AUGUST 2009

Toyota dubbed most 'American' car maker

Cars.com announced the rankings in its annual American-Made Index, which ranks the most-American vehicles based on percentage (by cost) of their parts that are made domestically, where they’re built and how popular they are among American buyers. This year, the Toyota Camry shot to the top of the list, dethroning the five-time winner, the Ford F-150.

In addition to grabbing the number 1 rank, Toyota saw its Sienna (number 6), Tundra (number 7) and Venza (number 10) also make their way onto the list, lifting the Japanese automaker’s count above all other manufacturers. This year, Detroit automakers claimed 5 of the 10 spots, a record low on Cars.com’s index.

“This year was unique for our index, to say the least,” said Patrick Olsen, Cars.com editor-in-chief. “The difficult sales environment and changes in cars’ domestic parts content – both important factors in our index’s equation – played a huge role in how the rankings changed from last year.”

In keeping with American-Made Index methodology, Cars.com excluded any models scheduled to be discontinued without a clear successor. That carried stronger implications this year, as most Pontiac models – including the G6, a longtime index mainstay – became ineligible. Another GM mainstay, the Ohio-built Chevrolet Cobalt, saw its domestic parts content rating drop significantly, ending its three-year run on the list.

General Motors still takes three slots, with the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups showing strong domestic parts content ratings. The popular Chevrolet Malibu ranked third, thanks in part to its 80 percent domestic parts content and steady sales.

The Alabama-built Honda Odyssey increased slightly in domestic parts content, up to 80 percent this year, which played a large role in its elevation to the number 4 spot. Another newcomer, the Ford Taurus, boasts an impressive 90 percent domestic parts content, the highest of any vehicle on the list.

“In today’s global economy, there’s not an easy way to determine just how American a car is,” Olsen said. “Most cars built in the United States, for example, are assembled using at least some parts that come from somewhere else. Cars.com’s American-Made Index helps consumers identify the most-American vehicles based on production location, percentage of domestic parts content, and American sales volume for each vehicle.”

The Cars.com American-Made Index is an annual ranking of vehicles deemed most American based on American production, percentage of domestic parts and American sales volume.

Domestic parts content is based on data that appears alongside the window sticker of new cars as a result of the American Automobile Labeling Act, enacted in 1994. The AALA mandates that virtually every new car display the percentage, by cost, of its parts that originated in the United States and Canada. Only those vehicles with a domestic parts content rating of 75 percent or higher are eligible for the American-Made Index.