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Tesla Model 3 is the most American-made car, new study says

Cars.com's annual American Made Index has Tesla topping the chart, though General Motors leads for most models overall.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Performance
The Model 3 is very 'Murican.
Nick Miotke/Roadshow

"Buy American" is something we all hear and see often, but given the global complexities of modern manufacturing, "American-made" can be a tricky thing to discern. That's partly why Cars.com started its annual American Made Index, and with the 2021 edition, it's Tesla that takes the top spot. Specifically, the Tesla Model 3.

Cars.com looks at a handful of factors to calculate just how American-made a particular model is, and the website reckons the Model 3 is practically bleeding red, white and blue. With a Bald Eagle on top. The electric sedan is ranked first as the most American-made car, taking into account assembly location, parts sourcing (logged through the American Automobile Labeling Act), US factory employment and more. It's the first time Tesla topped the list, and the first time an EV took the top spot. 

Tesla actually landed at the third spot on the list, too, with the Model Y electric SUV. In second place is the Ford Mustang, which marks its first showing on the AMI since Cars.com first started recording data. The Jeep Cherokee and Chevrolet Corvette round out the top five before Honda fills out the rest of the list with a slew of vehicles. Toyota claims the 10th and final spot with the Tundra pickup.

The cars listed are simply the most American-made models, however. The flip side to looking at this is by automaker, and in that regard, General Motors is on top. Of the 344 vehicle models on sale for 2021, GM's portfolio led the way as a whole with 19 models placing on the list. Honda followed in second with 13 models, then Toyota with 12 and Ford with 11 ranking on the AMI.

The study showed buying American continues to sway buyers in their vehicle purchasing decisions, too. According to Cars.com's research, 72% of shoppers "consider a car's US economic impact a significant or deciding factor in their vehicle purchase." The figure's up 2% from the 2020 AMI research. Twenty-nine percent of shoppers told the website it's "unpatriotic" to buy a vehicle built outside of the US.

Top 10 Most American Made Cars

Rank Make and model US assembly location
1 Tesla Model 3 Fremont, California
2 Ford Mustang Flat Rock, Michigan
3 Tesla Model Y Fremont, California
4 Jeep Cherokee Belvidere, Illinois
5 Chevrolet Corvette Bowling Green, Kentucky
6 Honda Ridgeline Lincoln, Alabama
7 Honda Odyssey Lincoln, Alabama
8 Honda Pilot Lincoln, Alabama
9 Honda Passport Lincoln, Alabama
10 Toyota Tundra San Antonio, Texas