Cars.com says Toyota Camry the ‘most American’ car

30 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cars.com ranks ‘Most American’ cars in annual American-made index | WTNH.

For the last nine years, Cars.com has crafted the American-Made Index, which is a list of cars that takes into account three factors: the percentage of the vehicle’s parts that were built in the United States or Canada, the final assembly point, and overall vehicle sales.On the day after America celebrates 239 years of independence, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) will hold a race at Daytona International Speedway. Contestants will drive vehicles that are styled to resemble the Chevrolet SS, Ford Fusion, and Toyota Camry, and after racing ‘em on Sunday, these car companies hope that NASCAR fans will buy ‘em on Monday. This year’s most American vehicle, the Toyota Camry, is assembled in Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky plant as well as in Lafayette, Indiana, through a partnership with Subaru.

It turns out the Japanese carmaker’s flagship sedan actually has more domestic content in it than the F0rd pickup and in fact, ranks first in Cars.com’s annual American-Made Index. But if you want to buy a truly “American-made” vehicle — and a Cars.com survey says more Americans do — you might be better off purchasing a Toyota Camry.

Filling in the gap is the third-place Chevrolet Traverse and rounding out the rest of the list is the GMC Acadia, Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Corvette. If anything, the opposite is true: Excluding heavy-duty trucks and commercial vehicles, automakers assemble 101 models in this country for the 2015 model year, from Chevrolet sedans to BMW SUVs.

Another Japanese automaker, Honda Motor Co Ltd’s (ADR) (NYSE:HMC) Odyssey minivan landed on the fourth spot. “The Camry supports about 5,900 assembly-plant workers”, wrote the authors of the Cars.com study. The report also attempted to estimate the number of U.S. assembly plant workers supported per model, putting the Camry on top by a wide margin with more than 5,900 employees. “It’s not that automakers are slowing USA production”. Although more vehicles are actually being assembled in the U.S. with production on the rise, the overall domestic-parts content of those vehicles is dropping. What is shrinking is the percent of overall domestic-parts content.” Patrick Olsen, editor-in-chief of Cars.com, told Fortune, “In 2011 23% of purchasing consumers would only buy American, a percentage that has jumped to 28% in 2015.” Of course, the recent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles merger has complicated this approach, now that the company that builds the Dodge Charger Hellcat is headquartered in London, England.

Most of the industry’s players, including Ford and Chrysler, are investing to expand U.S. production to meet the burgeoning demand for autos stemming from cheaper fuel and easier credit. Once the numbers are crunched, Kogod gives each make and model a total domestic content (TDC) value, and lists the vehicles from highest to lowest based on that value. Ford appears on the list in the #3 slot, its F-Series, Expedition, Explorer, and Taurus making the grade at 82.5% TDC, along with the Cadillac ATS Sedan, Cadillac CTS, and Chevrolet Equinox. Here’s another fun fact: A Ford Fusion Energi, the plug-in hybrid version of the popular family sedan, is less “American” than a Nissan Leaf, at 34% TDC compared to 40% TDC.

America is part of the global economy and, as recent economic slumps helped prove, the world is a much smaller place when it comes to financial ups and downs. But buying a vehicle with a high percentage of TDC does help keep Americans employed and the economy healthy, even if it doesn’t really matter where the profits ultimately flow. The Kogod Made in America Auto Index has made it easy to determine what’s actually the most beneficial purchase for keeping the American economy chugging right along, and what’s not.

Granted, you could simply continue defining American vehicles using outdated and inaccurate methods, exhorting that the GMC Sierra is an American truck (at 72.5% TDC) while the Toyota Tundra is an import (at 76% TDC).

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