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Cars.com Revamps Criteria for American-Made Index, Names Jeep Wrangler the Most American-Made Vehicle

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A new set of criteria for Cars.com's American-Made Index helped Jeep and other domestic-based automakers climb the ranks

2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Front End

When it comes to being American-Made, Jeep is evidently the king of the hill

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.

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Jeep’s Toledo factory helped it to score some points on the 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.

The Top 10 American-Made Vehicles and their assembly locations
Graphic: Paul Dolan

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.

2016 Toyota Camry XSE overview

The new criteria and rules for the American-Made Index left the Camry high and dry

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:

2017 Honda Pilot Elite

10. Honda Pilot

Assembly Location: Lincoln, Alabama

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9. Honda Odyssey

Assembly Location: Lincoln, Alabama

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GMC has unveiled the new mid-size 2017 Acadia at the Detroit Auto Show

8. GMC Acadia

Assembly Location: Spring Hill, Tennessee

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2017 Ford Expedition exterior

7. Ford Expedition

Assembly Location: Louisville, Kentucky

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2018 Ford F-150

6. Ford F-150

Assembly Locations: Dearborn, Michigan and Claycomo, Missouri

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The 2017 Acura RDX is a compact luxury SUV that’s available in all-wheel drive and features a starting price tag of $35,370

5. Acura RDX

Assembly Location: East Liberty, Ohio

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The Honda Ridgeline midsize pickup truck returns for the 2017 model year and will carry a starting MSRP of $29,475

4. Honda Ridgeline

Assembly Location: Lincoln, Alabama

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2017 Ford Taurus exterior

3. Ford Taurus

Assembly Location: Chicago, Illinois

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2016 Jeep Cherokee Side View

2. Jeep Cherokee

Assembly Locations: Belvidere, Illinois and Toledo, Ohio

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The 2017 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited has a starting MSRP of less than $30,000 and comes standard with four-wheel drive

1. Jeep Wrangler/Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Assembly Location: Toledo, Ohio

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Source: Cars.com