Red Camaro

People look for a lot of things in a car when they shop — some want a sporty car, a sexy car, or a car that’s ultra efficient. Above all else, what trait people look for the most is American made.

Red Camaro
A red Camaro. Photo Credit: Fabio Aro

Consumer Reports reveals that, given the choice, 78% of people would rather buy a product made in the U.S. — cars are certainly no exception. The problem is, not many car buyers really understand what it means to be American made.

It’s Tricky to Know if You’re Really Buying and American Made Product…

So, what’s an American car? The reality is, no car or truck on the market today is 100% American in it’s origin. That leaves us looking for the most American car or truck.

USA Today seems to think that the F-150 is the most American made vehicle of 2013. This news isn’t really all that surprising, until you realize it’s the first time an American company has made a vehicle that holds this title in quite some time — the Toyota made Camry was considered to be the most American made car from 2009-2012.

 The Toyota Avalon is another surprisingly American car. This model was designed, engineered, and manufactured in the U.S. and 80% of the parts were domestically made.

American Name, Not American Made

A lot of people reject the idea of models made by a foreign company as being American — but companies based in the States don’t always live up to the image they passively accept and subtly hint towards in marketing campaigns as being an American car maker.

Ford has a public reputation as being an All-American company, but a lot of their models are less than 50% American. The Focus, Fusion, and Fiesta are all barely made in the USA.

GM is a major offender with their 2013 Camaro, you know, the “American Sports Car” — it’s made in Canada (so, okay, it’s made in North America), and the transmission comes from Japan or Mexico, with many other parts coming from foreign lands.

Researching Your Next American Made Purchase

Luckily for those wanting to buy American cars, automobiles are one of the few products that must disclose sourcing and manufacturing information to the public.

The easily accessed site on the American Automobile Labeling Act reveals information about American origins for cars and trucks made as far back as 2007. However, their criteria for “American made” includes Canada made parts and cars (and well, that is geographically accurate).

Next time you are shopping for a new car, ask yourself what it means for a car to be American. Is it a vehicle that creates the most manufacturing jobs for Americans? Could it be one that upholds the American image? Could American design be enough to overlook a car mainly made of foreign made parts?

Everyone will have a different opinion on this criteria, but all-in-all, it’s your investment and you should opt for the car that will offer you the best quality and range of features important to you at the best price.