Mirror, mirror… who’s the most “American-made vehicle” of them all? In a USA Today article, Ford’s best-selling F-150 pickup was declared the winner. The F-series truck bumped the Toyota Camry in the latest annual America-Made Index by Cars.com’s Kicking Tires blog.
Check out the F-150 versus RAM 1500 comparison video:
Last year’s winner, the Toyota Camry is manufactured in Kentucky. It was somewhat of a surprise. To even be considered for the list, a vehicle has to have 75% North American content.
More details: Cars.com’s Kicking Tires American-Made Index
The American-Made Index also is weighted by U.S. sales, since a low-selling vehicle may be mostly made here but creates fewer U.S. jobs. Cars.com staff says the lists doesn’t include any models built exclusively outside the U.S., or models soon to be discontinued without a U.S.-built successor.
Such lists always re-ignite the debate over the definition of American-made:
• A foreign-based automaker raking off the profits, but U.S. workers getting the jobs in U.S.-based factories building the vehicles. Toyota’s Kentucky factory that builds Camry and Avalon is an example.
• A Detroit maker earning the profits from U.S. sales while jobs are outside the U.S., such as in Mexico. Ford’s strong-selling Fusion, made at Hermosillo, Mexico, and, increasingly over time, also at Flat Rock, Mich., could serve as an example. Don’t count the Mexico cars?
• A Detroit maker using U.S. workers in a U.S. factory — period; nothing else should count as “American-made.” General Motors’ three big crossover SUVs showcase that scenario: Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave. All are made at Lansing, Mich.
The cheaper dollar exchange rates have made it more profitable to export from U.S. plants. The AMI weights by U.S. sales, but Cars.com also looked at how the list would change if it took into account more exported models. Nine of the 10 vehicles were the same (Ford Expedition bumped the Chevy Traverse), but the order was rearranged in the export list here.
Sources: Cars.com from automaker data, Automotive News, dealership data, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
NOTES: Cars.com’s AMI rates vehicles built and bought in the U.S. Factors include where parts come from (percentage of domestic content), whether it’s assembled in the U.S. and sales. Disqualified: models with a domestic parts content rating below 75%, models built exclusively outside the U.S. or models soon to be discontinued. “Domestic-parts content” stems from the 1992 American Automobile Labeling Act, which groups the U.S. and Canada under the same “domestic” umbrella. It’s one of the law’s imperfections, but the AALA is the only domestic-parts labeling system car shoppers can find on every new car sold in America.