By Gary Becker
Those neighbors of yours who drive Fords, Chryslers and Chevrolets and claim they only buy cars made in America and shake their heads in disgust when you drive by in your new Camry are about to eat some crow.
According to a study done by Cars.com the Toyota Camry is the most American made car on the market. That's right; a Japanese car is more American than a Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Malibu or the "Imported from Detroit" Chrysler 300. Cars.com's annual American-Made Index ranks the most-American vehicles based on percentage of their parts that are made by guys named Bo and Billy, where they are assembled and how many are sold to U.S. buyers. nAdd all this up and for the third year in a row the Toyota Camry is the most American car in new car showrooms.
"In today's global economy, there's not an easy way to determine just how American a car is," said Patrick Olsen, Cars.com editor in chief. "Most cars built in the U.S., for example, are assembled using at least some parts that come from somewhere else. Additionally, many U.S. automakers assemble vehicles in Canada and Mexico, while foreign automakers have opened plants on U.S. soil. Our index is another resource that car buyers can use to help guide their purchase decision."
To make that neighbor with the "Made in America" sticker on the back of his new Dodge Charger feel even worse, Toyota has two other vehicles in the Most American list, their Sienna minivan at number six and Tundra pickup in ninth.
"Despite the disaster in Japan, and General Motors usurping Toyota as the world's largest automaker, we're not surprised to see the Camry in the number one position again," said Olsen. "The Camry remains an incredibly popular vehicle, and higher total sales require a higher number of U.S. factory workers and a larger number of U.S. suppliers – all of which contribute to Toyota's ranking."
Chevrolet's new Malibu is Detroit's most American car finishing third on the list followed by Ford's Explorer at four. Chrysler's most American product is the seventh rank Jeep Wrangler.
How about that most American of vehicles, the pickup truck? Chrysler's Ram 1500 pickup did just miss the top ten with 70 percent domestic content but the Chevrolet Silverado has only 61 percent domestic content and the king of pickups, Ford's F-150 has only 60 percent domestic content.
So why is a Toyota on the top of the most American made list? Cost of labor and cost of parts. One of the major reasons is that the foreign car manufactures have been very careful to chose right to work states to build their plants and find their suppliers. Need I say any more?
Rank Make/Model U.S. Assembly Location
1. Toyota Camry - Georgetown, Ky.; Lafayette, Ind.
2. Honda Accord - Marysville, Ohio; Lincoln, Ala.
3. Chevrolet Malibu - Kansas City, Kan.
4. Ford Explorer - Chicago, Ill.
5. Honda Odyssey - Lincoln, Ala.
6. Toyota Sienna - Princeton, Ind.
7. Jeep Wrangler - Toledo, Ohio
8. Chevrolet Traverse - Lansing, Mich.
9. Toyota Tundra - San Antonio, Tex.
10. GMC Acadia - Lansing, Mich.