The world is a complicated place, and that maxim also trickles down to the automotive industry. People like to "vote with their dollar" but doing so can be tricky with so many traditionally American manufacturers producing their vehicles overseas and so many foreign automakers building their US-market vehicles right here in the USA.
So, what are you -- as a consumer -- supposed to do if you want to buy American? Maybe, more importantly, which vehicle can you buy that will have the most significant positive impact on the American economy? These are serious questions, but the folks from Cars.com decided to crunch a lot of numbers and get to the bottom of it, and it published the results on Tuesday.
Cars.com's 15 most American vehicles
|Rank||Make/Model||U.S. Assembly Plant Location(s)|
|1||Jeep Cherokee||Belvidere, Ill.|
|2||Honda Odyssey||Lincoln, Ala.|
|3||Honda Ridgeline||Lincoln, Ala.|
|4||Honda Passport||Lincoln, Ala.|
|5||Chevrolet Corvette||Bowling Green, Ky.|
|6||Acura MDX (excludes hybrid variants)||East Liberty, Ohio|
|7||Honda Pilot||Lincoln, Ala.|
|8||Chevrolet Colorado||Wentzville, Mo.|
|9||GMC Canyon||Wentzville, Mo.|
|10||Acura RDX||East Liberty, Ohio|
|11||Chevrolet Camaro||Lansing, Mich.|
|12||Toyota Avalon (excludes hybrid variants)||Georgetown, Ky.|
|13||Ford F-150||Claycomo, Mo., and Dearborn, Mich.|
|14||Honda Accord (excludes hybrid variants)||Marysville, Ohio|
|15||Toyota Tundra||San Antonio, Texas|
At the end of all its research, Cars.com came up with a list of the 15 most American vehicles that a consumer can purchase. Now, thankfully this isn't a list of the "Most 'Merican cars" because that would just be a bunch of pictures of people in Firebirds doing burnouts in front of Dairy Queen.
Topping out the Cars.com list for 2019 is the Jeep Cherokee. It's screwed together in Belvidere, Illinois out of lots of American-made and sourced parts. We like the Cherokee because it's more capable off-road than most compact crossover SUVs, and it's got a simple-to-use infotainment system. Now you can like it because it contributes the most to the US economy.
The next three vehicles on the list come from Japanese manufacturers -- or, if you want to get specific, one Japanese manufacturer. This makes sense because Honda was an early participant in the rise of SUVs and minivans in the US and America's "Chicken Tax" made importing these vehicles from the home market wildly unfeasible financially.
Rounding out the top five is America's sports car, the Chevrolet Corvette. The 'Vette has been built in Bowling Green, Kentucky since time immemorial and will likely continue to be so for eons to come, even with the engine living behind the driver instead of in front of them. The Corvette has always been something of an oddity in US manufacturing with its extremely early adoption of fiberglass construction, and that's helped to keep things close to home.
What you won't see on Cars.com's list are any European manufacturers. Why is that? It's not for lack of US vehicle production. BMW's plant in Spartanburg is massive, as is Mercedes-Benz' plant in Alabama. Volvo has a new US facility too; our own Andrew Krok has even been there. The key to their not making the list likely lies in the smaller sales volume they achieve (being luxury brands) and a lower percentage of American parts.
So, if you're out car shopping and you're feeling particularly patriotic, don't forget to check out what your friendly local Honda and Toyota dealers have on the lot, in addition to the usual domestic suspects.