The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration annually publishes its American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA) Report, a compilation that lists a vehicle's final assembly point, the percentage of U.S. and Canadian parts, and where its engine and transmission were made. The same information can be found on the window stickers of every new car.
Based the 2014 report, www.Cars.com just announced its American-Made Index (AMI). The AMI recognizes cars that are built in North America, have a high percentage of locally sourced parts, and are bought in large numbers by American consumers.
They disqualify models assembled outside the U.S. or with a domestic-parts content below 75%. (See the complete list below.)
On quick glance, vehicle manufacturing is alive and well across America in places like East Liberty, Ohio, Georgetown, Ky., Lafayette, Ind., Lincoln, Ala., Princeton, Ind., and San Antonio. Interesting, however, that all the cars coming off those assembly lines are Hondas and Toyotas.
In fact, only three vehicles made by traditional U.S.-based manufacturers made the top 10: the Ford F-150, Chevy Corvette, and Dodge Avenger.
And only 10 cars were eligible for this year’s AMI, according to Cars.com. That’s the fewest in the study’s nine-year history. Fourteen were eligible for the list last year, 20 in 2013, and 30 in 2011.
It’s not news that many, if not most, automakers source parts globally and assemble vehicles where it makes the most economic sense or is mandated by local regulations. Poring over the AALA report, some of it is of little surprise. Most models that tout “German engineering,” like Audi, BMW, and Mercedes, source the bulk of their content from that country. Likewise, most Mazdas and Nissans come from Japan, and Hyundais from Korea.
With the “Big 3” you need a scorecard.
The F-150 tops the AMI because 75% of its parts come from North America, its engine and transmission are U.S.-made, and it’s assembled here. That’s not quite the case with some competing trucks that marketing departments wrap in the flag. For instance, a quarter of the Dodge Ram pickup (“Guts and glory from coast to coast”) and its engine are from Mexico, and it is likely assembled there, too. More than half of the Chevy Silverado (“North American truck of the year”) comes from Mexico and it, too, is often assembled south of the border.
Want an international flavor to your U.S. car? Try the Ford Fusion, with 30% U.S. content and an engine from either Romania, the United Kingdom, Spain, or Mexico – where it’s also assembled.
Here's the Cars.com 2014 list by model and where it is manufactured:
1. Ford F-150; Dearborn, Mich., and Claycomo, Mo.
2. Toyota Camry; Georgetown, Ky., and Lafayette, Ind.
3. Honda Odyssey; Lincoln, Ala.
4. Toyota Sienna; Princeton, Ind.
5. Toyota Tundra; San Antonio
6. Toyota Avalon; Georgetown, Ky.
7. Chevrolet Corvette Stingray; Bowling Green, Ky.
8. Honda Ridgeline; Lincoln, Ala.
9. Honda Crosstour; East Liberty, Ohio
10. Dodge SRT Viper; Detroit