Consumers looking to buy a domestically made car or truck may find that some familiar American models are far less homegrown than they might think, an annual survey shows.
Ford Motor's (F) popular F-150 pickup truck, for example, contains so many foreign-sourced parts that it failed to make Cars.com's top rankings of its American-Made Cars index for 2010. Meanwhile, Japan's Toyota Motor (TM), had more models on the list than other manufacturer, taking three of the top 10 slots.
Just 55% of the parts used to manufacture the 2010 model of the venerable F-150 come from domestic sources, the online car-buying guide says. In past years, the F-150 has held steady with around 80% domestic content. The 2009 redesign reduced that amount to a still-respectable 75% rating. Other Ford models did make the list, however: The Escape SUV and Focus compact took third and fourth, respectively.
The F-150 typically tops vehicle sales charts in the U.S. year in and year out. But its two competitors for that No. 1 sales spot, the Toyota Camry and the Honda (HMC) Accord, contained the most domestic content of any popular vehicles sold in the U.S., according to Cars.com's analysis.
Camry's first-place ranking was a repeat for Toyota. The popular sedan, manufactured in Georgetown, Ky., and Lafayette, Ind., displaced the F-150 last year to take the top spot. At No. 2, with a 75% domestic content and strong sales, the Accord is new to the index. All Accords sold in the U.S. are now assembled in either Ohio or Alabama.
Decline in Use of Domestic Parts Knocks Pickups Off List
The index takes into several criteria in determining which models are most American. Those include where the vehicle is made; how popular it is; and the percentage of domestically produced parts used in manufacturing it. Cars.com disqualifies models with a domestic parts content rating below 75%, models built exclusively outside the U.S., or lines soon to be discontinued without a U.S.-built successor.
America's other top nameplate, Chevrolet -- General Motors' "baseball, hot dogs and apple pie" brand -- had only one model on this year's top 10 list: the Malibu midsized sedan, built in Kansas City, Kan., ranked No. 5. GM's Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-sized pickups once regularly appeared on the American-Made Index. But with production of both trucks now split between the U.S. and Mexico, today's models have only 65% domestic-parts content, Cars.com said.
Chrysler Group's Ram 1500 and Toyota's Tundra pickups, however, did make the top 10, finishing seventh and eighth, respectively, with Chrysler's iconic Jeep Wrangler SUV, built in Toledo, Ohio, taking ninth.
In addition to the Tundra and the Camry, one other Toyota made the list at No. 6, the Sienna minivan, which is made in Indiana.
Cars.com 2010 American-Made Index
Rank Make/Model (U.S. Assembly Location) 2009 Rank
1. Toyota Camry (Georgetown, Ky., and Lafayette, Ind.) 1
2. Honda Accord (Marysville, Ohio, and Lincoln, Ala.) --
3. Ford Escape (Kansas City, Mo.) --
4. Ford Focus (Wayne, Mich.) --
5. Chevrolet Malibu (Kansas City, Kan.) 3
6. Honda Odyssey (Lincoln, Ala.) 4
7. Ram 1500* (Warren, Mich.) --
8. Toyota Tundra (San Antonio) 7
9. Jeep Wrangler (Toledo, Ohio) --
10. Toyota Sienna (Princeton, Ind.) 6
*Quad cab and crew cab only. Excludes Ram 1500 single cab, which is assembled in Mexico.
Sources: Automaker data, Automotive News, dealership data, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Investing in Startups
The lucrative and risky world of startups.View Course »