The Most 'American Made' Automobiles You Can Buy in 2019
While they’re typically a little older than the first time car buyers that usually approach me for advice, there is a subset of individuals that tell me they want to ensure their vehicle is American Made™ and supports the hard working men from country they love. Unfortunately, this usually occurs at the tail of our conversation. We’ve got a price in mind, narrowed down the segment, and are now circling a handful of models they might actually be happy owning. Then they hit me with the regional curveball.
It’s not easy deciding what qualifies as truly American. Sure, I could just rattle off a list of vehicles built inside the United States — and am sometimes forced to — but that doesn’t take into account the multitude of components comprising each model. Such a task would be a monumental undertaking and these discussions usually take place at a drinking establishment, where I’m inclined to get drunk distracted.
Fortunately, Cars.com does an annual rundown of the “most-American” vehicles currently in production with its American-Made Index (AMI) — leaving few stones unturned in its year-long quest for answers.
For the second consecutive year, the Jeep Cherokee took top honors. In fact, most of 2019’s honorees have previously appeared within the 2018 American-Made Index.
“Built with U.S.-sourced engines and transmissions in Belvidere, [Illinois], the Cherokee is the index’s top vehicle for the second year in a row. It also gives FCA the top slot for three years running, as the Jeep Wrangler topped the index in 2017,” the outlet proclaimed.
More familiar faces came in behind the Cherokee, all of them from Honda. The Alabama-baed Odyssey minivan and Ridgeline pickup maintained 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, while the returning (non-Isuzu) Passport took 4th. Honda’s Pilot, which also comes to us via Lincoln, AL, benefited from its physical relationship with the those higher up the list. It occupied the number 7 spot.
Honda wasn’t done, however. Acura’s MDX achieved 6th overall while the RDX squeaked by in 10th place. Both are currently assembled in East Liberty, OH, and use American manufactured powertrains.
Bowling Green’s pride and joy, the Kentucky-fried Chevrolet’s Corvette, took 5th place. General Motors’ only other top 10 entrant was the GMC Canyon/Chevrolet Colorado — sourced from Wentzville, MO.
The general takeaway from this year’s index is that the situation doesn’t appear to have changed much over the last 12 months. Two of the vehicles that qualified in 2018, and didn’t appear for 2019 (Chevy Volt and Ford Taurus), were simply discontinued. Other previous winners were moved down the list but still managed to achieve an evincible place within the American-Made Index. For example, the Ford F-150 held 8th place last year and now rests at 13th.
“We’ve long wondered if the trade landscape would alter the AMI, but what might be surprising about the 2019 index is how little things have changed,” Cars.com explained. “Tensions have reached fever pitch as new duties aim at specific countries or materials, yet the number of models automakers build in the U.S. — and the percentage of cars Americans buy that are domestically built — remain similar today to what they were a year ago.”
For more details on the study and the vehicles mentioned in it, check out the complete 2019 American-Made Index.
[Images: FCA; Honda; Cars.com]
A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.
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