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30 of the Most American Made Cars For 2017

There’s more to American Made than what you might think

Published June 30, 2017

Once a year, researchers from American University’s Kogod School of Business roll up their sleeves and do what they do best in order to give us the answer to one simple but important question. Which American cars boast the most domestic content? As you know, it’s not that simple to determine American made cars just by looking at their badges anymore. All American manufacturers assemble one or more of their models overseas. Then again, more and more Japanese manufacturers are doing the opposite.

Kogod School of Business’ Auto Index takes no less than seven different criteria topics into consideration. They evaluate each of them separately and assign points in accordance, with 100 being the maximum available amount of points.

  • Body, Chassis, and Electrical Components is their main criterion which yields up to 50% of total points. To put it as simply as possible, it’s nothing more than total  divided by two.
  • If model’s transmission is assembled in the US, it receives 7 points. Otherwise, it’s zip.
  • The same goes for engine which yields either a total of 14 points or nothing.
  • Inventory, Capital and other expenses basically lead to vehicle’s assembly. US assembly yields 11 points, while overseas assembly brings nada.
  • Research and Development (R&D) points depend on model’s R&D activities. If it’s a US manufacturer product, it receives 6 points. If it’s foreign product assembled in the US, it gets 3 points. Finally, foreign cars assembled across the border are worth 1 point.
  • Kogod School of Business assumes that approximately 6% of the vehicle’s value is labor content. That said, models assembled in America receive 6 points while those that aren’t get nothing.
  • Profit Margin is a category which takes automaker’s headquarters location into account. Again, Kogod School of Business assumes that profit margin on average amounts to 6%. With that in mind, models whose companies have global headquarters in America receive 6 points since their profits remain in the country. Otherwise, it’s nothing.

All things considered, KSB’s Auto Index takes a wider approach when trying to determine which American cars are worthy of “Made in America” badge. It doesn’t only evaluate the sheer domestic content, but rather takes numerous other aspects of vehicle manufacturing into consideration. Hopefully, this list of American car brands will help you decide with your next choice of vehicle. And, if comparison is what you’re looking for, here’s the list for . Alongside last year’s list of that qualify for “Made in America” badge according to AALA regulations.

Toyota Avalon (76 points)

At the bottom of 30 of the most American made cars sits Toyota’s flagship sedan. Avalon that’s coming out of Georgetown, Kentucky Plant has been selling more than 50,000 units on average throughout its fourth generation. Thanks to this figure and the fact it has up to 70% American/Canadian components according to American Automobile Labeling Act, Avalon racks up 76 points in KSB’s Auto Index.

Honda Odyssey (76 points)

Honda Odyssey sports 70% domestic parts and Kogod School of Business’ score of 76. MPV has been present in the US market for more than 20 years, and it’s by far the most American among all of its competitors. That said, Lincoln, Alabama-built MPV is the only such vehicle among the top 30.

Honda Civic (76 points)

Civic coupe and sedan with 1.5L four-cylinder engine features 70% domestic content. Just like pretty much any other Honda’s model. This, and the fact it sells around 350,000 units a year on average give it 76 points in KSB’s Auto Index. Bear in mind the fact that 5-door Civic hatchback comes with only 15% domestic parts.

Honda Accord Sport (76 points)

Another Honda, another car with 70% domestic content and 76 points overall according to KSB. There’s also 15% content coming straight from Japan, but shoppers of Sport and Sport SE models don’t have to worry about that. Their cars are American-made despite Honda’s corporate headquarters being in Tokyo.

Ford Mustang (76 points)

The most popular pony car in the world maybe comes with only 53% domestic content and selection of transmissions from the US, Mexico and China, but it still ranks high among American cars. It’s assembled in Flat Rock, Michigan while its research and development is being conducted at home. Profits too remain in the US, hence Mustang scores 76 points in KSB’s Auto Index.

Acura MDX (76 points)

Since it’s basically a Honda, Acura MDX too sports 70% home-made content. Mid-size luxury crossover that was being assembled in Lincoln, Alabama recently switched facilities. Don’t fret, though, because it’s still being built in the US. As of May 2017, it’s coming off East Liberty, Ohio’s assembly lines.

Dodge Durango R/T AWD (77 points)

Built in Detroit (Jefferson North Assembly), full-size SUV represents the epitome of American made cars. Or does it? According to American Automobile Labeling Act, it only has 62% domestic parts alongside 24% components from Mexico. Most of Durango’s engines also come from south of the border, but 5.7L HEMI that can be found in R/T versions are purely American. That’s why Dodge Durango still manages to score 77 points.

Chrysler 200 (77 points)

This is your last chance to get a hold of Chrysler 200 as there’s no going back after 2017. Mid-size car out of Sterling Heights, Michigan Assembly has already been axed although there are still enough of them to last through the year. With Domestic factory, 66% domestic components and 17% Mexican parts, Chrysler 200 scores 77 points in KSB’s Auto Index.

Chevrolet Camaro (77 points)

Second most popular American pony car sports only 54% American/Canadian components according to AALA. It still beats the Mustang by 1 point according to Kogod School of Business and their research, though. Like so many GM nameplates, it too comes out of Lansing, Michigan Assembly.

Cadillac CTS (77 points)

Cadillac’s reasonably priced offering scores 77 points although boasting only 54% domestic parts. 17% parts come from Mexico, and additional 15% come from other countries as well. Even LF3 engine is Mexican-sourced, while 8-speed automatic trans comes from Japan. Still, Lansing, Michigan Assembly and American badge have got to count for something.

Chevrolet Malibu LTD Hybrid (78 points)

Although conventional Malibu trails behind with 64 total points, LTD Hybrid models count among the vehicles with most domestic content. Built at Fairfax Assembly Plant, it’s the first full hybrid model in Malibu’s range. It maybe has only 56% American/Canadian content overall, but Kogod School of Business gives it 78 total points due to domestic-oriented production and development.

Ford Explorer (78 points)

Just like Chevy Malibu, Ford Explorer too features only 56% total domestic parts according to AALA, and gets 78 points total according to Kogod School of Business. Assembled in Chicago, it’s Ford’s fourth best selling vehicle after F-150, Escape and Fusion. For these couple of reasons, it’s no wonder it has such a heavy impact on American economy. That’s why KSB rates it so high among most American made vehicles even though it officially lacks the required percentage of parts in order to be labeled “Made in America”.

Toyota Camry (78.5 points)

Toyota Camry doesn’t only feature one of the highest amounts of domestic components at 75%, but sells north of 400,000 models a year in the US and Canada alone. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out the sheer financial impact Georgetown, Kentucky-built mid-size sedan has on American economy. People at KSB recognize this, but Toyota’s corporate headquarters are still in Japan, hence Camry doesn’t rank as high as it might have.

Kia Optima 2.0L (78.5 points)

While 2.0L turbo and 2.4L Optimas score 68 points slightly further down the list, naturally aspirated 2.0L engine mostly assembled in West Point, Georgia gives Optima fitted with it 78.5 total points. Kia Optima 2.0L also boasts 75% American parts and 24% parts coming from Kia’s country of origin, South Korea.

Honda Ridgeline (78.5 points)

Believe it or not, Honda Ridgeline is actually the second most American mid-size pickup truck according to Kogod School of Business’ Auto Index. Not only does Lincoln, Alabama-made compact truck pack 75% American parts, but it also scores a total 78.5 points according to KSB.

Honda Pilot (78.5 points)

Another vehicle coming from Honda’s Alabama Plant with the same overall score. Honda Pilot ranks the same among six other Asian-sourced, American-built models. With the amount of domestic content found inside it, Honda Pilot is definitely more American than Japanese. Given the fact it was actually marketed under genuine American badge, its score would have been even higher.

Honda CR-V AWD LX (78.5 points)

Both front and all-wheel drive Honda CR-V rank high on the list. While front-wheel drive model scores 76 points overall, all-wheel drive compact crossover racks up 78.5 points. Honda only recently started producing it in Greensburg, Indiana which means future models might exhibit even higher scores.

Acura RDX (78.5 points)

Unlike Nissan and Toyota whose elite lines of Infiniti and Lexus respectively, fail to rank among the most American made cars, Honda’s luxury line Acura manages to accomplish that feat. All thanks to its compact crossover RDX which scores 78.5 points according to KSB. Both front and all-wheel drive models assembled in East Liberty, Ohio Plant sport 75% of total domestic parts according to AALA.

Jeep Cherokee (79 points)

FCA might have a widespread global manufacturing network, but many models from former Chrysler’s portfolio are still being built at home. Jeep Cherokee assembled at Toledo North Assembly Plant is one such nameplate. It scores 79 points in KSB’s research while having 70% domestic parts, 20% parts from Mexico, and Italian 6-speed manual transmission.

Chevrolet Colorado Z71 AWD Crew Cab (80 points)

If you have yourself the above stated set of options, then your Chevy Colorado is as much American as mid-size trucks come. Chevy Colorado might have only 49% of domestic parts, but its high impact on American economy gives it a score of 80 according to KSB. Thing is, Crew Cab Z71 models are assembled in Wentzville, Missouri while others are either assembled overseas or in Oshawa/Ingersoll, Canada.

Cadillac CT6 Platinum AWD (80 points)

Although extremely expensive compared to average family cars, flagship American luxury models often lack the amount of domestic content one would expect from $80,000 sticker. Cadillac CT6 Platinum with all-wheel drive is one of the few that doesn’t. It scores 80 in KSB Auto Index although it only sports 52% American made components.

Cadillac ATS Sedan AWD (80 points)

ATS Sedan with four-wheel drive sports 54% of domestic components, but scores the same 80 points as its larger, more luxurious and more expensive sibling. Lansing, Michigan-built compact executive car ranks differently with any other specification, however. Rear-wheel drive sedans, performance-oriented ATS-V models and coupes score 77 points which still ranks them among the most American made cars.

Ford Taurus (80.5 points)

Although it’s not exactly the best-seller due to its size and price, and sports only 61% American parts according to AALA, Ford Taurus is still one of the cars with greatest contributions to the US economy. Being domestic product in general, and built in Chicago Assembly, that’s not exactly surprising.

Lincoln Navigator (80.5 points)

Another product of the FoMoCo that sports only 61% of domestic parts and not exactly stellar sales, but still manages to crawl into top 10 American made cars list. How so? Well, it’s made in Kentucky for starters. Then, there’s the matter of research and development which is entirely US-based. And finally, all profits remain within the country since Ford still keeps its corporate facilities in Dearborn, Michigan.

Ford Expedition (81 points)

Largest of Blue Oval’s SUV’s also comes out of Louisville, Kentucky Plant. It more or less, sports the same score compared to its more luxurious sibling. The only difference is percentage of domestic content between the two behemoths. And Expedition wins by having 1% more American parts than the Navigator. Don’t ask us how they come by with these figures.

Jeep Wrangler (81.5 points)

Wrangler comes in numerous trim levels and two different wheelbase lengths. That makes it a rather versatile option. At least when it comes to the sheer number of available choices that come with it. Thing is, some of them rank differently due to percentage of home made parts needed to assemble them. For instance, Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, Limited Sport 4×4 and all long-wheelbase models score 81.5 points. Short-wheelbase Wranglers, on the other hand, score 81 points.

Chevrolet Corvette – Auto Transmission (82 points)

First American sports car can proudly say it’s still American. Although just barely. Every Corvette packs 64% American made parts which is still below the 75% threshold. Moreover, manual transmission is sourced from Mexico, whereas only automatic trans models score high in Kogod School of Business’ Auto Index. Since Corvette is still assembled in Bowling Green, Kentucky, V8-powered sports car gets overall score of 82 points.

Ford F-150 (85 points)

Although below the 75% threshold imposed by American Automobile Labeling Act, there’s no doubt Ford F-150 is a true American vehicle. No need mentioning tremendous economic impact of the most popular American vehicle as well. Especially when F-150’s had a prolonged 30-year run as best-sold vehicle in the US. Even with 70% parts made in US and 15% parts coming from Mexico (where it’s called Lobo), full-size pickup scores 85 points in KSB’s rankings.

GMC Acadia (85.5 points)

GMC might have only one model among 30 of the most American made cars, but it sits right at the top. Alongside two other GM products with which it shares the overall score of 85.5 points. Apart from the all-new design for 2017, Acadia is now also being assembled in another factory. It moved from Lansing, Michigan to Spring Hill, Tennessee. The important part is, it’s still being built in America. Even though it now sports only 65% domestic parts overall.

Chevrolet Traverse  (85.5 points)

Compared to the Acadia, Chevy Traverse did exactly the opposite. It started its journey in Spring Hill, Tennessee, and moved to Lansing, Michigan after only one year, back in 2010. Don’t let the fact it only has 71% American/Canadian components confuse you. With its strong impact on country’s economy, Chevy Traverse utterly deserves the “Made in America” label.

Buick Enclave (85.5 points)

Third and last GM product with the highest overall score according to Kogod School of Business’ Auto Index is a Buick. Buick Enclave to be more precise. It comes as no surprise Acadia, Traverse and Enclave sport the same overall score of 85.5 since they all share the same platform. Moreover, they also share the same parts, the same 71% overall domestic components, and the same Lansing, Michigan Assembly. Before next-gen Acadia moves away, that is.

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Nikola Potrebić
About

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much.

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