If your car was “Made in America,” you may be surprised to learn that the process is more complicated than that.
- Most cars are built with a sticker that notes where they were “made.” This is misleading because a car’s materials aren’t all produced at the same facility. The more accurate question is what percentage of the materials were sourced from American companies, The Street notes.
- American University associate professor Frank DuBois has created an index for measuring how “American Made” a vehicle is based on the profit margin, labor, research and development, and production of individual components.
- He says the highest percentages include the Ford Lincoln Corsair (72%), Tesla Model 3 Long Range (65%), GM Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray (62%), GM Chevrolet Colorado (61%), Fiat Chrysler Jeep Cherokee Latitude 4X4 (72%), and Honda Passport Trailsport (75%).
- The full list is available at The Street.
Why It’s Important
The realities of the modern global economy make it more economical for vehicles not to be entirely produced in-house. This is especially true for complex machines with thousands of moving parts and small components.
Cars are not entirely “Made in America” or “Made in China.” They are comprised of thousands of components sourced worldwide and assembled at a manufacturing plant. This is why used car repairs and new car production slow during economic or political stress, such as the aftermath of 9/11 or the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“Cars do have a sticker that tells you where it’s made, it’s the same big window sticker that lists fuel economy, warranty information, and, of course, manufacturer’s suggested retail price. The parts content information on the sticker includes six pieces of information about the origins of the car’s parts, the final assembly point, and more,” says The Street.
Even for famous American brands like Ford, GM, and Jeep, the higher-end percentages were between 49% to 75% “American Made.” The Tokyo-based Honda produces a number of its cars in the U.S. and Canada and ranks high on the list.
“Like people, cars are a blend of DNA from everywhere,” says Dubois.