The American Made Index

As the import-domestic debate rages, many consumers are interested in spending their dollars stateside. As a way to help them figure out which cars are truly "domestic," Congress passed the American Automobile Labeling Act in 1992; it requires automakers to disclose the percentage, by cost, of U.S. and Canadian parts in most vehicles. The numbers are often listed on window stickers.

The Ford F-Series is at the top of the American Made Index.

The Ford F-Series is at the top of the American Made Index.

Experts say parts breakdown isn't the only thing consumers should consider. Steven Szakaly, an economist at the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Center for Automotive Research, said research, design and final assembly also factor into a vehicle's origins.

"The suppliers and designers of these cars are the people who are essentially servicing them," he said. "If your headquarters is in the U.S. and your headquarter and finance staff is here, you're obviously creating more jobs in the U.S."

Szakaly said buyers should also be mindful that a car's sales affect the number of manufacturing jobs it creates — and therefore play a key role in determining a car's domestic impact.

"If one car is out there with 90 percent parts (from the U.S. or Canada) and they're selling five of them, we don't care," he said.

What are the top American-made cars?'s American Made Index rates vehicles put together and purchased in the U.S. Factors include where the cars' parts are made, where the cars are assembled and how many were sold in the U.S. from Jan. 1 through May 31, 2006. Eligible models must have a domestic-parts-content rating of 75 percent or more, the minimum federal standard for a car to be labeled domestic.
RankMake/ModelU.S. Assembly Location(s)
1.Ford F-Series*Dearborn, Mich.;
Kansas City, Mo.;
Louisville, Ky.;
Norfolk, Va.
2.Chevrolet SilveradoFort Wayne, Ind.;
Pontiac, Mich.
3.Toyota Camry**, Camry SolaraGeorgetown, Ky.
4.Ford E-SeriesLorain, Ohio
5.Chevrolet CobaltLordstown, Ohio
6. Ford Explorer,
Explorer Sport Trac
Louisville, Ky.;
St. Louis
7.Chevrolet Malibu, Malibu MaxxKansas City, Kan.
8.Ford Escape**Kansas City, Mo.
9.Toyota SiennaPrinceton, Ind.
10.Chevrolet TrailBlazer***Moraine, Ohio

*Excludes Ford F-650, F-750
**Excludes hybrid
***Excludes discontinued TrailBlazer EXT

Sources: Automaker data, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Posted on 6/28/06