By on July 3, 2013
Topyota Avalon - Picture courtesy Toyota

Red Avalon – now with extra white and blue

Very few car buying decisions are guided by patriotic motivations. And the few there are, are rarely supported by hard data. Which spares us embarrassing moments. “Many of the ‘most American’ cars on dealership lots today are made by Japanese automakers,” says Edmunds. ”The most American sedan, for example, is Toyota Avalon, and the most American hatchback is Honda Crosstour.”

Most American Vehicles
Category Vehicle Local Content*
Sedans Toyota Avalon 80%
SUV/Crossovers Ford Expedition 80%
Minivans Dodge Grand Caravan 80%
Hatchbacks Honda Crosstour 75%
Trucks Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra 75%
Convertibles Chrysler 200 74%
Coupes Chevrolet Camaro 71%
Wagons Cadillac CTS Wagon, Toyota Venza 65%
* Percentage of U.S./Canadian content based on information reported by carmakers to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA).

This is a list of the “most American cars” by segment, using – your tax dollars at work – the definition set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and that of the American Automobile Labeling Act. Under which, by the way, a car would be pure American if it is built from 100% Canadian parts.

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64 Comments on “Meet The Most American Sedan: The Toyota Avalon...”

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    “Under which, by the way, a car would be pure American if it is built from 100% Canadian parts.”

    Makes sense. Canada is really just a large, friendlier, metric US state after all, right? :)

  • avatar

    Would a 100% made in Mexico count as All American as well???

  • avatar

    I’d be curious to see this same metric for cars produced in China, Germany & Japan.

    • 0 avatar

      Congress requires the NHTSA to compile country of assembly and parts content data for both foreign and domestic vehicles. The data is accessible here:

  • avatar

    The idea of keeping an American car “All American” has been lost years ago. Kind of like those stickers you used to see on the air cleaner that said “Keep your GM car all GM”. Bottom line is that this is a global industry. So buy what you like for the reasons you like. Just spare us the “it’s foreign so it has to be better” crap.

  • avatar

    Ah, North Michigan, North Washington, North New York, and North North Dakota. Such wonderful pseudo-states.

  • avatar

    It’s not where they make them or what they make them with, it’s where the company is based, where they’re engineered and designed. It’s also where the profits go if they succeed. If they don’t, it’s where they file bankruptcy

    • 0 avatar

      It’s really hard to say where the profits go for publicly traded companies. Best bet would be not to go IPO. But too late for GM now. Wait for the next bankruptcy, and make sure GM is owned by the US of A forever.

    • 0 avatar

      A typical argument, but it doesn’t really seem that way. The bulk of the money that goes into a car is the production cost, profit is a smaller portion.

      So what you are saying is you would rather see your dollar go to dividends paid to shareholders and big executive bonuses via local “headquarters” rather than putting your neighbors to work via “local assembly”.

    • 0 avatar

      The part of salaries in the added value of any company being in the 50-80% range, I’d definitely say that this is the most important factor in judging citizenship of a company: it’s where most money of the company go to citizens.

      The profits from a US-based company can very well be foreign-owned, adding to the irony of your definition…

  • avatar

    I always hate it when people say “buy American. If not, than you don’t support America”
    Personally I believe if one wants to be patriotic, then they should support the company that actually builds their cars in America. Support the hard working American that is doing the Labor.
    So in response to the people who drive “so called American cars” that are built some place else, You’re not being patriotic, You support corporate greed. You rather support the CEO that files bankruptcy when he’s not making enough billions than the hard working American that could loose his job if the local auto plant closes.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    That’s what I’ve been telling people…especially the die-hard domestic lovers. It’s getting to the point where the only truly American cars by Chrysler, Ford and GM will be their large trucks…

  • avatar

    Yet that Avalon isn’t welcome to park in a UAW lot, and neither is a union-built Korean Hyundai. Which proves the UAW isn’t about America or solidarity; it’s really about political and financial power.

    • 0 avatar

      As I frequent the Detroit area with its rabid UAW supporters, I see bumper stickers and signs that proclaim buy American or Union. Having been a member in 2 unions-and shop steward in one- it is my preference to buy “non-union”. That statement and my vehicle choices have led to some heated discussions with my union friends.

    • 0 avatar

      I have never been hassled by any UAW members or “thugs” in the Detroit area. I often go to union-shop automotive suppliers for work. Until recently, this was done with a VW GTI. No one has ever said anything negative to me about the car.

      My friend is an engineer for the company that makes all the struts for the Ford C-platform vehicles. He drives an Audi, and no one in Wayne, Louisville, or Monroe sprews hate towards him.

      I know people that work for the Big 3 that drive non Big 3 vehicles to work. Some are union members, some are management. Generally, people don’t have time for that crap that you speak of anymore. Among friends there will always be heated discussions. Everyone has their own politics.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, when I worked for a supplier back in the 90s I would occasionally drive my wife’s Toyota to Wayne Assy., Saline, Rawsonville etc. without any hassles.

  • avatar

    Allpar had an interesting post on this where they claim the Avenger as the most american

  • avatar

    Ah, but where do the profits from that Avalon end up? To a mostly feudal corporation where women are tea-servers, the handicapped are an embarrassment and homosexuality doesn’t even exist. So American, yes? I’ll spend my money in support of my values – which include equal treatment for women and homosexuals and reasonable access for the disabled, and I’ll get a perfectly-good car in the deal. Sorry, Toyota, but your “most American” status is a sham.

    • 0 avatar

      Toyota is a feudal corporation?

    • 0 avatar

      Japanese women are not all tea-servers.

      My oldest son is married to a 51-year old native-Japanese lady who is VP of one of Japan’s largest banks in the US, based in the Los Angeles, CA area.

      She got her MBA at Harvard.

    • 0 avatar

      Methinks your impression of Japan is a little bit out of date.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree with that assessment. The last time I was in Japan (2007) to visit my oldest son working there, I was highly impressed by women in high positions throughout Japanese society and the fluency with which they all spoke English.

        Not surprisingly. Many of them got their advanced Degrees in the US.

        I am sure that there are many Japanese women and girls not afforded these opportunities in Japanese society, but I was impressed by the sheer number of women in the workforce.

        Prior to that, my last visit was in 1967 when I was on R&R from Viet Nam, at Camp Zama, by way of Tachikawa AB and Yokosuka Naval Base. Things have changed beaucoup since those days. Let me tell ya!

        The only thing not changed I found was the display of courtesy by bending at the waist when exchanging greetings. I had to get my cane out for support after the first day. A memorable token of my tour in Viet Nam.

        • 0 avatar

          “Prior to that, my last visit was in 1967 when I was on R&R from Viet Nam, at Camp Zama, by way of Tachikawa AB and Yokosuka Naval Base. Things have changed beaucoup since those days. Let me tell ya!”

          I was based at NAS Atsugi during the same time-frame. We used to hold our Xmas parties at the Camp Zama club. Good times!

          • 0 avatar

            jimmy2x, it is a small world indeed!

            My oldest son was stationed at Camp Hansen/Futenma MCAS on Oki until his release from AD and from there he went directly to Shinjuku to accept the job offer from the bank.

            So for me, when I went to visit him (Space A) it was memories of very good times, indeed!

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      Not agreeing with what he wrote…but pretty sure he’s referencing things like this:

      HDC..your daughter-in-law works in America…not Japan.

      • 0 avatar

        sunridge place, for your edification:

        My son married the Japanese lady in 2007 while he was working for a Japanese bank in Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, where she was VP and he was a VP.

        In 2008 they were offered the jobs they currently hold at the Long Beach, CA arm, both as VP of different divisions. My son is a natural-born American citizen. His wife is a Japanese citizen and has no interest in ever becoming an American citizen because the benefits she worked for and has earned in Japan are far greater than she could ever hope to get in America (plus her parents are still alive and live in Japan).

        It doesn’t matter that she works in America now. She got her status and position at the bank while in Japan. She is merely doing a 5-8 year tour of duty in America.

        I suspect their next assignment may be Africa or South America, until she retires at which time she and my son will move to Japan and live there.

        There is talk about buying property in Hawaii as a second residence so that they can spend time between both Japan and Hawaii.

        • 0 avatar

          It sounds like he’s had an impressively fulfilling life.

          Don’t let the ignorance get to you. :)

          • 0 avatar

            It doesn’t. We don’t all share the same life experiences and I give most people the benefit of the doubt.

            I am certain that many different people have had many other experiences I never had and they know a lot about other things of which I know nothing.

            That’s why I am so very careful to only address the things I actually know something about when I choose to make a comment.

            BTW, speaking of a fulfilling life, after graduation from 4-year college in Las Cruces, NM, he became a Marine Corps Infantry Officer, served four years in such exotic places as Iraq and Kuwait during Gulf War I, then got out and got this job offer with this bank since he had earned an MBA by then.

            US MBAs are highly desired overseas, and the pay ain’t too shabby either.

          • 0 avatar

            Let’s not be too hard on the comment because of misguided assumptions. Wanting to support companies who have maintained good equal opportunity track records is an admirable standard to hold oneself to. It would be difficult to imagine the conditions in which a lot of the things we consume were made. Perhaps even more difficult to continue to use those products if we really knew

    • 0 avatar

      “women are tea-servers”
      Someones has to serve the tea… do you have a better idea?

      “the handicapped are an embarrassment”
      Everyone treated me with extreme respect, and I was language “handicapped” when I went.

      “Homosexuality doesn’t exist”
      This is interesting, because I got hit on by a man (I’m assuming he was gay) without the slightest provocation or indication on my part while I was at a Japanese coffee house.

      After actually going to Japan and spending several months there, I can tell you that nothing could be further from the truth.

    • 0 avatar

      Take a look at the list of Toyotas top ten largest shareholders. Two of them have US addresses. It’s also possible that there is some US ownership of some of the Japanese entities in the list. So, it’s difficult to say where the money goes, but there seems to be a fairly large chunk going back to the US.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      Indeed? There are a few Japanese girls I would like to introduce you to. They may attempt to force feed you the tea cup when you spurn their hospitality with such remarks though…

    • 0 avatar

      Alexndr333, I regret to inform you that your boss is gay. It might behoove you to display better manners in the future.

  • avatar

    Who ever coined the phrase “Partiotism is the Last Refuge of a Scoundrel” must have had the US auto industry in mind.

    It’s only a sight (if any) exageration that you are more likely to find a US built car in a Toyota, Nissan or Honda dealer than a GM, Ford or Chrysler dealer.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Yet another reason for GM/Chevrolet to drop the stupid “heritage” ad campaign . . at least in the U.S. and Canada.

  • avatar

    No V8?

    That ain’t Murican’

    If you brought an American through time from the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s or 80’s which would he choose?

    Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger/ Charger.


  • avatar

    who cares where it was simply assembled? it’s the corporate, design and R
    &D base of origin that matters.

    • 0 avatar

      Since no one else has mentioned this, many foreign automakers have or had design studios in the US.

      • 0 avatar

        Ok, that would include Mercedes in Alabama and BMW in South Carolina where they do manufacturing, research and design, so does that make them American car companies or does it make them German car companies who have operations in the US?

        • 0 avatar

          JD-Shifty does have a good point imo. Design and R&D are the high value added and skilled parts of the business. Corporate? Well, when they screw up, it’s going to be game over after a couple of product cycles.

          • 0 avatar

            The R&D locations are probably even harder to track than parts content. Does anyone commenting here even know what the proportion of price paid for a car R&D is.

            Not that it doesn’t matter but I’m pretty sure the bulk of the cost of a car is simply to make it and put it together. Local assembly is a whole lot of dollars in the pockets of your fellow Americans.

  • avatar

    Also where are the parts sourced, and where are the main components like engine, trans, diff, etc made? doesn’t do us much good if the Japanese or others only use their own sources.

    • 0 avatar

      Most parts are sourced from local companies around the assembly plants. Those local suppliers produce the bulk of the employment, not the assembly plants themselves, and the suppliers need to produce for multiple companies to survive. That’s why Ford, Toyota and Nissan, among others, opposed liquidation of both GM and Chrysler – their own suppliers would go bankrupt too, putting them all out of business, not just GM and Chrysler.

  • avatar

    His assumption is not really that misguided. Japan ranks well behind that of most of the developed world in female empowerement. Japanese women hold few high paying jobs, less of them work, and few of them are involved in government to fix this.

    “Japan placed 42nd among 75 nations, just ahead of Macedonia, in the United Nations’s Development Program’s “gender empowerment measure,” an index of female participation in a nation’s economy and politics, in 2006.”

    “In November 2011, Kyodo reported: “The level of political empowerment of Japanese women is more than two times lower than the world average, according to a report on gender equality released the World Economic Forum in November 2011. The influence that Japanese women wield over political decision-making processes is only 7.2 percent of the level of their male counterparts, against a world average of 18.5 percent, according to the forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2011. [Source: Mainichi Japan, Kyodo, November 2, 2011] ”

    “Japan ranks 101 out of the 135 countries covered by the report. Commenting on the low level of representation of women at the ministerial and parliamentary levels worldwide, WEF Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab said in the report, “A system where women are not represented at the highest levels is both an unequal and an inefficient system.” From a more general perspective on gender equality, the forum’s Gender Gap Index for 2011 put Japan in 98th position. The index includes economic, educational and health-related considerations in addition to political empowerment.”

    I get that this site has alot of Japanese car fans. Put Japan itself is highly sexist and xenophobic. Its not even an argument. At least legally the Japanese women have rights though. It’s not like Saudi Arabia where you wife is legally your property. Luckily we don’t buy alot of oil from the Saudi’s anymore..

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      I’m not going to claim there aren’t some stone-age attitudes in Japan, because there are. But they are hardly universal. Much like in North America, such views are the purview of particular groups of idiots. Among post-boomer Japanese, and among knowledge and medical indstries things are rather different.

      The main blame politically would lie with the Liberal Democratic Party, Japan’s conserative party which could be best described as a bunch of wilfully-ignorant trogledytes. But most people with ethics and intelligence don’t get involved with politics, so it just may be greater scruples on the part of women.

      • 0 avatar

        Holy crap… I was once eviscerated by the female Japanese founder of one of the largest tech translation companies. They offered me a job completely outside my expertise, I told them no, they continued to cajole. I said OK, I’ll try but will defer to anyone more competent they might find while I work on it and if I couldn’t do it I’d tell them two weeks before the deadline. But this arrangement was made with a secretary, not boss-lady herself.

        I wanted in this agency like I wanted my next breath so I spent three days in a medical library trying to come up to speed with the basic concepts and jargon, sufficient to convince me that I had no more chance than a Kardashian of delivering a professional result. I duly and immediately informed the agency, sucked up the disappointment and moved on.

        Two days later shachou Herself called me and I got the most acerbic tongue lashing of my life from someone I needed to impress. All my warnings and provisos to the secretary meant nothing, I had let the agency down and had “no right to hang out your shingle”. Needless to say, they never again called me.

        1)Never conclude important agreements solely with subordinates no matter how remote and intimidating the boss may be.

        2)Anyone who thinks Japanese women are downtrodden, meek, fluttering little things has never crossed one, particularly a successful professional.

  • avatar

    Back in the early seventies, I became a parts person in a Datsun dealership. From there it was all imports. I remember the complaints and flag waving from the big three.
    I’m still in parts, but now with a GM dealer. More and more of our stuff comes from off shore. It doesn’t make it better or worse, but to call our cars American would be a laugh.
    A few years ago I took a tour around the shop at the end of the day. There was a Tahoe, a Suburban, a couple of Sierras or Silverados, a Toyota Corolla, Chevy Sprint, Honda Civic, and a Tracker.
    I live in Canada. Guess what vehicles were built in Canada. All the ones you would have called imported. All the so-called domestic ones were built in Mexico.
    It’s a truly changing world.

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