American Car Companies Still Aren't Making the Most American Cars

Illustration for article titled American Car Companies Still Aren't Making the Most American Cars
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Most of the American-made cars sold in the U.S. are Japanese, Tesla is doing great why do you ask, that massive Philly refinery that went supernova may shut down, and much more in The Morning Shift for Wednesday, June 26, 2019.


1st Gear: Japanese Companies Build a Ton of Cars Here

All this tough talk of throwing tariffs on foreign automakers over claims that there isn’t enough investment in American manufacturing is distracting us from the fact that most the of the cars built by Americans for the U.S. market come from Japanese automakers.

From Bloomberg:

The annual “American-Made Index” compiled by found nine of the 15 most U.S.-sourced vehicles are manufactured by Honda Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. The two Japanese automakers dominated the latest study thanks to the big number of popular vehicles they assemble in America and their high content of U.S.-made parts.

“It’s not surprising that there’s a lot of vehicles here from Honda,” Kelsey Mays, senior editor of, said in an interview. About two-thirds of Honda’s cars are assembled in the U.S., which is more than General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Mays said. Toyota also sells mostly American-made vehicles in the U.S. market.

While didn’t provide a breakdown of how it weighted its study parameters, it did focus on many of the issues the Trump administration cites as concerns and justification for threatening increased tariffs on foreign automaker cars and parts. Those factors included: “assembly location, parts sourcing as determined by the American Automobile Labeling Act, factory employment relative to sales and sourcing of engines and transmissions.”

If you want to employ Americans with your car purchases, Honda and Toyota are your best bet, even compared to American companies. Here’s the list of the top 10 most American-built cars sold in the U.S., based on the factors listed above:

1. Jeep Cherokee in Belvidere, Illinois

2. Honda Odyssey in Lincoln, Alabama

3. Honda Ridgeline in Lincoln, Alabama

4. Honda Passport in Lincoln, Alabama

5. Chevrolet Corvette in Bowling Green, Kentucky

6. Acura MDX in East Liberty, Ohio

7. Honda Pilot in Lincoln, Alabama

8. Chevrolet Colorado in Wentzville, Missouri

9. GMC Canyon in Wentzville, Missouri

10. Acura RDX in East Liberty, Ohio

2nd Gear: Musk Promises Record-Setting Vehicle Deliveries

Another week closer to second quarter results for Tesla, and another “leaked” internal memo from CEO Elon Musk promising things are going fine, just fine.


From Bloomberg:

“There is a lot of speculation regarding our vehicle deliveries this quarter,” Musk told employees in an email Tuesday. “The reality is that we are on track to set an all-time record, but it will be very close. However, if we go all out, we can definitely do it!”


“We already have enough vehicle orders to set a record, but the right cars are not yet all in the right locations,” Musk wrote. “Logistics and final delivery are extremely important, as well as finding demand for vehicle variants that are available locally, but can’t reach people who ordered that variant before the end of the quarter.”


The company posted a massive $700 million first quarter loss this year, citing logistics issues with delivering its vehicles and expanding operations into Europe and China. Following the loss from first quarter, the company previously announced it doesn’t expect to turn a profit this quarter, either.

3rd Gear: Philly Oil Refinery That Exploded May Shut Down For Good

The Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery that exploded last week may shut down for good due to extensive damage, which would mean layoffs, Reuters exclusively reports:

Shutting the refinery, the largest and oldest on the U.S. East Coast, would cost hundreds of jobs and squeeze gasoline supplies in the busiest, most densely populated corridor of the United States.

The refinery, which could still change its plans, is also expected to begin layoffs of the 700 union workers at the plant as early as Wednesday, the sources said. The layoffs could include about half of the union workforce, with the remaining staff staying at the site until the investigation into the blast concludes, the sources said.


Last week’s massive explosion was the result of the refinery’s second fire in as many weeks. The incident naturally outraged local residents, who narrowly avoided extremely dangerous conditions which would have involved skin and lung damage had the explosion vaporized the facility’s hydrofluoric acid supply. Fortunately that was not the case, though four employees suffered injuries as a result of the fire.

Reuters’ sources claim Philadelphia Energy Solutions is expected to file with regulators intent to close the refinery today.


4th Gear: Bombardier Is Done Making Commercial Jets

Plane manufacturer Bombardier has sold the last of its regional jet business to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and will exit commercial aviation once it finishes building its backlog of aircraft, Reuters reports:

Bombardier Inc said it will sell its money-losing regional jet business to Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd (MHI) for $550 million in cash, in a deal marking the Canadian plane and train maker’s exit from commercial aviation.

Montreal-based Bombardier has been selling off its weaker-performing commercial plane programs aimed at airlines to focus on profitable business jets and passenger rail cars. The company faced a cash-crunch in 2015 while bringing a larger narrowbody jet to market.


The sale is expected to help Mitsubishi in its efforts to certify its own regional jet program currently under development, called SpaceJet, which has suffered delays since 2013, Reuters reports. The deal will also settle a trade secrets lawsuit between the two companies.

Bombardier’s Montreal-based manufacturing of its regional aircraft is expected to be finished by the middle of next year.


5th Gear: Mitsubishi Moving U.S. HQ to Strengthen Bond With Nissan

Mitsubishi is packing its bags and leaving Southern California for Tennessee to move back in with its parents, AutoNews reports:

Mitsubishi Motors North America will move its U.S. headquarters from Southern California to Franklin, Tenn., by the end of the year, joining the North American arm of alliance partner and controlling shareholder Nissan Motor Co. in the Nashville suburb.

Mitsubishi expects to begin its move from Cypress, Calif., to Franklin in August and to initially be housed in temporary office space as it looks for a permanent location, the company said in a statement Tuesday. The Japanese automaker has been in Southern California since the mid-1980s, first in Fountain Valley and then in nearby Cypress, where it has about 200 workers.


Mitsubishi claims this is part of a planned rebirth for the brand, following a similar move from California to Tennessee for Nissan back in 2006. I’m not sure I would take Nissan’s current position as a sign that its move necessarily provided a clear benefit for the brand.

I’m just picturing someone getting a job with Mitsubishi because they loved their Evo in college. Then the company stops building that car to sell out with crossovers and then either cans them or asks them to move to Tennessee. Tough luck.


Reverse: The Original Infrastructure Week


Neutral: Do You Check Where Your Car Is Built Before Buying?

I couldn’t help but notice there isn’t a single Ford on the top 10 list of cars built by Americans and sold in the U.S. There are a shit ton of Hondas. If you own any of them, did you buy them knowing they were made in America, and how much does it matter to you?

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik



Neutral: Not anymore, no. The global economy and the massively complicated supply chain that goes into a modern automobile kinda makes any effort to buy American/Japanese/Arstotzkan sort of naive.