Is your Car a True Patriot? Find out what is the most American car
If you have an American flag waving outside your house, keep Toby Keith’s “Made in America,” on repeat and proudly celebrate the 4th of July, you probably hope that your car is just as American as you are. If you’re driving a Ford, for example, you might think you’re driving the most American car possible.
But are you really?
Ford, historically the most American car, recently announced that it will be moving all of its small-car productions across the border into Mexico. General Motors, another cornerstone of the American car market, has done the same in the past. In fact, since 2011, 9 out of 11 of the new car factories built in North America have been in Mexico.
So, who really builds the most American car?
Before we start, let’s just say that “most American” is our standard because these days you just can’t buy a 100% American car. It doesn’t exist. And even more surprisingly, if you want to buy from an American car brand, your car is actually less American than some foreign car brands.
As it turns out, the Toyota Camry is the most American-made car on the market according to Cars.com’s American-Made Index. The Japanese company has plants in Kentucky and Indiana. Also ranked very highly is another Japanese company, Honda, with their minivan model, The Honda Odyssey
What might be even more astonishing is that the list contains only 7 cars, because they are the only models eligible for inclusion. Only 7 cars on today’s market are made with at least 75 percent domestic content. 2015 was the first year where there were less than 10 cars that met that criteria.
And what about our beloved American car brands, like Ford and General Motors? Ford didn’t even make the list. General Motors fared a bit better, with Chevrolet making the list twice, with their Traverse and Corvette.
Unfortunately, if you want to buy a car in America, you have to accept that it won’t be fully built here.
What are the least American cars?
Of the 450 different 2016 car models sold in America, more than 50 of them are built with zero parts made in America.
If you’ve got your eye on a Mazda, they have zero active factories in the United States. Your flashy new Mazda3, Mazda6, CX-5, CX-5, CX-9 and MX-5 all hail from one of several factories in Japan. Mercedes produces 15 popular car models outside of the United States and imports them to the states.
Even our winning brand, Toyota, has models that are entirely made abroad. If you’re driving a 4Runner, Prius C, RAV4 hybrid or Yaris, then your car is 100 percent imported.
How’s the American car industry doing?
At this point, your heart might have sunk: you want to support America, and yet only 7 cars are “mostly” American. The American car industry looks bleak.
But in reality, the American car industry is growing. It just looks very different than the days of the first Fords. Auto sale are predicted to exceed 20 million by 2018, up from the reported 17.5 million sold in 2015. As for our American car brands, Ford and GM still assemble 37 of the 57 U.S.-assembled cars in Detroit, the car capital of the country.
Don’t forget, foreign car brands have a positive effect on our economy. They employ 90,000 Americans and have invested $43 billion here.
Any way you dice it, whether you’re looking at domestic brands or foreign brands operating in the United States, the American auto industry is healthy. And almost across the board, any car you bought is likely supporting the American economy through the combined efforts domestically and abroad. And that makes your car just as American as you are.