At one time it easy to determine which new vehicles were made in America. That would have been any models built and sold by the domestic-brand players, including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, and certainly American Motors. Then things began to blur in the second half of the 20th Century as U.S. automakers rebranded and cars built elsewhere in the world to help compete with the flood of fuel-efficient small European and Asian imports reaching our shores.
Buick would come to sell cars built by Germany’s Opel, while Chrysler offered renamed Mitsubishis from Japan; Ford’s Capri came from Ford of Europe, and General Motors imported models from both Japan’s Suzuki and South Korea’s Daewoo.
The waters would muddy even further as Asian and European automakers built assembly plants of their own in the U.S., the domestic brands moved some production to Mexico and Canada, and parts would be sourced from just about everywhere in the world.
While the jingoistic “us versus them” mentality has largely settled since its flash point in the 1980’s, buying American still matters to many new-car shoppers, whether for patriotic, political, or economic reasons. According to research conducted by the website Cars.com, 40 percent of post-pandemic new-vehicle shoppers say that buying a car that’s made in America is important to them, which is up from 22 percent a year ago.
But just as one can’t tell a book by its cover, car shoppers can’t rely solely on a brand name to discern a given model’s true geographic lineage. So which are the true red white, and blue cars, trucks, and SUVs, regardless of brand for 2022?
Love him, hate him, or simply remain bewildered by him, Elon Musk’s all-electric Tesla brand is responsible for four out of the six “most American” cars sold in the U.S. for 2022, with the Model Y SUV, built in both Fremont, California and Austin, Texas, landing in the number one spot. That’s According to Cars.com’s just released annual American-Made Index that ranks vehicles according to their North American content and assembly.
Honda, otherwise thought of as a Japanese brand, placed four of its U.S.-built vehicles on the website’s top-10 all-American rides. Meanwhile, the full-size Ford F-150 pickup truck, which is the veritable poster child for Detroit iron, sits in 21st place in this year’s American-Made Index. It’s outranked in this regard by the midsize Honda Ridgeline pickup in the number eight spot.
We’re running down the 20 most-American vehicles along with their origin of manufacture below.
Among automakers, Tesla boasts the highest proportion of domestically produced vehicles for 2022 at 100 percent, followed by Stellantis at 72.3 percent, Ford at 70.8 percent, Honda at 69 percent, the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance at 56 percent, and General Motors at 55.8 percent.
Cars.com studied cars from the 2022 model year and based their rankings on five factors: assembly location, parts sourcing as determined by the American Automobile Labeling Act, U.S. factory employment relative to vehicle production, engine sourcing and transmission sourcing. Excluded are vehicles coming from manufacturers that build fewer than 1,000 models per year, fleet-only cars, heavy-duty trucks, and models either not yet on sale or those scheduled to be discontinued after the current model year without a U.S.-built successor. Also disqualified are models for which there is insufficient information from automakers, dealership audits, government records, and other sources.
Consumers can also long onto the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website, which posts the percentages of domestic and foreign content in cars from the 2007 to 2022 model years. This data is also included on many new-vehicle pricing stickers.
Note, however, that under the terms of the labeling act, content and labor coming from Canada is considered to be “domestic.” Perhaps then it’s more appropriate to treat the top-rated vehicles as being the “most CanAmerican,” eh?
The 20 “Most American” Cars, Trucks, And SUVS For 2022
- Tesla Model Y (Fremont, Calif., or Austin, Texas)
- Tesla Model 3 (Fremont, Calif.)
- Lincoln Corsair (Louisville, Ky.)
- Honda Passport (Lincoln, Ala.)
- Tesla Model X (Fremont, Calif.)
- Tesla Model S (Fremont, Calif.)
- Jeep Cherokee (Belvidere, Ill.)
- Honda Ridgeline (Lincoln, Ala.)
- Honda Odyssey (Lincoln, Ala.)
- Honda Pilot (Lincoln, Ala.)
- Chevrolet Corvette (Bowling Green, Ky.)
- GMC Canyon (Wentzville, Mo.)
- Chevrolet Colorado (Wentzville, Mo.)
- Acura MDX (East Liberty or Marysville, Ohio)
- Acura RDX (East Liberty or Marysville, Ohio)
- Acura TLX (Marysville, Ohio)
- Ford Ranger (Wayne, Mich.)
- Ford Bronco (Wayne, Mich.)
- Dodge Durango (Detroit, Mich.)
- Ford Expedition, Expedition Max (Louisville, Ky.)
Source: Cars.com. You can read the full American Made Index here.