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American Made Cars: 2021

For the second year in a row, Cars.com has compiled a list of all of the vehicles that are built in the United States.  Ninety vehicles are on this list, but another 250 or so are built elsewhere and sold in the United States.  Those are not shown on this list.

In case you missed my article on the 2020 report, it can be read HERE.

The Rankings

In developing the 90 car ranking, Cars.com based their conclusions on the following criteria:

  • Assembly plant location (must be located in the U.S.)
  • Parts content (percent of U.S. and Canadian parts)
  • Engine country of origin (U.S.)
  • Transmission country of origin (U.S.)
  • U.S. manufacturing workforce (an analysis of each automaker’s direct U.S. workforce involved in building the vehicles and parts, factored against that automaker’s U.S. production footprint).

Full detail about the report can be found HERE on Cars.com. 

The top 20 ranked vehicles are shown in the chart below, with a comparison to their 2020 rank:

I put together a full list of all 90 vehicles on a PDF file HERE.


 

Notes on the Ranking

Tesla’s rise on this list is not so much the increase in American content or changes in manufacturing.  It is really due to them finally providing the detail on their builds.

The Ford Mustang made a significant jump from 34 to 2  due to substantially higher U.S. and Canadian parts content and increased domestic credentials for its available engines and transmissions.

Other models’ change in rank is likely attributed to tweaks in parts origins.

Some vehicles may be missing from this list due to a number of mitigating factors:

  • Models with a gross vehicle weight rating above 8,500 pounds — mostly full-size vans, three-quarter- and 1-ton pickup trucks, and larger commercial vehicles — which are exempt from providing content on their pricing labels.  The same goes for models from automakers that build fewer than 1,000 cars in a given model year.
  • Models set for discontinuation.
  • Vehicles not yet scheduled for production at the time of the study (April 2021).
  • Vehicles only built for government or commercial fleet (not retail units).

Does it Matter?

Here is the big question:  How important is it to you that your next new car is considered an American made vehicle? 

As you can see on the list, most manufacturers sell a vehicle from their lineup in the U.S.  Not all of their models, but many that sell well here. You don’t see a Porsche, MINI or Audi on the list.  Does that make them a bad choice to buy?  

I would be curious to get your reaction to that question.  Is there a reason you would make a car buying choice based on this information?

Merchandise Sales Support Youth Automotive Programs

In addition to sharing stories like this, I am providing ongoing support of automotive programs designed to inspire and educate young car enthusiasts.  I do this through the sale of items in the Vehicle Nanny Merchandise Store.   I hope you can find a fun item for yourself that also supports our budding car enthusiasts.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. mmcr

    Great article! But as a Canadian tied in to the auto industry, plus NAFTA, what does ‘American made’ even mean?

  2. Fred Whitt

    Interesting report about a largely misunderstood piece of the automobile buying process. For some this matters, for others simply looking for the best or getting the most for their money, it simply is not the consideration it used to be. I don’t think simply putting the pieces together means “American Made”, as many of the components are made around the world. Final Assembly in America would be a more accurate statement.

  3. mmcr

    My question answered with knowledge and sensitivity to the term. It certainly is a broader picture when it comes to the suppliers and their components that go in to the making of one car! Thanks Fred!

    1. Bill

      I think I understand your point…”America” in this article refers to “U.S.”, not North America. Certainly, Canada and the U.S. are pretty tightly connected–to the point that I’m sure it makes sense to consider products made in Canada as American made.

      I am curious if anyone else feels that way?

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