Who Builds the Most ‘American-Made’ Cars?

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Some cars are more "American-made" than others -- even one from a Japanese automaker, according to a new ranking.

Cars are often categorized as either domestic or foreign, reflecting whether the manufacturer is based in the U.S. or overseas.

But some domestic cars are more “American-made” than others, according to a ranking system out of American University’s Kogod School of Business.

In fact, some cars by foreign manufacturers are more American-made than cars by domestic manufacturers — that is, they contain more parts that were actually made in the U.S.

According to the recently released 2016 Kogod Made in America Auto Index — which aims to help consumers better understand how their vehicles impact the U.S. economy — four of the top five cars are made by Detroit-based General Motors:

  • Buick Enclave (GM): 90 percent total domestic content
  • Chevrolet Traverse (GM): 90 percent
  • GMC Acadia (GM): 90 percent
  • Ford F150 (Ford Motor Co.): 85 percent
  • Chevrolet Corvette (GM): 83 percent

Many of the models that ranked in the rest of the top 25 are also made by GM.

One model made by a foreign manufacturer, Honda Motor Co., made the top 25 as well. The Honda Accord has a total domestic content of 81 percent, making it more “American-made” than many cars by domestic companies.

Kogod School of Business associate professor Frank DuBois, an expert in global supply chain management who created the Kogod index, explains:

“A vehicle’s domestic manufacturing composition plays a key role in determining its overall impact on the American economy. This knowledge empowers consumers and automakers alike to make better economic decisions about where a vehicle is made, and which cars offer the greatest commercial benefits to the country.”

The index, which covered 338 vehicles this year, evaluates and ranks cars based on:

  • Their country of origin
  • Information disclosed by manufacturers under a federal law known as the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA)
  • Information from DuBois’ research that is not addressed by the AALA, including:
    • Profit margin
    • Labor
    • Research and development
    • Inventory, capital and other expenses
    • Engine
    • Transmission
    • Body, chassis and electrical components

These factors constitute a true “made in America” index, according to DuBois.

Do you consider a vehicle’s American-made content when car shopping? Let us know below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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