Three of ‘most American cars’ made in Lansing

30 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cars made in America? Chrysler, Ford no longer qualify.

For the last nine years, 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.The phrase “made in America” has always pulled at the hearts and wallets of loyal, red-blooded consumers, and never more so than in the automotive space.

A new report ranks two Toyota models as the most “American-made” vehicles in the U.S. as overall domestic sourcing in the auto industry continues to fall.New data from autos website shows America’s second and third largest automakers, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NYSE:FCAU), are less “American” than Japan’s (and the world’s) largest automaker Toyota Motor Corp (NYSE:TM). 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. Surprisingly, only seven vehicles made it to this year’s annual American-Made Index (AMI), which identifies vehicles that source at least 75% of the parts and contents domestically. The list has contracted sharply over its nine-year history, underscoring the seismic shift toward a more globalized auto industry where American automakers are increasingly opting to source from across the national border partly to cut costs.

But if you want to buy a truly “American-made” vehicle — and a 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. Surprise No. 2: Ford fell off the list entirely this year—even though the F-150 pickup topped the list in 2013 and 2014. (A Chrysler hasn’t shown up since 2012.) Surprise No. 3: Ten years ago, when began compiling the AMI, 29 vehicles made the cut; this year, only seven did—not even enough for a Top Ten. General Motors accounted for each of the four U.S.-based cars on the list, including the Chevrolet Traverse at No. 3, GMC Acadia at No. 5 and Buick Enclave at No. 6.

What is shrinking is the percent of overall domestic-parts content.” Patrick Olsen, editor-in-chief of, told Fortune, “In 2011 23% of purchasing consumers would only buy American, a percentage that has jumped to 28% in 2015.” While options for truly “American” cars continue to shrink, Americans’ interest in buying cars that support the domestic economy is still of great interest. Models are disqualified if the domestic-parts content rating is below 75 percent, as well as models built exclusively outside the U.S. or models soon to be discontinued without a U.S.-built successor.

While American automakers may be increasingly inclined to fit foreign parts into their cars, SUVs, and trucks, the latest AMI data does not reflect a slowing rate of auto industry production rates. Most of the industry’s players, including Ford and Chrysler, are investing to expand US 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. Data from shows that automakers have assembled about 101 light vehicle 2015 models within the US, which form the bulk of new car sales in the country. Only two GM vehicles among all domestic brands; Buick Encore and the Chevrolet Trax, actually have less than 5% American content as they are built in South Korea.

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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