Cars

How American Is Your "American-Made" Car?

Published On 09/11/2015 Published On 09/11/2015

Think about this for a second. You can buy a Ford that’s made on American soil with parts that were almost all imported from elsewhere, or you can buy a Honda built with American parts, but assembled abroad. 

Which is the more “American” car?

Some will say that “American cars are produced by American companies. Period.” Studies like the Cars.com American Made Index look to the number of workers employed in the U.S. (even if a company is based abroad) to determine which vehicles are worthy to be deemed American made. But this ignores the realities of a globalized economy, and the fact that a foreign company’s profits go to its shareholders -- which, overwhelmingly, won’t be American.

To make sense of it all, we poured through American University’s Kogod Made In America Index, which rates a car's “American-ness” based on a number of factors, including what percentage of a vehicle’s parts are manufactured in the United States and Canada (that’s right! Canada counts). Here are the 25 bestselling cars in the USA last year, ranked by their Kogod Index score, or as we like to call it, their Homegrown Index.

Nissan

25. Nissan Sentra

Number sold in US 2014: 183,268
Company HQ: The Netherlands
Research and development: Japan
Assembled: Japan
Total percentage of American Parts: 15%

Homegrown Index: 8.5
 
 

24. Toyota RAV4

Number sold in US 2014: 267,298
Company HQ: The Netherlands
Research and development: Japan
Assembled: Canada
Total percentage of American Parts: 40%

Homegrown Index: 42
 
 

23. Nissan Rogue

Number sold in US 2014: 199,199
Company HQ: The Netherlands
Research and development: Japan
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 30%

Homegrown Index: 49

Nissan

22. Nissan Altima

Number sold in US 2014: 335,644
Company HQ: The Netherlands
Research and development: Japan
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 50%

Homegrown Index: 59
 
 

21. Hyundai Elantra

Number sold in US 2014: 222,023
Company HQ: South Korea
Research and development: South Korea
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 39%

Homegrown Index: 60.5
 
 

20. Toyota Corolla

Number sold in US 2014: 339,498
Company HQ: Japan
Research and development: Japan
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 55%

Homegrown Index: 61.5

Ford

19. Ford Fusion

Number sold in US 2014: 306,860
Company HQ: USA
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 25%

Homegrown Index: 62.5
 
 

18. Ford Escape

Number sold in US 2014: 306,212
Company HQ: USA
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 55%

Homegrown Index: 63.5
 
 

17. Hyundai Sonata

Number sold in US 2014: 216,936
Company HQ: South Korea
Research and development: South Korea
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 49%

Homegrown Index: 65.5

Ford

16. Ford Focus

Number sold in US 2014: 219,634
Company HQ: USA
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 45%

Homegrown Index: 65.5
 
 

15. Honda Civic

Number sold in US 2014: 325,981
Company HQ: Japan
Research and development: Japan
Assembled: USA (except 4-Door Si)
Total percentage of American Parts: 65%

Homegrown Index: 66.5
 
 

14. GMC Sierra

Number sold in US 2014: 211,833
Company HQ: USA
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 45%

Homegrown Index: 72.5

GM

13. Chevrolet Silverado

Number sold in US 2014: 529,755
Company HQ: USA
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 45%

Homegrown Index: 72.5
 
 

12. Ram 1500

Number sold in US 2014: 439,789
Company HQ: UK
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 61%

Homegrown Index: 74.5
 
 

11. Jeep Grand Cherokee

Number sold in US 2014: 183,786
Company HQ: UK
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 63%

Homegrown Index: 75

Honda

10. Honda CR-V

Number sold in US 2014: 335,019
Company HQ: Japan
Research and development: Japan
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 70%

Homegrown Index: 76
 
 

9. Honda Accord

Number sold in US 2014: 388,374
Company HQ: Japan
Research and development: Japan
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 70%

Homegrown Index: 76
 
 

8. Toyota Camry

Number sold in US 2014: 428,606
Company HQ: Japan
Research and development: Japan
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 75%

Homegrown Index: 78.5

FCA

7. Jeep Wrangler

Number sold in US 2014: 175,328
Company HQ: UK
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 70%

Homegrown Index: 79
 
 

6. Jeep Cherokee

Number sold in US 2014: 178,508
Company HQ: UK
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 71%

Homegrown Index: 79.5
 
 

5. Chevrolet Cruze

Number sold in US 2014: 273,060
Company HQ: USA
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 60%

Homegrown Index: 80

GM

4. Chevrolet Malibu

Number sold in US 2014: 188,519
Company HQ: USA
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 62%

Homegrown Index: 81
 
 

3. Ford Explorer

Number sold in US 2014: 209,994
Company HQ: USA
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 65%

Homegrown Index: 82.5
 
 

2. Chevrolet Equinox

Number sold in US 2014: 242,242
Company HQ: USA
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 65%

Homegrown Index: 82.5

Ford

1. Ford F-Series

Number sold in US 2014: 753,851
Company HQ: USA
Research and development: USA
Assembled: USA
Total percentage of American Parts: 65%

Homegrown Index: 82.5


Note on tiebreakers: While the original index allows a tie, this article does not. There are multiple instances where vehicles achieved the same Kogod score, so in order to differentiate between them, we used sales data to break the tie on the grounds that the one that sells more has the greater overall impact.

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