Ford Ranger Tops Cars.com 2020 American-Made Index
The Ford Ranger is still fresh into its return to the United States, but it’s already solidified itself as an American original. On Tuesday, the Ranger was announced as the top vehicle on Cars.com’s 2020 American-Made Index. The annual list ranks vehicles for their total contribution to the American economy based on five different factors.
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“This marks the 15th year we have released the American-Made Index, and for the first time, we are ranking a full, comprehensive list of qualifying American-made cars available in the U.S. Of some 350 cars on the market for 2020, 91 models qualified for our index,” said Kelsey Mays, Cars.com’s senior consumer affairs and vehicle evaluations editor.
Of the 91 vehicles named on the Cars.com 2020 American-Made Index, 10 come from the Ford Motor Company. In addition to the No. 1-ranked Ranger, vehicles to make the list include the Ford Expedition and Expedition MAX (20th), Lincoln Aviator (24th), Ford Mustang (34th), Ford Explorer (38th), Ford F-150 (44th), Lincoln Navigator and Navigator L (54th), Ford Escape Hybrid (58th), Ford Escape (69th), and Lincoln Corsair (71st).
Last year’s top three — the Jeep Cherokee, Honda Odyssey, and Honda Ridgeline — fell to second, fifth, and sixth place, respectively. The 2020 American-Made Index also marks the first time that vehicles from Tesla are being included; all three of the automaker’s products — the Model S, Model 3, and Model X — ranked among the top 10.
How Cars.com determined the 2020 American-Made Index
Cars.com determines a vehicle’s Americanness based on five key factors: where it’s assembled, where parts are sourced (per the American Automobile Labeling Act), where engines are sourced, where transmissions are sourced, and factory employment in the U.S. relative to vehicle manufacturing.
The Ranger’s 10-speed automatic transmission is built at the Livonia Transmission Plant in Michigan; its 2.3-liter EcoBoost is built at the Cleveland Engine Plant in Ohio; and the 2.3-liter engine’s head, block, and crankshaft are built at the Romeo Engine Plant in Michigan.
“The auto industry is highly globalized,” said Mays, “but these 91 models bring jobs to America and investments to our local communities — a growing concern for Americans in the current climate.”
With respect to the current climate, the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have spurred an increased desire for American-made vehicles. Cars.com reports that 40 percent of consumers polled in May said they’re more likely to buy an American-made car due to the coronavirus crisis. Seventy percent consider a vehicle’s economic impact in America as a top factor when making a purchase — up from 66 percent in 2019. Twenty-six percent of people say that buying a non-American-made car is “unpatriotic” — an increase from 18 percent last year.
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The American-made Ford Ranger reigns supreme
The long-awaited return of the Ranger hasn’t just earned Ford praise and awards, it’s also boosted the automaker’s bottom line and its impact on the economy. Ford launched production of the Ranger at its Michigan Assembly Plant in October 2018 after production ended on the less-profitable Focus and C-MAX. Within months, the plant added an overtime shift to accommodate its high demand.
By shifting the plant’s production to focus on the Ranger and upcoming 2021 Ford Bronco, Ford Enterprise Product Line Management Vice President Jim Baumbick said in April 2019 that the company expected to see a $1 billion increase in operating earnings by next year. This of course was prior to the current pandemic, which has thrown any previous predictions into turmoil.
Ford will rely on trucks like the American-made Ranger to help it recoup profits as it climbs back from COVID-19. Ford sold 89,571 Rangers in its first full year back on the market, boosting the automaker’s truck sales to its highest number since 2005.