A lot of Americans take pride in driving American cars but the sad reality is that a lot of cars companies that claim to sell cars that are “made in America” actually have their cars made overseas, usually to keep down costs. Although it is noble to want to support the American economy and keep American workers employed, often, American car companies are not even employing as many American workers as you would assume (or hope). As the years go by, more and more companies are making the transition to overseas car production, or at least using foreign-made parts. Unfortunately, this is the sad reality of the current state of the American auto industry. We would not be surprised to learn that things get worse in the years to come given the current economy and state of affairs.
A great example of this is the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Although the Bolt EV is assembled at the General Motor’s Orion plant in Michigan, its drivetrain and battery are both built in Korea. According to the Kogod School’s Made in America Auto Index for 2017, the Bolt scores a measly 42.5 out of a possible 100. Funnily enough, many car models built in Canadian like the Honda CR-V and foreign-built cars outrank it.
We understand the reasoning behind the decisions made by the car companies mentioned below. At the end of the day, their main goal is to make a profit and sometimes in order to do so it is necessary to use automotive parts made overseas and/or hire non-American workers. However, we also believe that these car companies have a duty to be fully transparent with regards to these decisions. We are also left wondering what could be done in order to help keep these companies here in the United States of America to provide better opportunities for hard-working Americans.
Below you will find our list of vehicles that are branded as being American but in reality are barely American at all and might as well be considered foreign makes.
One of the Fiat Chrysler Automotive group’s most popular 2017 vehicles, the Dodge Journey ranks in at number 51 on the Made in America Auto Index mentioned above. The Journey is a mid-size crossover SUV that is sold as the Fiat Freemont in Europe and the the Dodge JC in Japan. This well-known SUV is made up of only 40.5% American parts and is built in the Chrysler plant in Toluca, Mexico. The Journey just beats the Nissan Leaf, the Subaru Impreza, and the Toyota Camry Hybrid by a whopping .5%.
Although some car companies are better known for not being made in the United States of America, many would be surprised to learn that many GMC vehicles are comprised of less than 50% American parts. For example, GMC’s crossover SUV, the Terrain ranks in at number 47 with a score of 43/100 on the Made in America index. What is more surprising is that the vehicles like the Nissan Rogue and the Acura ILX are more American than the Terrain. Although the Terrain has similar engineering to the Equinox, the Equinox blows the Terrain out of the water when it comes to its score on the Kogod School’s Made in America Auto Index of 60/100 and a ranking of 31.
In order to please potential customers, many American car companies made a point of keeping the production of their iconic car models like the Ford Mustang, Jeep Wrangler, Chevy Corvette in U.S. plants in the past year. However, this was not the case for many of these companies’ other models. For instance, it simply made sense, with its huge global appeal, for the subcompact Jeep Renegade to be made elsewhere. Due to high demand in these countries, the Renegade is made in in Italy, Brazil, and China, The Renegade is made up of a measly 38% American parts. It is important to note that this is the first Jeep model is the first to ever be produced outside of North America.
The Chrysler Pacifica comes in both a gasoline powered version and a plug-in hybrid version. Although the hybrid version was recalled in order to fix the electronics, Chrysler owes a lot to the Pacifica now that the Chrysler 200 has been discontinued and the 300 has not proven to be as successful as Chrysler had hoped. However, it might not be surprising that it is only made up of 44% of Americans parts as Chrysler has been making minivans at its Ontario plant since the 1980s.
Ford should be thankful for their mid-size luxury sedan, the Lincoln MKZ, as it has helped to keep its luxury brand from sinking with a launch in 2006 and a facelift in 2017. However, with a score of only 31.5/100, the MKZ is also on our list. The obvious reason for this is that it is assembled in Mexico with largely foreign parts.
The Ford Fiesta cannot even pretend to claim to be American, with only 15.5% of this car model being composed of American parts. This poor score leaves it trailing behind other models like the Fiat 500 (composed of 29.5% American parts), the Hyundai Elantra (made up of 23% American parts), and the Honda Civic 2.0-liter models (composed of 50%).
The Buick Encore is arguably the brand’s best-selling model. However, that doesn’t make it American made. Ranking in at #57, it is made from only 20.5% American parts. This model is made in plants in Mexico, Spain, and China. This is far from the car company’s Enclave, which is ranked as being the number one Made in America car, with a whopping 85.5% of parts being made in the United States.
Chevrolet began manufacturing their subcompact crossover SUV the Chevrolet Trax in 2013. The Korean made Chevrolet Trax makes the top of our list coming in at #72 with a mere 14.5% of its parts being American whereas its Mexican-built counterpart is much better ranking 53 and 39.5%.
The Buick Envision compact luxury crossover SUV is arguably the least American made of all the vehicles sporting a Detroit badge ranking in at #74. With a majority of its parts made in China (a whopping 87%!), it is one of the few cars that is imported from Asian to the U.S. It is even beat out by the Toyota RAV4 (made up of 39.5% American parts), the BMW X5 (made up of 37.5% American parts) and Lexus RX450 (18.5%). The lack of American parts used to produce the Envision has lead to a lot of controversy. In a joint statement, President, Dennis Williams, and Vice President, Cindy Estrada, of the United Automobile Workers labour union stated that “[the] announcement by General Motors that they are importing the Envision from China is a slap in the face to U.S. taxpayers and the men and women who worked so hard to save GM during its darkest time…General Motors continues to use the slogan, ‘Build it where you sell it.’ The company should adhere to their own words and should reconsider this decision and place this product into one of their facilities in the United States of America. The men and women of GM who are so proud of their role in saving their own company deserve better and so do the American taxpayers who invested so much in GMs future.”
Both the Ford Fusion and Fiesta are both made in Mexico and the Focus’ largest market is made up of Chinese buyers. Therefore, we wouldn’t be surprised to learn that in a few years most of the passenger cars made by Ford will be produced outside America. The fusion can’t compare to other midsize sedans made by foreign brands when it comes to the Made in America score with a percentage of 48.5% compared to the Toyota Camry (78.5%), the Honda Accord (76%), and the Kia Optima (68%).