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The definition of what makes a car "Made in America" is always up for debate. Nevertheless, Cars.com takes a stab at determining the Top 10 vehicles made in America every six months with its American-Made Index. Vehicles that make the list are judged on three criteria: sales numbers, domestic parts content (DPC) and the location of their assembly. Only vehicles built inside our borders with a domestic parts content above 75% are eligible, and the more domestic parts the better.
You would expect vehicles like the Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado to rank high on the list, and they do grabbing the No. 1 and 3 spots, respectively. The Dodge Ram, however, was not eligible because its domestic parts content is less than 75%. The Toyota Tundra, meanwhile, improved from 10th place to 4th place thanks to higher sales and a DPC that increased to 80% for the 2008 model.

What's more interesting, however, are the models that fell off the list, which include the Toyota Camry and Ford Focus. In the past, the Camry often occupied the No. 2 position on the AMI. The two-door Camry Solara, however, sales for which are grouped together with the sedan, saw its DPC drop to 65% for the 2008 model, thus making the Camry itself ineligible. The new 2008 Focus, meanwhile, carries a DPC rating now of 65%, again below the threshold of eligibility.

When representatives from both Toyota and Ford were asked by Cars.com about the parts content of these vehicles and why it changed, neither could give a definitive answer, but we can say what they can't. The fact is that automakers have to buy components from suppliers that meet their needs, which includes a good price. They're free to shop around the world for those components, not just in the Stars and Stripes section of the store. So while interesting, this list shouldn't be regarded as casting judgment on any particular vehicle for its DPC unless you believe that every vehicle sold in the U.S. should be built in the U.S. using components from the U.S. Now that's not very realistic, is it?

[Source: Cars.com, Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Global economy is just a phrase that " economist " use. The world is already divided into trade blocks. In Europe, they tell you how much of the market Asia can have and how much North America can have. Up until NAFTA, Canada and Mexico had auto content laws. The big three were bound by these laws. The people that could care less about where a vehicle is made need to look first at there own country and look at how that dollar spent affects those around us. Toyota still imports about 80% of there vehicles and most of the suppliers they us were brought with them from Japan. Thus "made in America". I had a similar discussion in the early 80's and the gentleman always countered with, the competition will keep cost down. Anyone see vehicle prices go down lately? I read somewhere that 1% of the US auto market affects 20,000 people. We have lost 200,000 auto jobs the last ten years, In 2000 there were 267 different types of vehicles, today there are over 350. Couple this with a weak dollar and health care cost that are rising daily....sounds like a lack of leadership. Just some food for thought....
      • 7 Years Ago
      Over the last several years we have gone from a fairly closed domestic market, to the other end of the spectrum where it is difficult to find domestically manufactured goods.

      Years ago when 'free trade' was introduced, I was all for reaping the benefits of competition. However, as time has passed, it’s difficult to find many items not produced in China, India, Vietnam, etc. Not only that, but while other countries have cheaper labor cost, their labor conditions, environmental regulations (if any), worker safety, etc. all combine to make it an uneven playing field.

      And what about the human and social costs ... plant closures have been killing towns, suppressing domestic wages, and produce terrible hardships for our workers and their families.

      For many years I was an avid Republican and fully supported free trade.... now I see the its consequences and think that 'free trade' no doubt has lowered prices, but now ask myself at what economic and human suffering costs have we achieved this?

      As we have moved more and more from a manufacturing economy to a service economy, average wages have declined. And unemployment rates do not truly reflect what is going on with our economy. The bulk of the new jobs being created pay lower wages.

      Reason dictates that some room for compromise not only exits, but is absolutely needed for America's long term growth and stability. Since we can not dictate other countries' domestic work conditions, we should pass our own laws that help protect our domestic manufacturing.

      Lastly, I am not a bleeding liberal or 'isolated' educator. I'm an engineer and trained in logical thought. And I certainly do not advocate spending as a solution to all our problems. I would, however, be willing to pay a reasonable price to achieve domestic economic balance.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Won't we see this flip in a few years as foreign automakers see the decline of the dollar as an incentive to locate their plants for parts here? Talk about a reversal...
      • 7 Years Ago
      SamKochel said, "The whole made in America thing is so silly in our global economy to some extent and even more so if currency is allowed to float. We buy things in dollars, dollars come back...big circle. However, I too am concerned with American engineering jobs and technical jobs being lost to gaining economies in India, Ireland, China, etc... "

      And what about all the people who have lost their blue collar jobs because the company decided it was cheaper to move their manufacturing operations out of the country? Yes, profits need to stay here but so do the jobs both white collar and blue collar.
      • 7 Years Ago
      as an average american, when i purchase a vehicle i consider many other things other than where the profits go. value for the money, the interest rates, my monthly payment, proximity of dealership to my home, reliability and safety of the vehicle, fuel economics, and so forth. yes, i would prefer to buy american, but if i have specific needs such as 4 wheel drive versus 2 wheel etc.. i have to go with what i need and in my price range. i cant consider who gets the profits, when i need to consider what serves my purpose the best. i have owned dodge, ford, chevy, and volkswagen in my life. it is what suits my needs at that time, not who gets the profits.if an american company makes what i need, then that is even better.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They lumped the Camry and Solara together and it fell off the list. Ok..., but if they were to lump the Escape together with the Escape Hybrid it would probably be gone too since Aisin produces the powerplants.

      Just seems to be inconsistent.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So go ahead, spend your precious time in finding the good of determining the origin of cars contents, profit distribution and world, peace.
      I will continue to focus on price, financing, fuel consumption, reliability, comfort, design and (I'm sorry for being so selfish), how "it" benefits me. Any other demagogery, is flat wasted.
      Got to go, I am looking for another web site to express my opinion in patriotism, global warming, and societal issues.
      tom noel
      • 7 Years Ago
      buy american from union workers and let their retirees live like kings and all free medical ins, i know im one of them
      • 7 Years Ago
      I find it ironic that there are people out there in this country that say that they only buy American cars because it's built by Americans when, in truth, while the "big three" automakers are all closing their factories here and building new factories in Mexico and Asia, foreign car companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, BMW, and Mercedes are all building factories here and employing.... Americans!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hello out there: Here are a few facts. Less than 10% of all american motorists know that there are camshafts and or connecting rods in their engine.

      Of the few that do know, even fewer care where the raw materials comes from.

      When the "stupid" people buy a car, they do so because the saw it and liked it, or someone recommended it to them, or they got a great deal on it.

      In certain regions, they buy trucks whether they need a truck or not, because cars are for latte sippin' pantywaists and for the "little woman". However if any these guys do own a car you can bet it has a "Big Block" or a Hemi or a LS* motor in it. Hell some people even buy certain makes of cars because that is the only dealership around.

      In other words, people are not really that sophisticated.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No kidding the Ford Focus was in Europe first. They brought it over here because it did well in Europe Ford needed to sell something to turn them around.

      Over in Europe they have turbo version and AWD version of the Ford Focus.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The value of the dollar is important in the economics of building anything in America. But production set up and shipping are not fast enough to respond quickly. The most dangerous trend for America is not the loss of manufacturing jobs, but the higher paying jobs of the skilled and educated. GM has just built a Tech center in India because they can hire 4 engineers in India for the cost of 1 in the U.S. I’m sure this is just the beginning. Soon the only people working in the U.S. will be entertainers, athletes, food/restaurant workers and Wal-Mart employees. Better start practicing… “Welcome to Wal-Mart”.
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