming up with a competitive edge that may just work. But if the Moto X is a dud or comes in at a high price point you can rest assured that made in America won't count for much.