From Chevrolet sports cars to a Mercedes luxo-barge.
In 1913, Henry Ford installed the first mass production moving assembly line for an entire car and changed the world. Since then, the story of automotive production in the US has been a wild one and, more recently, a political one. A lot is made of where American automakers build their cars and about the import of foreign-built vehicles. However, the world is round, and the American car market is enormous, so you'll find this list of great cars built in America isn't made up purely of American brand cars.
Toyota has a vast manufacturing presence in America, as do Honda and Hyundai/Kia. Nissan, Subaru, BMW, and Mercedes all also sell cars that are built right here. Don't despair if you're a flag-waving nationalist, though, as the most spectacular American brand cars are still built here in the US. Some, such as the Dodge Challenger, are not, though. Those are built in Canada.
Chevrolet's latest iteration of the Corvette is mid-engined and sensational in the fullest sense of the word. The Bowling Green Assembly plant in Kentucky has built every Corvette model since 1981 and is home to the National Corvette Museum. The 1.7-million-square-foot factory also houses the Performance Build Center where the high-performance, low-volume engines are hand-crafted. Bowling Green Assembly is one of the largest employers in the area and attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. As of the time of writing, the plant has produced over 1.1 million Corvettes since it opened.
The Honda Accord is a staple of American roads for many good reasons. It has a reputation for reliability and is fun to drive, as Honda prioritizes vehicle dynamics in every car it makes. It's built for the US market in Marysville, Ohio, which is just one of several major manufacturing plants that Honda has in the US. Honda also has four part and component facilities in the US to feed the manufacturing facilities, and was the first Japanese automaker to export its US-built cars to overseas markets. As of 2021, Honda has exported more than 1.37 million cars and light trucks from the USA to overseas markets. The ten-millionth US-built Honda Accord rolled off the assembly line in 2014.
The Mustang is Ford's longest-running nameplate and has been manufactured in the US throughout its history. States in which it has been built include California, New Jersey, and the Dearborn plant in Michigan that currently builds the F-150. Currently, the Mustang comes out of the Flat Rock plant in Michigan, while Ford builds the Mustang Mach-E in Mexico and China. The first Mustang was sold as a 1965 model and received changes to the models built before August 1964. This is why the 120,000 or so Mustangs built before then are referred to by niche enthusiasts as "1964½" models.
"Hyundai Motor Company brought Tucson production to the U.S. because we have proven our ability to build world-class automobiles," said Ernie Kim, President and CEO of Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. Hyundai first started building cars in the U.S. with the Sonata in 2005. However, the Tucson almost immediately overtook the Sonata as Hyundai's best-selling vehicle here when it began production. It's also why Toyota should be upping its game as the Tucson is excellent and Hyundai is pushing hard to take the Japanese brand's best-selling crown in as many segments as possible.
Chevrolet's Camaro lives in the shadow of the Ford Mustang, which makes it an underrated car in our eyes. It's a world-class sports car in any trim level and a brawny pony car with serious chops with V8 power. The first generation started production in Norwood, Ohio, and Van Nuys, California. More recently, it was built at the Oshawa Car Assembly plant in Ontario, Canada, before moving back to the US in 2019 to be made at the GM Lansing Grand River plant in Michigan.
The Subaru Outback is an American staple in areas prone to bad weather. It's built for people that need a safe, comfortable, and dependable daily driven wagon-style SUV that's also rugged and features an excellent all-wheel-drive system. In the US, it's a product of Subaru's prolific Lafayette plant in Indiana since 1994. The Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA) facility produces 35 percent of Subaru's global output and half of Subaru models sold in North America. SIA also produces the Ascent, Impreza, and Legacy models for the US and Canadian markets and is Subaru's only manufacturing facility outside of Asia.
What looks like the last gasp of pure gas-powered performance cars is giving us some absolute gems, particularly here in North America. The CT5-V Blackwing is Cadillac's highest-output vehicle yet as it uses a hand-built 6.2-liter Supercharged V8. The 668-hp engine is built at the Bowling Green, Kentucky plant, while the car is assembled at GM's Lansing Grand River plant in Lansing, Michigan. The same plant is also responsible for the standard CT5 and CT5-V as well as the CT4, CT4-V, and Chevrolet Camaro.
If you want your family crossover to be built in America and come with gobs of power and insane handling that puts a lot of sports cars to shame, the BMW X5 M is it. The five-millionth BMW to be built in the US was an X5 M Competition (complete with its 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 generating 617 hp) back in 2020. It was built at the BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina. The BMW X5 is only built here in the US, so anytime you visit another country and see someone driving one, it was made in South Carolina and exported.
If you like your SUV to be purely about ride quality and comfort, the Mercedes-Maybach GLS is built for the US market in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. It comes off the line alongside the regular GLS, GLE, and the GLE Coupe. It comes with a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 engine producing 550 horsepower and 538 lb-ft of torque, but your $160,000-plus SUV isn't about numbers; it's about pure, serene luxury for every occupant and all the cargo space they need. If you want the silly AMG performance version of the GLS, that one has to be imported from Germany.
For a big luxury SUV, you don't have to go to Mercedes for it to be built in the US. It comes out of Chicago Assembly in Chicago, which is Ford's oldest continuously operated car manufacturing facility. Production started on March 3, 1924, with the Model T but only produces the Lincoln Aviator and Ford Explorer currently. The Lincoln EV is on the horizon but won't be produced in Chicago. The current best bet is that it'll be built at the Ford Oakville Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada, when the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus are discontinued in 2024.