With all the talk of potential tariffs on cars going around, ostensibly to protect American carmakers, it’s worth looking at what cars actually are made in America, by American workers. The creatively-named car buying and selling site Cars.com just completed their annual roundup of the most-American-built cars, and the company with the most representation on their top-10 most American-built cars list is Japanese.
Here, you can confirm empirically! Here’s the list of cars, and where they’re built:
1. Jeep Cherokee: Belvidere, Ill.
2. Honda Odyssey: Lincoln, Ala.
3. Honda Ridgeline: Lincoln, Ala.
4. Ford Taurus: Chicago
5. Chevrolet Volt: Detroit
6. Honda Pilot: Lincoln, Ala.
7. Acura MDX: East Liberty, Ohio
8. Ford Explorer: Chicago
9. Ford F-150: Claycomo, Mo., and Dearborn, Mich.
10. Chevrolet Corvette: Bowling Green, Ky.
So, out of those 10, four are Honda vehicles (in case you forgot, Honda owns Acura): the Odyssey, Ridgeline, Pilot, and MDX. Ford has the next most models, the Taurus (people still buy those?), the Explorer, and the best-selling F-150. Chevy has two, the Corvette and the Volt, and the number one spot—the car with the most American-made content—is a Jeep Cherokee.
This list does a good job to illustrate just how global the auto industry really is, and how ridiculous it is to try to protect “American” car companies.
Look at the number-one car on that list, the Jeep Cherokee. It has the most American-sourced content and is built in the U.S., but is FCA an American company? That F stands for Fiat, and that’s an Italian company, with headquarters in London. So is a Jeep an American car brand? Or an Italian one? Or British?
Even for companies headquartered here and unquestionably American, things get complicated. Sure, GM builds the Volt right in the Detroit motherland, but the all-electric Bolt, while assembled in America, has a drivetrain from Korea and only about 20% American parts.
BMW builds almost all of its SUVs in South Carolina, but with a majority of parts from outside the U.S. Many Fords are made in Canada and Mexico. Swedish Volvos are Chinese, like British Jags are Indian.