2012 Toyota Camry HybridEnlarge Photo
The most American vehicle for 2012 probably isn't going to be a Ford, or General Motors product, or even a Chrysler or Jeep. It's most likely going to be the 2012 Toyota Camry.
That's according to the federal government's annual U.S./Canadian parts-content figures, as posted on new-car window stickers and required by the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA).
According to Toyota, the gasoline version will have a market-leading 92-percent North American-sourced parts. Content for the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid—with its Japan-sourced battery pack and drive components—will be 59. But since the window-sticker percentages are calculated on a 'carline' basis, that still calculates to an estimated combined AALA figure of 89 percent for the 2012 Camry lineup.
Although the location of final assembly doesn't affect a vehicle's North American content figure, all four-cylinder and V-6 Camry models will be built at Georgetown, Kentucky, or Lafayette, Indiana (beside the Subaru Legacy and Outback); but Hybrids will be built either in Japan or in Georgetown
For 2011, the Camry has an official American parts content of 80 percent. It's topped only by the Chrysler 200 (81 percent), Dodge Grand Caravan (82%), Dodge Avenger (83%), Dodge Dakota (84%), and Ford Explorer (85%). The government lists the Ford Explorer Sport Trac as having the highest American parts content, at 90 percent, but that model was discontinued at the start of the model year.
The AALA figures are calculated mainly through the assessed value of individual vehicle parts, and their country of origin. They've been widely criticized for years, as they give foreign automakers with captive suppliers an added boost. Automakers might assemble modules of foreign parts, for example, with the resulting modules considered a North American part.
American flagEnlarge Photo
Meanwhile, those who preach buying American tend to argue that what matters most isn't always the parts percentage, but that any profit from your purchase goes back to the home corporate office—in another country. Yet for those whose local and state economies have been affected positively by U.S. plants run by foreign automakers, it's hard to argue they aren't doing a lot of good, too.
Stay tuned. We'll bring you the 2012 AALA figures—and the final word on the Camry's 'most American' status later in the model year.