Tesla Dominates and Honda, Acura, and Volkswagen Rule the Top 10!
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Tesla Dominates and Honda, Acura, and Volkswagen Rule the Top 10!

Image of The Top 10 Vehicles on Cars.com 2023 American-Made Index
  • Tesla had the top four vehicles in the Cars.com American-Made Index.
  • The Big Three did not have any vehicles in the top 10.
  • Honda, Acura, and Volkswagen made up the rest of the top 10 American-Made vehicles.
  • Cars.com uses five factors to determine whether a vehicle is made in the USA.
  • The list includes 100 vehicles from manufacturers that include Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, and Porsche.

In its annual American-Made Index, Cars.com shares the top vehicles built in the USA. They include some repeaters, like Tesla and Honda, while Volkswagen made its first appearance in the top 10.

The Cars.com American-Made Index includes vehicles from OEMs with the most manufacturing, parts sourcing, and employment in the United States. The 2023 list included a few surprises showing how manufacturers are changing how and where they are building automobiles.


Fewer Cars and More SUVs

Photo of attendee looking at the Volkswagen ID.4 at Electrify Expo
Photo of attendee looking at the Volkswagen ID.4 at Electrify Expo

The top 10 list includes only two sedans, while the remaining eight are all SUVs. The Tesla Model 3 and Model S are the only cars on the list, as the other top 10 vehicles are the Honda Passport, Volkswagen ID.4, Honda Odyssey, Acura MDX, Honda Ridgeline, and Acura RDX. Tesla’s Model X and Model Y are also on the list, but they are technically considered crossover SUVs.


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The four Tesla models sit in the top four spots, showing that American car buyers want electric vehicles made in the USA. Five of the top 10 vehicles in the list are electrified, and three of them qualify for the Inflation Reduction Act tax credit: the Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model Y, and Volkswagen ID.4.


Photo of consumers looking at the Tesla Model X features at Electrify Expo
Photo of consumers looking at the Tesla Model X features at Electrify Expo

Cars.com also conducted a survey asking shoppers about their preferences for American-made vehicles. In the survey, nearly half of car shoppers said they would pay extra for a vehicle that used American labor. The survey also shared that shoppers would spend up to 30% more for a vehicle which created more jobs in the US.

What consumers don’t understand is what determines if a vehicle is made in the USA. In the 2022 survey, 14% of shoppers thought that the location of the manufacturer’s headquarters determined whether the vehicle would boost the American economy. In 2023, the number rose to 24%. Cars.com surveyed 1,013 people in the final week of May 2023.

Despite the responses, General Motors and Ford (headquartered in Detroit and Dearborn) did not have any vehicles in the Top 10. Interestingly, many of the 2023 top-10 vehicles have their headquarters in Japan and Germany.


Where the 2023 Top 10 are Built

Image of the Assembly Locations of the Top 10 Vehicles on Cars.com 2023 American-Made Index.
Assembly Locations for the Top 10 Vehicles on Cars.com’s 2023 American-Made Index

Tesla recently moved its headquarters from California to Texas, and the company still assembles all four models in Fremont, California. Honda assembles the Odyssey, Ridgeline, and Passport in Lincoln, Alabama. Volkswagen assembles the ID.4 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, while Acura assembles the MDX in East Liberty and Marysville, Ohio, and the RDX in East Liberty.


Manufacturing Moving Out of the Motor City

While Michigan is still the home of most American assembly plants, many automakers are moving their assembly facilities to southern states like Georgia, Alabama, Texas, and Tennessee. Interestingly, the choice to move assembly plants to southern states is due to tax incentives and lower wages due to right-to-work laws.


The Most American Vehicles

Photo of Ford F-150 Lighting test drives at Electrify Expo
Photo of Ford F-150 Lighting test drives at Electrify Expo

The Cars.com survey also asked shoppers about the most American vehicles. The responses included the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Corvette, and Ford Mustang. These iconic American vehicles ranked 38th, 19th, and 72nd on the American-Made Index.

Interestingly, the Lincoln Corsair (built by Ford Motor Company) ranked higher than these legendary American vehicles. Cars.com shoppers ranked the Corsair at 16, and Ford manufactures this SUV in Louisville, KY.


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The Jeep Wrangler is another iconic American vehicle, and the Wrangler 4xe model ranked 30th on the AMI. In 2022, the plug-in hybrid EV ranked 39th. Netherlands-based Stellantis moved engine manufacturing from Italy to the United States, which let Cars.com put the Wrangler 4xe on the list in 2022. Other Stellantis vehicles on the AMI include Wrangler, Gladiator, Dodge Durango, and RAM 1500.

The Ford Bronco sits in the 83rd spot as Ford reduced the number of American-made components in the legendary four-wheel-drive SUV.


Building the List

Cars.com's 2023 American-Made Index
Cars.com’s 2023 American-Made Index

Cars.com uses five factors to rank the most American cars. They include:

  • Assembly location
  • Parts sourcing from the American Automobile Labeling Act
  • US employment relative to vehicle production
  • Engine sourcing
  • Transmission sourcing

About Cars.com

CARS is more than a top online car shopping destination. The Chicago-based company opened in 1998 and has built a digital platform that provides car shoppers with data, resources, and digital tools. Cars.com connects shoppers with car dealerships in their area, and the company provides dealerships and OEMs with the tools to reach potential customers.

Cars.com is one component of the CARS brand. The company also runs Dealer Inspire, FUEL, DealerRater, and CreditIQ. These brands help dealerships, OEMs, and investors connect to customers and each other through innovative digital management platforms.


IMAGES: CARS.COM, ELECTRIFY EXPO

FTC: We use income-earning auto affiliate links. Learn more.

AUTHOR: 

KRISTEN BENTLEY

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