Tesla’s Model Y grabbed the No. 1 spot among 95 models that qualified for Cars.com’s 2022 American-Made Index, which analyzed 379 vehicles sold in the U.S. to determine the vehicle that contributes most significantly to the economy. The gulf between the Model Y and the Hyundai Elantra all the way down at No. 95 is significant, but even the Elantra can be given props for its domestic cred in a way 244 other models can’t.
Related: 2022 Cars.com American-Made Index: Which Cars Are the Most American?
Of the AMI’s five major criteria, location of final assembly is arguably the most crucial in determining whether or not a vehicle makes the index. But whether it’s low-volume specialty manufacturers like Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, heavy-duty pickup trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating above 8,500 pounds like Ford’s F-Series Super Duty, or a car set for imminent discontinuation like the Volkswagen Passat, various factors combined to knock off 45 nameplates of the 379 total vehicles analyzed for 2022.
To be clear, there’s no definitive least American vehicle by AMI standards; once a vehicle has been excluded from the list, we don’t dig any deeper for the sake of time (and sanity). Still, we can identify vehicles that don’t meet basic criteria, and you might be surprised by some of the names among the 45.1% of all imported vehicles for 2022, per a Cars.com analysis.
Perhaps the most prominent example from Cars.com’s perspective is the Ford Maverick, which we awarded both our Best of the Year 2022 and Best Pickup Truck of 2022 awards, then went out and bought; it’s manufactured in Mexico. Another Ford is the Mustang Mach-E, which shares a root nameplate with the 26th-ranked Mustang but is an entirely separate vehicle also made in Mexico. And Ford isn’t the only one among the Detroit Three eschewing its all-American roots: GM’s Buick brand manufactures the Enclave in Michigan, but the rest of its lineup is imported from China or South Korea. Dodge parent Stellantis makes the Challenger and Charger muscle cars in Canada. The list goes on.
Other automakers vary their approach to assembly location even within nameplates. The Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson are made in Alabama, but their hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants are imported from South Korea. Same goes for the Toyota Corolla, for which the sedan is made in Mississippi but the hatchback variant is imported from Japan.
Long story short: Just because you recognize the badge on the hood as American doesn’t necessarily guarantee Americans are the ones putting the car together. Check the window sticker to be sure.
Which Automaker Builds the Most U.S. Cars?
The short answer to this is Tesla. For now, the Texas company is the only major automaker that produces in the U.S. all the cars it sells here. That may change in 2023 as Lucid and Rivian reach their full production potential, but until then, here’s how the major automakers (including groups of affiliated or allied automakers) landed for U.S. light-duty vehicle sales:
Share of U.S. Light-Duty Sales From Domestic Assembly, 2022 Model Year
- Tesla Inc. (Tesla): 100.0%
- Stellantis NV (Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Maserati, Ram): 72.3%
- Ford Motor Co. (Ford, Lincoln): 70.8%
- Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (Acura, Honda): 69.4%
- Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance (Infiniti, Mitsubishi, Nissan): 56.0%
- General Motors Co. (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC): 55.8%
- Subaru Corp. (Subaru): 54.7%
- BMW AG (BMW, Mini, Rolls-Royce): 52.8%
- Toyota Motor Corp. (Lexus, Toyota): 47.5%
- Mercedes-Benz AG (Mercedes-Benz): 41.0%
- Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. (Genesis, Hyundai, Kia): 40.1%
- Volkswagen AG (Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, Volkswagen): 18.7%
- Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co. Ltd. (Lotus, Polestar, Volvo): 5.7%
- Ferrari NV (Ferrari): 0.0%
- Mazda Motor Corp. (Mazda): 0.0%
- McLaren Group Ltd. (McLaren): 0.0%
- Tata Motors Ltd. (Jaguar, Land Rover): 0.0%
Source: Cars.com inventory analysis; light-duty is defined by Federal Highway Administration Class I-II weight classifications.
More From Cars.com:
- 2022 Cars.com American-Made Index: Ranking by Class
- 2021 Cars.com American-Made Index: Which Cars Are the Most American?
- The Cars.com 2020 American-Made Index: Which Cars Are Most American?
- Cars.com’s 2019 American-Made Index: What’s the Most American Car?