In today's increasingly connected world, we often ask ourselves, "What do national borders mean?" Companies like Coke and Sony do business around the globe, and anyone who's been on Facebook knows that we often have more in common with folks on the other side of the planet than with our next-door neighbors.
For auto shoppers who focus on where their vehicles are made, such concerns aren't just academic. When a car is assembled in the U.S. from parts shipped in from Japan, Mexico, and Thailand, can you really call it "American"?
Thankfully, the folks at Cars.com have released an analysis that puts such questions to rest. (Well, sort of.) In compiling its 2013 American-Made Index, Cars.com looked at three factors to determine the ten "most American" vehicles:
- The origin of a car's parts (i.e. whether they were made in the U.S. or elsewhere)
- The vehicle's point of final assembly (i.e. where it rolled off the assembly line)
- Sales statistics (i.e. the car's popularity with American shoppers)
This year, the Ford F-150 has retaken the #1 spot on the American-Made Index. According to Patrick Olsen, the site's Editor-in-Chief, "Strong sales and 75 percent domestic-parts content propelled Ford's popular F-150 to the top of the index for 2013, a rank it held from 2006 to 2008."
But Ford can't rest on its laurels. Coming in at #2 is the Toyota Camry, which held the #1 spot from 2009-2012. In fact, Olsen says that the Camry is still a very strong performer; it was edged out by strong F-150 sales, which were spurred by the recovering U.S. economy and the country's construction boom.
Interestingly, the top ten list of "most American" cars is split right down the middle between U.S. companies and foreign automakers, with each putting five models on the board. In terms of sheer numbers, however, Toyota takes top honors for nabbing four of the ten spots:
1. Ford F-150
2. Toyota Camry
3. Dodge Avenger
4. Honda Odyssey
5. Toyota Sienna
6. Chevrolet Traverse
7. Toyota Tundra
8. GMC Acadia
9. Buick Enclave
10. Toyota Avalon
Not surprisingly, all the vehicles on that top-ten list are built in the U.S., meaning that their distinguishing characteristics are the number of American-made parts they contain and their popularity with shoppers.
Competition on this front will get tougher in the future. Foreign companies like Honda plan to do more of their business stateside, making the question of whether to buy something "made in America" or "made by an American company" increasingly complicated.