In assembling our best new car deals on American cars and deals on American-made cars, we compiled and examined a lot of data. Much of the findings enriched our deals reports, while others inspired trivial pursuits. To fuel your discussions around the BBQ grill (or even an automotive grille) this weekend, we determined how many cars each brand actually builds in the United States.
For this, we focused on 2011 models sold in the United States, which count 1,310 individual trims. Of those, 101 mainstream models are built in America based on information obtained from JATO, an auto industry data provider.
Looking at brands, we see Chevrolet and Ford sharing bragging rights with 12 models each, followed by Toyota (9), GMC (8), and Honda (8). In this analysis, “models” are considered the key named vehicles, rather than iterations. For example, the Jeep Wrangler is the model, and it includes the four-door Wrangler Unlimited. Likewise, the Cadillac Escalade includes the Escalade ESV, thereby matching how we organize vehicles online.
Among the findings, Chrysler has just a single car built within U.S. borders, the 200--a model heavily advertised for its Detroit roots. It is clear why that campaign isn’t used for other models.
At the corporate level, General Motors leads with 27 U.S.-built models, even without its four purged brands. A slimmed-down Ford Motor Company can boast 14 models built here, while Chrysler Group counts 12 vehicles.
Ford and Honda each have six U.S.-built models that are Consumer Reports recommended, followed by Chevrolet with five.
|Manufacturer ||U.S.-built models ||Recommended U.S.-built models ||Percent U.S.-built recommended models |
|Acura ||2 ||2 ||100% |
|BMW || 3 ||0 ||0% |
|Buick ||3 ||3 ||100% |
|Cadillac ||4 ||1 ||25% |
|Chevrolet ||12 ||5 ||42% |
|Chrysler ||1 ||0 ||0% |
|Dodge ||4 ||0 ||0% |
|Ford ||12 ||6 ||50% |
|GMC ||8 ||2 ||25% |
|Honda ||8 ||6 ||75% |
|Hyundai ||3 ||3 ||100% |
|Jeep ||5 ||0 ||0% |
|Kia ||1 ||1 ||100% |
|Lincoln ||2 ||1 ||50% |
|Mazda ||2 ||2 ||100% |
|Mercedes-Benz ||4 ||1 ||25% |
|Mitsubishi ||3 ||0 ||0% |
|Nissan ||7 ||4 ||57% |
|Ram ||2 ||1 ||50% |
|Subaru ||3 ||3 ||100% |
|Suzuki ||1 ||0 ||0% |
|Tesla ||1 ||0 ||0% |
|Toyota ||9 ||8 ||89% |
|Total ||101 ||50 ||50% |
While this data can fuel discussions, we recommend that car shoppers prioritize how a vehicle performs in our tests and ranks in the ratings, rather than shop by country of origin--a criteria complicated by parts sourcing that can bring numerous components together from across borders even for cars made here. The reality is that all countries build some models better than others. With significant incentives this holiday weekend, great deals can be had on models built from around the world.
If you want to buy American, no matter how you define it, check out the related stories below.
July 4th Edition: Best new car deals on American cars
Best July 4th deals on American-made cars
How much of your car is made in America