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2008 American-Made Index

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The Cars.com American-Made Index

What Are the Top American-Made Cars?

Cars.com's American-Made Index rates vehicles built and bought in the U.S. Factors include sales, where the car's parts are made and whether the car is assembled in the U.S. Models that have been discontinued are disqualified, as are those with a domestic-parts content rating below 75 percent.

Rank Make/Model U.S. Assembly Location Last Rank

1. Ford F-150* Claycomo, Mo.; Dearborn, Mich. 1

2. Chevrolet Cobalt Lordstown, Ohio 2

3. Chevrolet Malibu** Kansas City, Kan. 9

4. Pontiac G6 Orion, Mich. 5

5. Toyota Tundra Princeton, Ind.; San Antonio 4

6. Toyota Sienna Princeton, Ind. 6

7. Honda Odyssey Lincoln, Ala. -

8. Chevrolet Silverado 1500* Fort Wayne, Ind.; Pontiac, Mich. 3

9. Chrysler Sebring Sterling Heights, Mich. -

10. Ford Explorer/Sport Trac Louisville, Ky. 10

http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story.jsp?se...tory=amMade0808

Ford and GM continue their reign in this summer's American-Made Index, but two new automakers — Chrysler and Honda — have joined the list, raising the number of manufacturers on it to five. That's the most carmakers the AMI has featured in the two years we've been compiling it.

How did those two make it? The Alabama-built Odyssey minivan led Honda's charge thanks to its high domestic-parts content rating, which indicates the percentage of U.S. and Canadian parts, by cost, in a given vehicle. The 2008 Odyssey's domestic content rating went up to 75 percent, compared to 70 percent for the '07 model, which comprised a sizeable chunk of last year's sales.

Honda spokesman Chuck Schifsky said it's hard to single out what specific domestic content was added in the Odyssey; Schifsky noted that Honda has a number of cars in the 70 percent range.

Chrysler, meanwhile, has had a tough time making the index because a number of its strongest sellers — the Dodge Ram pickup and Grand Caravan minivan, for example — are either assembled mostly in Canada or have comparatively low domestic-parts content ratings. That's not the case this time: The Chrysler Sebring sedan and convertible, both built in Michigan, pushed a number of others out of the way to make it to ninth place on the list.

In Chrysler's wake? Among a few models to drop off the list this time around was the Ford Escape, long an AMI staple; it's domestic-parts content rating fell 25 percentage points (from 90 percent to 65 percent) when it was redesigned for 2008. Last winter, Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood couldn't give a reason for the domestic content drop, but said Ford is "proud of the domestically produced parts that go into our vehicles ... but there are changes from year to year."

Sherwood need only point to the F-150 pickup, which has claimed the top spot in the AMI five times running. Sagging pickup sales have had no effect yet on its status: The F-Series is built here with consistently high domestic-parts content, and its high — if falling — sales continue to give it a commanding lead. We've seen earlier contenders like the Toyota Camry go from near the top to elimination, though; all it takes is a precipitous drop in a car's domestic content. With the redesigned '09 F-150 in the wings, it will be interesting to see how its content ratings fare.

Ford's other model on the list, the Kentucky-built Explorer, continues to rank 10th.

GM has always been a strong player, but that's true for different reasons this time. The Kansas-built Chevy Malibu moved from an unremarkable 33rd ranking in year-to-date sales in December to 15th overall today, and its 85 percent domestic-parts content rating is as high as any vehicle we surveyed. It jumped to third place in the AMI, up from ninth. Making the opposite trip was the Silverado, whose sagging sales and increased production in Mexico and Canada knocked it down to eighth.

Other GMs, from the Chevrolet Cobalt to the Pontiac G6, generally held steady. So did Toyota's two entrants, the Sienna minivan and Tundra pickup. Stagnant sales, meanwhile, pushed the aging Chevy TrailBlazer off the list.

All the same, coupes and sedans seem to be making limited headway — strange, given higher gas prices and headier sales in those segments. Our first index, in June 2006, had three cars; today there are four.

Why is that? The answer might be as simple as where the models are built. For this particular index, Cars.com surveyed the country's 58 best-selling models through May 31 of this year. Of the 30 trucks, vans and SUVs in that group, 23 are assembled in the U.S. (though not always exclusively; some models are assembled both in plants here and in other countries), but just half of the cars on the list — 14 of 28 — are built here.

"Among popular models, more cars are imported to the U.S. than trucks, vans and SUVs," said Tina Jantzi, a senior forecaster at J.D. Power and Associates. "It's difficult to say definitively why, as there are likely many reasons that vary by manufacturer."

One possible factor is the cost of shipping vehicles, which favors cars because they're lighter and smaller. Either way, it's a trend that could persist for some time. Jantzi predicts that by 2015, some 69 percent of popular imports will be cars, up from 67 percent today, according to J.D. Power data.

David Cole, chairman of the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Center for Automotive Research, says it makes sense to build where there's demand.

"Since the market for larger vehicles is more narrowly focused on North America, more would be built here," Cole said. "But for many of the cars, they could come from production facilities just about anywhere.

"I'm not sure this is likely to change much, although with the general downsizing of more cars and trucks here, that may lead to globalization of more production. Ultimately the objective of any manufacturer is to maximize utilization of all production assets — that is, operate at 100 percent of capacity or more."

Globalized production, of course, also means that a number of popular models already aren't as homegrown as you might think. Take cars like the Ford Mustang, Chevy Impala and Chrysler 300: The Michigan-built Mustang has a disappointing 65 percent domestic-parts content rating, while the 300 and Impala are built in Canada. What's more, America's beloved retro hatchbacks, the Chevy HHR and soon-to-be-discontinued Chrysler PT Cruiser, are built in Mexico. The pint-sized Chevy Aveo is built in South Korea.

Not that import automakers fare any better: Hyundai's Alabama-built 2009 Sonata has just 43 percent domestic content, while the Ohio-built Honda CR-V comes in at just 10 percent. That portrait of urban frugality, the Toyota Prius? It's imported from Japan — and so are suburbanite favorites like the Nissan Murano and Toyota RAV4.

Editor's note: In today's global economy, there's no easy way to determine just how American a car is. Many cars built in the U.S., for example, are assembled using parts that come from somewhere else. Some cars assembled in the U.S. from strictly American-made parts don't sell very well, meaning that fewer Americans are building those models. Cars.com's American-Made Index highlights the cars that are built here, have the highest percentage of domestic parts, and are bought in the largest numbers by Americans.

There are a few options for determining a car's domestic-parts content. We went with the figure that appears alongside the window sticker of new cars as a result of the American Automobile Labeling Act, enacted in 1994. The AALA mandates that virtually every new car display the percentage, by cost, of its parts that originated in the U.S. and Canada. We deemed cars with a domestic-parts content rating of 75 percent or higher eligible for the index.

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Incorporating production-quantity muddies the significance, IMO. What would anyone do with this information; tailor their vehicle choices based on parts content.... once enough of the model year has past that production is pretty much established?

It's also questionable that the parts content can include Canadian parts, but Canadian assembly is an automatic disqualifier.

This combination of criteria is a 'so-what' in my book.

Edited by balthazar
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the 300 and Impala are built in Canada.

Made In Canada for the Win!

MadeInCanada.jpg

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Incorporating production-quantity muddies the significance, IMO. What would anyone do with this information; tailor their vehicle choices based on parts content.... once enough of the model year has past that production is pretty much established?

It's also questionable that the parts content can include Canadian parts, but Canadian assembly is an automatic disqualifier.

This combination of criteria is a 'so-what' in my book.

I agree completely this list means absolutely nothing. It is completely arbitrary.

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This combination of criteria is a 'so-what' in my book.

I agree. And the precipitous fall of the Escape and Camry could be connected to the rise is hybrid versions, which have large numbers of Japanese-sourced parts, which they overlook. A near useless measure of vehicles.

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I agree. And the precipitous fall of the Escape and Camry could be connected to the rise is hybrid versions, which have large numbers of Japanese-sourced parts, which they overlook. A near useless measure of vehicles.

well the camry only has about a 50% domestic part content, and only about half of them are actually assembled here... so basically this article is saying although the camry is the #1 sold vehicle in america, (yes it is beating the F-series) its not made here, by any measure...

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well the camry only has about a 50% domestic part content, and only about half of them are actually assembled here... so basically this article is saying although the camry is the #1 sold vehicle in america, (yes it is beating the F-series) its not made here, by any measure...

The standard Georgetown-built Camry has higher domestic content than 50%.

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What's not surprising is that global vehicles tend to have lower domestic parts content than US-only cars.

The CR-V is sold pretty much everywhere, and it's built in Ohio, Mexico, England, Japan, Thailand, and China for their respective markets. There will undoubtedly be parts sharing among plants.

The ten most American vehicles, on the other hand, are available exclusively in North America.

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What's not surprising is that global vehicles tend to have lower domestic parts content than US-only cars.

The CR-V is sold pretty much everywhere, and it's built in Ohio, Mexico, England, Japan, Thailand, and China for their respective markets. There will undoubtedly be parts sharing among plants.

The ten most American vehicles, on the other hand, are available exclusively in North America.

Your logic is backwards. The "ten most American vehicles" are the most popular vehicles in the US with high US-Canadian content....OF COURSE they're mostly "American." They're designed exclusively for the US market, they're going to popular.

But the other popular vehicles built in the US are building American suppliers while the vehicles built exclusively for the US market START with local suppliers and then move toward lower-cost suppliers (read: not from the US).

And your example of the CR-V is of the former. It's an import moving to a domestic plant. Sure, it's going to have a number of international suppliers first...and then more and more suppliers will be locally sourced.

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The standard Georgetown-built Camry has higher domestic content than 50%.

umm last time i looked it was around 54%... if thats what your refering to, i wasnt trying to be exact, but then again it may have changed more recently...

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I see we are still fixating on the low grade stuff, like where it's built. What about factoring in the design, engineering and bean counters. When you do that, the Camry and others will drop well BELOW 50% 'American content.'

Like I've :deadhorse: before, it's the 'value-added' jobs that count. Like where are all the grads from engineering school here going to work when all those jobs are in China and Japan?

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If you want to know if you're driving American or not, just follow the money, if it ends up ultimately outside North America, then guess what, you're not driving American. :scratchchin:

Edited by Pontiac Custom-S
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If you want to know if you're driving American or not, just follow the money, if it ends up ultimately outside North America, then guess what, you're not driving American. :scratchchin:

Next used car I buy I'll stalk the dealer employees.

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I see we are still fixating on the low grade stuff, like where it's built. What about factoring in the design, engineering and bean counters. When you do that, the Camry and others will drop well BELOW 50% 'American content.'

You and the dead horse aside...this argument always misses the fact that many import-brand vehicles built for the American market actually have design and engineering (as well as some bean counters) in the US. Honda and Toyota in particular develop large portions of their American lineup in the US with Americans doing much of the work.

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You and the dead horse aside...this argument always misses the fact that many import-brand vehicles built for the American market actually have design and engineering (as well as some bean counters) in the US. Honda and Toyota in particular develop large portions of their American lineup in the US with Americans doing much of the work.

just because toyota and others have a headquarters in orange county/long beach area... not totally sure but i know where the building is, doesnt mean that the part content (the majority of the expense of a vehicle) is not outsourced. assembling a vehicle costs a few hundred dollars minus the initial overhead of the factory. the parts amount to a great expense, that is why they are outsourced... if assembly was expensive that would be outsourced too...

ohh well...

its not worth arguing about cause we cant change peoples minds...

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You and the dead horse aside...this argument always misses the fact that many import-brand vehicles built for the American market actually have design and engineering (as well as some bean counters) in the US. Honda and Toyota in particular develop large portions of their American lineup in the US with Americans doing much of the work.

Don't be fooled by the pretty corporate offices - a lot of the white collar jobs are for administration of the dealer network, parts, etc. The shots are all called in Japan, the money goes to Japan and most of the executives are Japanese.

Nobody said there haven't beem American collaborators. There are plenty of Canadian and American collaborators, to be sure.

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just because toyota and others have a headquarters in orange county/long beach area... not totally sure but i know where the building is, doesnt mean that the part content (the majority of the expense of a vehicle) is not outsourced. assembling a vehicle costs a few hundred dollars minus the initial overhead of the factory. the parts amount to a great expense, that is why they are outsourced... if assembly was expensive that would be outsourced too...

Don't be fooled by the pretty corporate offices - a lot of the white collar jobs are for administration of the dealer network, parts, etc. The shots are all called in Japan, the money goes to Japan and most of the executives are Japanese.

Just because Toyota and others have their corporate headquarters in another country, don't assume that most of the work is done "back home." It's not the case with every vehicle, but there are a number of models that are primarily design and primarily sourced (parts AND labor) in North America.

Yes, most of the executives are Japanese. Many of their American workers receive a larger fraction of those executives' pay than their Big3 counterparts.

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Tell that to all the executives and workers at Zenith.........oops, you can't: they went bankrupt and were 'bought out' by LG.

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Tell that to all the executives and workers at Zenith.........oops, you can't: they went bankrupt and were 'bought out' by LG.

That's an entirely different problem of foreign companies buying American brand names.

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That's an entirely different problem of foreign companies buying American brand names.

Ah, no: MITI in Japan railroaded all the American TV & electronics manufacturers out of business in the '70s. RCA, Electrohome and all the rest were either bought our or shut down. Zenith was the last hold-over, but finally went down, too.

MITI is gone now and Japan Inc has gotten a lot better at doing what it does. Besides, they've ridden themselves of that "Made in Japan" as meaning cheap crap (like it did 40 years ago) and replaced it with 'anything made in Japan is automatically superior than domestic crap.

PSST: why did Hitachi and Toshiba get sugar-beat import quotas of $1 a ton higher than market throughout the '60s? In fact, why were they involved in importing sugar beats in the first place?

By the time anybody noticed what was going on, it was too late. Nobody cared that all of our electronics are imported now. Hmm, I wonder where the Defense Department gets their flat screens from for the F-15 now?

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just because toyota and others have a headquarters in orange county/long beach area... not totally sure but i know where the building is, doesnt mean that the part content (the majority of the expense of a vehicle) is not outsourced. assembling a vehicle costs a few hundred dollars minus the initial overhead of the factory. the parts amount to a great expense, that is why they are outsourced... if assembly was expensive that would be outsourced too...

ohh well...

its not worth arguing about cause we cant change peoples minds...

90% of Kentucky Camry parts are sourced from a ONE DAy drive from the factory. Another 5% of the parts come from California. Toyota is Delphi's second largest coustomer (GM being the largest). By the way since 1992 I have bought exclusively GM vehicles(3 chevy, 2 Saturn, 1 Pontiac, and 1 GMC). The vehicles immediately prior to the string of GM vehicles were Chrysler (one Dodge, one Jeep).

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