Cars.com released its annual American-Made Index to help car shoppers determine the “most American” vehicles of 2018 that have the greatest impact on the U.S. economy. To arrive at this list, Cars.com looked at which cars are manufactured in America, have the most American parts, and support the most American factory jobs.
In today’s global economy, buying American can be complicated. According to a recent Cars.com survey, 71 percent of consumers believe buying American contributes significantly or substantially to the U.S. economy. This year’s ranking reveals that four of the top 10 American-made vehicles are produced by a foreign-based automaker. The Jeep Cherokee moves up one spot from the 2017 list. It’s Illinois-built, though Jeep is a division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), an Italian corporation headquartered in London. Still, the Cherokee comes in as the most American-made car of 2018 due to its high domestic-parts content, U.S.-manufactured engines and transmissions and FCA’s large U.S. factory workforce.
U.S. Assembly Plant Location(s)
Acura MDX (excludes MDX Sport Hybrid)
East Liberty, Ohio
Claycomo, Mo., and Dearborn, Mich.
Bowling Green, Ky.
The Cars.com survey revealed many U.S. consumers want to support their neighbors and buy American cars, trucks and SUVs. Notably, 19 percent of survey respondents believe it is unpatriotic to buy vehicles that are not American-made. Additional survey insights include:
- 28 percent of respondents would only consider an American manufacturer when purchasing a vehicle.
- Before buying a car, two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans say they first find out where a car is built or where its automaker is headquartered.
- 82 percent of respondents believe that buying American-made vehicles will create more jobs in the U.S.
The Honda Odyssey minivan and Honda Ridgeline pickup truck round out the top three. While Honda is a Japan-based automaker, both of these cars are built in Alabama with high domestic content and U.S.-sourced drivetrains.
The Chicago-built Ford Taurus lands at number four, followed by the Chevrolet Volt – the index’s highest-ranked newcomer and the first ever plug-in vehicle on the American-Made Index. Plug-in cars, whether they’re fully electric or a plug-in hybrid like the Volt, often lack high domestic content amid global sourcing for batteries, but the Volt’s battery pack is assembled near Detroit, with cells from a plant in western Michigan.
“In this new era of import tariffs and ongoing renegotiations of long-standing trading pacts, it’s increasingly important for consumers to understand a product’s homegrown credentials, especially when it comes to purchasing a modern automobile,” said Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com’s executive editor. “If consumers care about making car purchases that support the U.S. economy, it means looking beyond the assembly location.”
Cars.com’s American-Made Index ranks cars based on five factors: assembly location, domestic-parts content, U.S. factory employment, engine sourcing and transmission sourcing. The company analyzed more than 100 U.S.-built vehicles to arrive at the top 10. In 2017, Cars.com revamped the methodology for its American-Made Index to focus on the impact of the choice between buying one car versus another amid only three models qualifying under the prior method.