Cars.com Revamps Criteria for American-Made Index, Names Jeep Wrangler the Most American-Made Vehicle
A new set of criteria for Cars.com's American-Made Index helped Jeep and other domestic-based automakers climb the ranks
Placing vehicles into a hierarchy of which models are more American-made than others is a rather tricky business. Due to a large pool of factors that you have to consider, the answers can often be quite inconsistent.
Cars.com, which has published an American-Made Index for the past 11 years, recently revised the criteria its analysts consider while ranking vehicles in terms of domestic-based production. As a result, the Jeep Wrangler was just named the most American-made vehicle by Cars.com.
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For the past few years, the Toyota Camry held the top spot on the American-Made Index from Cars.com. In fact, the vast majority of vehicles that appeared on the list were produced by foreign automakers, such as Toyota or Honda.
According to Cars.com, if the website had continued to use the old criteria for the index, then only three vehicles would have even qualified this year (Cars.com did not disclose which three models would have qualified under its old rules). For that reason, Cars.com decided to revamp the criteria for its yearly index.
The new index takes the following factors into consideration: assembly location, domestic-parts content, engine origin, transmission origin, and U.S. factory employment (adjusted by sales to reflect how many employees each sale supports). Notably absent now is overall sales, an area that helped to boost vehicles like the Toyota Camry up the rankings.
Several disqualifications for vehicles have also been put into place. For example, discontinued models or models on their way out were not considered, and models that sold fewer than 2,500 units in the first quarter of 2017 were also not examined.
After going over a total of 120 vehicles, the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited made the top of the list for this year. Another Jeep, the Jeep Cherokee, came in second place.
Meanwhile, the Toyota Camry, last year’s top-ranked vehicle, did not appear on the top 10 list at all. In fact, Honda and its Acura nameplate were the only Japanese automakers to make an appearance on the list this year.
This change in Cars.com‘s criteria for its American-Made Index appears at a time when the pressure is on for automakers to produce more vehicles in America. As such, it seems rather intriguing that American automakers like Ford happen to benefit the most from this new index.
Furthermore, Cars.com admits that its new system for the American-Made Index isn’t perfect. However, the website promises that the process is now “more comprehensive than ever.”
“In redesigning the index, we sought to bolster the factors that address what makes each car American,” a statement from Cars.com reads. “There is still no easy way to determine that. Many factors exist, and no single one offers a comprehensive answer.”
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The Cars.com 2017 American-Made Index Top 10 Rankings: