It's a scientifically proven fact.
Each year the American University's Kogod School of Business conducts a study to find the most American car in the USA. And no, it's not a Ford F-150 with a V8 engine, and a Bald Eagle painted on the hood.
It's an actual scientific study that looks at the percentage of components sourced in the USA. This year the research was done by Frank DuBois, who ranked and evaluated more than 500 models. The study focuses on where a car is built and from what; it even looks at where a manufacturer's headquarters is located and where the research and development occur.
For what purpose? According to Kogod, the information is meant to help consumers make a decision when they buy a new car and to understand the impact it has on the American economy. To put it simply, the US economy gains more if you purchase the most American model instead of a car designed and built in China.
We suspect a percentage of customers out there place this high on their list of criteria, making the Made in America Auto Index extremely relevant. In the wake of the pandemic, perhaps even more so.
So what is the most American car you can buy? Unsurprisingly, it's a Ford. Last year it was the Ford Ranger, but the midsize truck has since dropped 15 spots. The most American car you can buy is the Ford Mustang GT 5.0-liter V8 with a manual transmission. That's how deep this report drills down, right down to the trim and transmission.
The report gives the score as a percentage out of 100. A Mini Cooper hatch would score 0%, for example. It was designed and built in Oxford in the UK.
The Mustang 5.0 manual scored an impressive 88.5% total, 2.5 percentage points above the Corvette Stingray. Back in 2018, the Corvette was the most American car you could buy. The top five cars all score 80% or above.
Tied in third place, we find the three Tesla Model 3s, all with a score of 82.5%. In fourth place (80.5%) is the all-new Ford Bronco with the 2.7-liter twin-turbo V6 engine. Not that the Bronco needed another reason to convince the American public to buy it.
Fifth place is shared by a variety of models, all scoring 80%. The list includes the Ford Expedition range, the Chevrolet Colorado with a gas engine, a GMC Canyon with a gas engine, the Tesla Model S, and the Tesla Model Y. We suspect the Model Y's figure will fall, as more batteries are imported from China.
The top ten is dominated by traditional American manufacturers, but Honda sneaks in in ninth place. All Odyssey, Passport, Pilot, and Ridgeline models have a score of 76%.
How is that even possible? The score is calculated in various categories, including the source of the engine and gearbox, the location of the headquarters, labor, where R&D is done, and where the body, interior, and electrical components are sourced from. Honda uses more local components. Honda also has manufacturing, R&D, and design centers located in the USA, including engine and gearbox plants.
If you scroll through the entire report, you'll see that the Ridgeline is also more American than the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, Ford Ranger, and Ram 1500.
At the bottom of the list in 98th place, we find a host of Toyota, Lexus, Subaru, Porsche, Mitsubishi, and Mercedes-Benz products that score minimal points for local R&D.