Cars.com's American-Made Index Crowns Toyota the Most 'American' Manufacturer
Japanese Automaker Claims Four of 10 Spots on List
CHICAGO, July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- With the Fourth of July just around the corner, Cars.com has 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 U.S. 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 No. 1 rank, Toyota sees its Sienna (No. 6), Tundra (No. 7) and Venza (No. 10) also make their way onto the list, lifting the Japanese automaker's count above all other manufacturers. This year, Detroit automakers claimed five 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 No. 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 U.S., 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."
Rank Make/Model U.S. Assembly Rank in July 2008
1. Toyota Camry** Georgetown, Ky.; --
2. Ford F-150 Dearborn, Mich.; 1
3. Chevrolet Malibu*** Kansas City, Kan. 3
4. Honda Odyssey Lincoln, Ala. 7
5. Chevrolet Silverado Ford Wayne, Ind. 8
6. Toyota Sienna Princeton, Ind. 6
7. Toyota Tundra San Antonio 5
8. GMC Sierra 1500*** Fort Wayne, Ind. --
9. Ford Taurus Chicago --
10. Toyota Venza Georgetown, Ky. --
*Excludes assembly plants suspended or scheduled for shutdown: Pontiac,
Mich. (Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra) and Orion Township, Mich.
**Excludes Camry Hybrid and Camry Solara.
***Excludes hybrid models, which are broken out separately - or, in the
case of the Malibu Hybrid, suspended for consumer sales.
Sources: Automaker data, Automotive News, dealership data, National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
About the American-Made Index
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 U.S. and Canada. Only those vehicles with a domestic-parts content rating of 75 percent or higher are eligible for the American-Made Index.
For more information about the American-Made Index, visit Cars.com.
Cars.com is the leading destination for online car shoppers, offering credible, easy-to-understand information from consumers and experts to help buyers formulate opinions on what to buy, where to buy and how much to pay for a car. With comprehensive pricing information, side-by-side comparison tools, photo galleries, videos, unbiased editorial content and a large selection of new- and used-car inventory, Cars.com puts millions of car buyers in control of their shopping process with the information they need to make confident buying decisions.
Launched in June 1998, Cars.com is a division of Classified Ventures, LLC, which is owned by leading media companies, including Belo (NYSE: BLC), Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), The McClatchy Company (NYSE: MNI), Tribune Company and The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO).
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A new study from Cars.com sheds light on the absurdity of thinking cars have a "nationality."
When you consider that even a post-bailout GM will expand its use of foreign labor, it shouldn't be that hard to understand how an "American" car isn't really so, just because its maker was founded in Detroit.
And more generally, there seems to be little reason to think that American cars are really more American in any metrics that matter: Namely, labor and parts inputs.
According to the new survey, the most American car in America is the Toyota Camry, containing the highest percentage of American inputs, even surpassing the Ford F-150. Actually, Toyota utterly dominates the top 10 list, with a Honda thrown in for good measure.
Now some might object to this, saying that even though these cars are "made-in-America", the value still flows overseas, but really, even that's not right. Toyota still pays taxes in America. Its stock is traded in the US, and is no doubt owned by individual retail accounts and mutual funds.
If you insist on coming up with some definition of "American" that limits that moniker to the Big Three, we suppose it's this: Only Chrysler, Ford and GM have the political clout to win a bailout if needed. We really can't imagine Toyota or Honda receiving so much political support. Of course, this is a circular definition that still doesn't say much, but it's the best you can do.
Too bad Toyota is starting to build cars like the Americans did - cheap, flimbsy, ugly, poor performing...Hey, this is what we asked for, right?
Dude, if you are such a VW fanboi, go to the VDUUUUB website. I recently rented two cars, a Saturn Aura and a VW Jetta. When I sat in the Jetta, I seriously thought I was back in my 93 Nissan Pathfinder.....
2001 IS300 Black Oynx
2006 Nissan Murano SL (Wife's Car )
95 SC400 Pearl White CLEAN - Sold
Not to come rushing to FKL's defense, as he does tend to toot the VW horn too often, but...
Toyota quality is slipping lately. I think many on these boards have admitted as such. As someone who has liked Toyota for a long time, I think it's disheartening. But unlike GM, Toyota seems to be aware of the mistakes being made, and it sounds as if things might turn around rather quickly. They better, as the competition is getting much tougher.
As for calling VWs cheap and flimsy--I'm not sure where you get that from. Cheap and flimsy compared to what, an LS? A GS? I'll admit I totally ignored VW until I actually researched one for my father as a car purchase. Like Hyundai, I would say driving is believing. I think VWs don't sell well in the US simply because people don't give the brand a chance or try driving some of their cars. As for ugly--I wouldn't say a Jetta is any worse than a Corolla or Camry in that department. Unreliable? Well, that depends who you ask.
Now, comparing a Jetta to a 93 Nissan Pathfinder is just goofy. Having fully examined the interior, I honestly don't know what you're talking about. Some of the materials used in that car are as good as--if not better--than the ES I drive. If you're criticizing the layout or aesthetics, well that's a personal thing. The layout to me looks like it was designed for pure functionality over style. That's fine though, as it makes everything very easy to find and use. No unneeded gimmicks.
And the heated seat controls are logically placed. Yes, I'm looking at you Toyota Prius.
Too bad the cheap, flimsy, ugly and poor performing Toyotas still outsell VW by a landslide...
The reason Toyota outsells "by a landslide" is becuase they are cheaper - too bad you can't open your eyes to the rest of the world where VW and Toyota actually sell at near parity. You are just trying to score cheap points based in fantasy land. How on earth can you even sit there and try and act as if the Tundra - the Camry, all have "quality" interiors. No buddy, go get from out behind the wheel of your lavish IS and actually go spend real time [not internet time] in those cars.
Too bad most affordable VWs are built cheap, flimsy, ugly and unreliable too. There are reasons why they sell poorly in the US.
Again, this statement is painfully distached from reality in every way. You need to get out from behind the internet and go actually see the cars. The Golf and Jetta are just better built cars than their Toyota competition. If you've been in a Polo in Europe, they are not cheap cars, interior quality that is reminiscent of some Audi models.
Again, you really are not making sense here with your usual short posts IS-SV. If you want to make crazy generalizations like this, at least explain.
Originally Posted by Pirate400
I guess I was trying to say that the Jetta interior was all this flat black plastic that had a rubbery feel to it. It was plain jane and uninspiring. I guess I was just expecting more.
That soft to the touch finish which you term "rubbery" is "hard plastic" in every other cheaper competitors car. I'm sorry, Pirate, but your opinion is a fringe one at best. VW interiors and overall build quality usually set the class standards and is really what they are known for (maybe not on this forum, but outside of here, yes). The Jetta already has the best interior in it's class, it walks all over the Civic, Corolla, Sentra - and it's a suprise to you all when it costs thousands more? Come on, that's the reason why sales are smaller, because they position the brand as a premium one, with marginally higher prices - not becuase of imaginary "flimbsy/cheap quality".
This reminds me of the whole "BMW interiors are cheap because I don't like the design" line. Damn with judging the actual materials, you get caught up in either minute one minute impressions, or "pictures".
oh, I see, so the small sales numbers in the US must mean that their cars are cheap and flimsy in their construction. Am I missing something here or are you trying to draw connections that don't even make logical sense, much less exist?
I've explained more than enough times why the quality of some Toyota models has undeniably decreased from years past. Frankly, so have others on this very forum. So yes, you do seem to have a monopoly on "short sweeping statements" that are simply drawn out of thin air with nothing to substantiate them. I'll take it that you don't grasp the issue at hand here - that the reason their vehicle sales are small is given the fact that the brand is positioned higher than their cheaper competitors, with prices and products that are clearly illustrative of such. And yes, one cannot simply deny that their placement in various American publications hasn't helped their cause, but your assertions that their low volume must exclusively be based on "cheap quality and reliablity" are unfounded and frankly just wrong.
FKL - I hope you are enjoying your loyalty to VW for whatever reason(s). You certainly have a monopoly on that bias as pointed out by several posters, but you are better at long-winded posts than most. Certainly everybody has different opinions.
Enjoying Lexus ownership and valuable interaction with actual knowledgeable owners, bit bored w/same old time-wasting redundant Car/Chit Chat .