It’s America’s birthday today, marking 241 years since the Declaration of Independence. So how do we celebrate? With American cars, of course!
But just what is an American car? A car made in America? By an American automaker? With a horn that plays the first few bars of “The Star-Spangled Banner”? No, scratch that last one…
Some would argue that the most American cars are those not only assembled in the US of A, but containing the largest proportion of American-made parts, regardless of where their manufacturers are actually based.
Fortunately Cars.com has compiled just such a list, just as it has for the past eleven years. Its 2017 American-Made Index. Unfortunately for those proponents of “buying American,” the amount of American-made parts has been falling. In the first year of the index, over 60 vehicles qualified. In last year’s, just eight. Cars.com reports that only three would have made the cut by the same criteria, so it’s revamped its formula, discounting sales considerations and focusing solely on the parts and how (or where) they come together.
Out of 120 vehicles made in the United States, the editors whittled it down to the top 10, all of them made in America’s heartland in a near-contiguous procession of states in the mid-west and south stretching from Michigan down to Alabama. So with no further ado, here are the top ten American-made cars and trucks of 2017 – and make sure to watch the video below for more details.
The very icon of the American SUV, the Jeep Wrangler (and the four-door Wrangler Unlimited) is built in Toledo, Ohio. And not only is it made by an American automaker (albeit one part-owned by Italians), it has a very high percentage of American content: 74 percent for the two-door Wrangler, and 75 for the Wrangler Unlimited.
More of a crossover than an SUV, the Cherokee was until recently built alongside the Wrangler in Toledo, but was moved to Belvidere, Illinois. That, of course, is still in the United States, and 70 percent of its parts are sourced from within the country as well.
The quintessential American family sedan, the Taurus is built in Chicago by a US automaker whose shares (like those of its Detroit 3 rivals) are listed on the New York Stock Exchange. That makes it hard to track just where its owners are, but the Ford family controls a large proportion of the company’s voting power.
Crossovers are big business in America, so Honda’s luxury division make theirs in the States. The RDX is built alongside the MDX and Honda CR-V in East Liberty, just outside of Columbus, while the NSX is made not far away at in Marysville, near the plant that also makes the ILX, TLX, and Honda Accord.
Consistently America’s best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150 boasts a high proportion of American parts. It’s manufactured in parallel both in Dearborn, Michigan (Ford’s longtime home base) and Claycomo, Missouri. And though it is offered in other markets around the world, you can bet that the majority of those made at both plants stays in the United States.
The sport-ute counterpart to the F-150 similarly encompasses a majority of American components. Now in its fourth iteration, the Expedition is made at in Louisville, Kentucky, alongside the Lincoln Navigator (its upscale counterpart) and the Ford Super Duty trucks.
Made in Lansing, Michigan, the GMC Acadia was, in its first iteration, closely related to the Chevy Traverse and Buick Enclave (not to mention the Saturn Outlook). The new second-gen model, however, is its own stand-alone product, sharing its platform (but not much else) with the Cadillac XT5.
Remember when minivans were a big deal in America? They may have been largely supplanted by the crossover, but there are still several on the market. Most of them these days are made by “foreign” automakers, like the Honda Odyssey – which is made specifically for the North American market in Lincoln, Alabama, and is different from the version sold overseas
The fourth model that Honda got on this list (more than any “American” automaker), the Pilot is made in (you guessed it) Lincoln, Alabama, just like its platform-mates, the upscale Acura MDX and the utilitarian Honda Ridgeline that also scored a place near the top of this year’s index. All of which only serves to challenge our notions of what’s considered an American automobile and what’s an import.