What does it mean to be an American-made vehicle? I’ve gotten into this circular argument before. If you’re a foreign company but make your product in America with the American workforce does that disqualify you?
I’ve heard that argument before and I reject it.
For 16 years, Cars.com has done their American-Made Index (AMI) and is recognized as the industry leader in this type of ranking. For 2021, the Ford Mustang jumps 32 spots from last year’s ranking to number two overall trailing only the Tesla Model 3.
This was the second time Tesla has qualified under Cars.com’s criteria and the California-based electric vehicle manufacturer lands two vehicles in the top 3. The Tesla Model 3 occupied the top spot and the Tesla Model Y was ranked third.
It’s ironic that the Model Y ranks just behind the Ford Mustang, since the Mustang Mach-E (which wasn’t eligible for inclusion in this) is the main rival to the Model Y.
What are the most American-made vehicles?
Here is the top 10 list, according to Cars.com’s AMI ranking:
1. Tesla Model 3
2. Ford Mustang
3. Tesla Model Y
4. Jeep Cherokee
5. Chevrolet Corvette
6. Honda Ridgeline
7. Honda Odyssey
8. Honda Pilot
9. Honda Passport
10. Toyota Tundra
The Ford Expedition was number 11 on this list and is the second most American-made vehicle from the Blue Oval. Other Ford nameplates that made the top 50 are Ford Ranger (28), Ford F-150 (29), Ford F-150 Hybrid (43) and Ford Explorer (44).
Ford Mustang at Flat Rock Assembly
In 2018 the 10 millionth Mustang assembled at the Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan rolled off the line. It was a 460-horsepower 2019 Wimbledon White GT V8 six-speed convertible. Flat Rock is tied historically to the iconic Mustang, so it’s quite an honor that the Mustang climbed 32 spots on Cars.com’s AMI list.
According to the report: “The Ford Mustang landed at No. 2 after jumping 32 spots from the 2020 index, in part due to substantially higher U.S. and Canadian parts content and bolstered domestic credentials for its available engines and transmissions.”
How Cars.com determines the most American-made vehicles
Now in its 16th year, Cars.com’s American-Made Index ranks vehicles built and bought in the U.S. for the 2021 model year. According to the entire report they consider five major factors:
• Location(s) of final assembly
• Percentage of U.S. (and Canadian) parts
• Countries of origin for all available engines
• Countries of origin for all available transmissions
• U.S. manufacturing workforce
As sited in the full report, “While we don’t reveal the weighting and calculation methodology, all five factors above play a significant role, as do a number of disqualifiers we’ll break out below. Models are ranked on a 100-point scale, with heavier curb weights functioning as a tiebreaker when necessary.”
The ranking in its entirety totals 90 vehicles. But, according to Cars.com there 254 other vehicles that were not ranked or included for various reasons.
“By AMI methodology, automakers sell — or plan to sell — 344 distinct light-duty models in the U.S. for the 2021 model year. Among that group, 223 models are entirely imported; 109 models are entirely built in the U.S.; and 12 models straddle the line, with some sales from American-built models and some from imports,” according to the report.
Read the entire story here and see all the qualifications and the disqualifications too.
What do you think qualifies as American-made? Does the company have to be based in America? What do you think about Tesla being on this list? Leave me your comments below.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.