The Most American Cars on the Market

Ford F-150 Raptor
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Kogod Made-in-America Auto Index Ranks 2017 Models

In the global automotive manufacturing ecosystem, what defines an American car? Toyota builds the popular Camry in Kentucky, and the Honda Odyssey was designed in America and is built in Alabama. Dodge builds the Charger Hellcat in Canada, and its parent company is based in Italy.

The annual Kogod Made-in-America Auto Index seeks to answer the complex question. Developed by Associate Professor Frank DuBois at the American University’s Kogod School of Business, the index looks at a number of factors, including where the profit margin goes (based on where the company’s headquarters is located), where the car is assembled, the location of its research and development, the source of major components (including engine and transmission), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) domestic content score.

The Kogod study is not the only study that attempts to identify the most American cars. Other studies place foreign nameplate cars built in America much higher in their research. It’s worth noting that the Kogod study oversimplifies some aspects of a car’s economic impact. Its assignment of all profits plus all research and development to the headquarters country of the manufacturer doesn’t account for administrative and research operations that occur in the U.S. or the global nature of stock ownership.

That being said, take a look at the following slides, where we show the top performers in the Kogod study. Many of the top positions have multi-way ties, and some models are listed multiple times, based on their trim level.