By on June 27, 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, 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,” 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;]

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37 Comments on “The Most ‘American Made’ Automobiles You Can Buy in 2019...”

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Nice to see that several Japanese automakers are represented here.

    No Europeans, though.

    • 0 avatar

      Seems ironic, 9 of top 15 in the survey are manufacturers from what we use to call “those rice-burner firms”.

      • 0 avatar

        Yup, they beat us at our own game, using our rules, providing a better-made, more-durable, longer-lasting product, made right cheer in ‘murica.

        • 0 avatar
          Peter Gazis


          And we are getting 2 more foreign car factories in North America this year.
          a BMW factory in Taluca Mexico- building the 3 series and 5 series
          – and –
          a Toyota factory in Gaujanto Mexico- building more Tacomas

          • 0 avatar

            Peter Gazis, I heard.

            I had hoped that Toyota would choose the right-to-work states in the US South to open that factory but with all the turmoil brought on by the UAW trying to unionize VW and other automakers in the US, Toyota’s decision seems better for Toyota and the Mexicans.

            I don’t think that Mexico is considered “North America” since Mexicans refer to Americans and Canadians as “Norte Americanos”.

            In any case, the Tacoma should remain a best seller for quite a while in view of such an investment.

            I know my youngest son sure LOVES his 2016 Tacoma but I never understood why Toyota didn’t put REAR disc brakes on that truck.

          • 0 avatar

            “BMW factory in Taluca Mexico- building the 3 series and 5 series
            – and –
            a Toyota factory in Gaujanto Mexico- building more Tacomas”

            All three high margin, and two very expensive, products. But don’t worry Juan Valdez is on it and you will pay a *very* high premium because we pay him $2/hour.

            Things are way out of whack in this society, the corporatocracy has gone way too far.

            Emperor Alexander II *freed the Russian serfs* and they still threw a bomb at him.

            How about lobbing a couple of grenades down Wall Street? Why has this not happened?

            Why is it we live in an age of Lex Luthor-esqe billionaires in an economy which in reality is a bankruptcy masked by liquidity, and there seem to be NO indignant peasants finally saying, I’ve had enough and I’m not going to take it anymore?

            Instead we have ever higher suicide rates.

            ***Where the f*** are you Gavrilo Princip?***

            Save us Fanny Kaplan, you’re our only hope.


            “A young member of the Narodnaya Volya (“People’s Will”) movement, Nikolai Rysakov,[37] was carrying a small white package wrapped in a handkerchief. He later said of his attempt to kill the Tsar:

            After a moment’s hesitation I threw the bomb. I sent it under the horses’ hooves in the supposition that it would blow up under the carriage… The explosion knocked me into the fence.[50]

            The explosion, while killing one of the Cossacks and seriously wounding the driver and people on the sidewalk,[37] had only damaged the bulletproof carriage, a gift from Napoleon III of France. The emperor emerged shaken but unhurt.[37] Rysakov was captured almost immediately. Police Chief Dvorzhitsky heard Rysakov shout out to someone else in the gathering crowd. The surrounding guards and the Cossacks urged the emperor to leave the area at once rather than being shown the site of the explosion.

            Nevertheless, a second young member of the Narodnaya Volya, Ignacy Hryniewiecki,[37] standing by the canal fence, raised both arms and threw something at the emperor’s feet. He was alleged to have shouted, “It is too early to thank God”.[51] Dvorzhitsky was later to write:

            I was deafened by the new explosion, burned, wounded and thrown to the ground. Suddenly, amid the smoke and snowy fog, I heard His Majesty’s weak voice cry, ‘Help!’ Gathering what strength I had, I jumped up and rushed to the emperor. His Majesty was half-lying, half-sitting, leaning on his right arm. Thinking he was merely wounded heavily, I tried to lift him but the czar’s legs were shattered, and the blood poured out of them. Twenty people, with wounds of varying degree, lay on the sidewalk and on the street. Some managed to stand, others to crawl, still others tried to get out from beneath bodies that had fallen on them. Through the snow, debris, and blood you could see fragments of clothing, epaulets, sabres, and bloody chunks of human flesh.[52]”


          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            @hdc they did…Toyota has broken ground on a plant in Huntsville, AL. Corolla I believe.

    • 0 avatar

      Might not be enough volume.

    • 0 avatar

      “No Europeans, though.”

      Right, FCA is an American company through and through.

      • 0 avatar

        It is, pretty much. Fiat is dead here, so is Lancia, Maserati is low production, as is Alfa. Fiat would be a bankrupt Italian company without Chrysler. Without Sergio, the American management has a better voice under Englishman Mike Manley. Even the scion of the Agnelli family, Chairman John Elkann, was born in New York City. Most of the rest of the Agnelli family is spread out, far from Italy.

        The Agnelli holding company owns only about 30% of the stock, but enough for a controlling interest. Institutional investors hold most of the rest. Do you judge a company by the stock ownership, or where it trades, or where it’s incorporated?

        Walter Chrysler incorporated in Delaware, but it was part of the “Detroit” automakers. Bottom line, two thirds of FCA’s global revenue is from North America, produced by two thirds of total vehicle production. It’s global manufacturing headquarters is in Chrysler’s old Auburn Hills headquarters.

        Technically, Fiat bought Chrysler, but for all practical purposes, Chrysler swallowed Fiat.

  • avatar

    Where are you, Wrangler?

    Go Honda, the Great American Car Company.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Tesla is arguably the most American car, with batteries made in NV and the car assembled in CA. Also, the profits (such as they are) don’t get repatriated to Japan or Europe.

    • 0 avatar

      For Tesla, it’s “ profits “ are not reaped by America but paid by American Taxpayers and consumers thru subsidies and tax credits. ….there fixed it for you.

  • avatar

    My 1999 Silverado was made in Indiana. The plant is still making Silverados, so why is it not American made?

    • 0 avatar

      The Silverado I had long ago was made in Canada. Ran with its headlights on all the time.

      Most annoying to me, and other motorists who kept flashing their headlights at me, thinking I was signalling a cop was up ahead of them.

      • 0 avatar

        Mine had DRL but the bulbs kept burning out and I stopped replacing them.

        • 0 avatar

          Ditto with mine, burning out bulbs, but I had to replace them with Bulbs Made in Romania, from Wal-Mart. The cheapest I could find.

          The truck was used at all hours of the day, whenever someone needed to go somewhere for something, so it had to have lights for the evening and night runs.

      • 0 avatar

        People flashed you for having DRLs? Weird.

        • 0 avatar

          No, not weird.

          That truck was often used to pull a trailer up from El Paso, TX/Juarez, MX loaded with ceramic tile, grout, bags of thinset and other masonry building materials.

          So, as the undulations of US54 caused the truck and trailer to oscillate, the DRL often looked to oncoming traffic as headlights being flashed to warn oncoming motorists of a speedtrap ahead.

      • 0 avatar

        highdesertcat – Day time running lights, unless you were flashing them, then NO cops ahead, got ya noticed though! ;-)

        • 0 avatar

          redgolf, yes it did, but, fortunately, not by cops. Cops here will cite the driver if the headlights shine too high because the rear of a vehicle is loaded down.

          Kinda makes sense. In the desert there are very few lights aside from Border Patrol and Weigh Stations, so a vehicle’s headlights can be blinding to oncoming traffic.

          • 0 avatar

            I’ll turn off my headlights momentarily when oncoming cars approach on dark desolate roads, since my low beams are “high beams” when the truck is loaded hard.

            And in night time, heavy bumper to bumper traffic when they’re not really needed, I’ll also just run just the fog lights, and tail/parking/markers.

            I’ve been doing that for decades and no one seems to complain. They’re probably thanking me.

    • 0 avatar

      My 2018 Silverado was assembled in Mexico.

    • 0 avatar

      Even when the Silverado/Sierra is US built, the ton of Chinese and Mexico sweatshop parts kill its rating.

  • avatar

    Interesting to know but I’m not about to boycott Lamborghini…

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The most American-made car I have is my 09 Sedona, built in Alabama. But I haven’t owned an American-branded vehicle since 2010, and before that, 1996.

  • avatar

    As an engineer, I’d like to know where these vehicles are designed. A lot of the Japanese companies have engineering centers in the US. And Opel has been the brains behind a lot of “domestic” GM products over the years.

  • avatar

    07 V6 Accord Sedan. Built Ohio. 160K miles and 12 years old.
    With average care the mechanicals, interior and exterior still 9+/10. I expect to get another 10 years/100K miles out of this car.

    Other than routine maintenance items (lubricants/fluids/filters/brakes/tires/brake pads/timing belt/spark plugs) only expense has been failed starter motor at 150K miles.

    Only current problem is intermittent sticking of HVAC blend door cleared by rapidly cycling full hot/cold several times. I suspect the car was built around those blend doors and putting off repair as long as possible.

    This car changed my mind about root cause of GM/Ford/FCA quality issues. I used to think it was primarily labor based but now think that management decisions played a greater role in their decline than labor misbehavior.

    American workers building a great car. All they needed was adequate management at all levels (design/engineering/production).

    • 0 avatar

      Its a shame, but I suspect that today’s turbocharged Hondas with CVTs won’t be able to say it.

      Nice win for the Cherokee. I picked one up earlier this year. V6 availability was a factor. I’ve been impressed. Build quality seems very good, and the V6 returns 28 mpg on the highway.

  • avatar

    Do engineers count as American wage earners? If they do the whole equation changes.

  • avatar

    The Mustang is made in Flat Rock – though it doesn’t qualify as a “top seller”.

  • avatar

    What no turdsters? oh that’s right less than 50% DC

  • avatar

    Most “American Made” should be by ‘volume’ also. The F-series puts more vehicles on the road than all the other cars that ranked ahead of it… Combined!

    And it’s “F-series” not just the F-150 singled out. Or why would the Super Duty not make the list?

    The Corvette could be 100% American (US) made, but with only around 20K units made a year, who cares? Thank’s GM, but make the Corvette in China and the Silverado/Sierra in the US.

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