People like buying products made in their home country, and cars seem to be a big talking point in the discussion on buying domestic goods. Each year, Cars.com ranks vehicles on how American-made they are, and the 2022 list just came out. Tesla topped the study in the top two positions thanks to its American production and management operations.
Behind the Tesla Model Y and Model 3 at spots one and two, respectively, the field diversifies. The Lincoln Corsair landed at number 3 and the Honda Passport at four. Tesla shows up again with the Model X at number five and the Model S at six. The Jeep Cherokee, Honda Ridgeline, Honda Odyssey, and Honda Pilot round out the top 10 in that order.
One major takeaway is that, despite controversy and a broad spectrum of personal opinions about Elon Musk, Tesla is a thoroughly American car maker. The company operates more than a dozen manufacturing facilities in the U.S. and Canada and employs tens of thousands of people here.
That formula is tailor-made to score well in Cars.com’s American-Made Index. The study factors in the location of final assembly, percentage of U.S. and Canadian parts, Country of origin for engines and transmissions, and the number of U.S. employees relative to the company’s footprint.
Honda has a significant manufacturing and administrative presence in the U.S., so it’s not surprising to see several of its models on the list. Surprisingly, there are no full-size American pickups on the list. The GMC Canyon is a midsize truck that earned the number 12 spot, but there’s no Ford F-150, Ram 1500, GMC Sierra, or Chevy Silverado.
The full results show that American trucks aren’t quite as domesticated as many think they are. The F-150 landed at number 21, while the Ram 1500 earned the number 45 spot. The Chevy Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 landed at 93 and 94, respectively.
While it’s a little shocking to see the beefy American trucks so far down the list, their positions help illustrate why it’s been so hard to find a new pickup truck on sale lately. Microchips and other components have been exceedingly difficult to import, leading some automakers to cut features and others to partially build and then hold vehicles while waiting on chips.
Where are the heavy-duty trucks? Cars.com says that automakers aren’t required to report the percentage of domestic parts by value on vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 8,500 pounds or more. That excludes heavy-duty trucks, vans, and other vehicles. Interestingly, it also excludes the new GMC Hummer EV, which checks in with a 10,550-pound GVWR. The study also excludes low-volume manufacturers with fewer than 1,000 units a year and any other data points the team feels are inaccurate.
Cars.com's findings don't square exactly with the venerable Kogod Made in America Auto List compiled every year by American University's Kogard School of Business, whose 2021 rankings had the manual-transmission Ford Mustang GT in the No. 1 spot (Mustang ranks 26th on Cars.com's list). And Kogod placed the Tesla Model Y at No. 5, not No. 1. Differences in the rankings can be attributed to a number of factors, including differences in methodology — Kogod gets very granular in terms of make, model, trim, powertrain and so forth. And supply-chain changes that have taken place in recent months have surely thrown such calculations in disarray. The Kogod list is not yet out for 2022.