It's not the Mustang or the Corvette.
The most American-made car in 2021 is not the Chevy Corvette, which is built in Kentucky. It ranked fifth on the Cars.com 2021 index of most American-made vehicles. It's not the Jeep Cherokee either, though it's built in Illinois. Nope, the most American-made car of 2021 is the Tesla Model 3, from Fremont, California.
It's followed by the Ford Mustang, built in Flat Rock, Michigan, the Tesla Model Y, also from Fremont. The aforementioned Jeep Cherokee comes in fourth, followed by the Corvette, the Honda Ridgeline, Odyssey, Pilot, and Passport, all built in Alabama, and finally the Toyota Tundra down in San Antonio.
"The 2021 study ranks 90 vehicles through the same five major criteria: assembly location, parts content, engine origins, transmission origins, and U.S. manufacturing workforce," says Cars.com. And for the second year in a row, the study ranked all qualifying vehicles built and bought in the US, not just the top ten.
Tesla has only been participating in the study for two years. Before that it wouldn't supply the info Cars needed to make a judgement. Last year it put three vehicles in the top ten; the Model Y was still ramping up production. This year the Model S and X are too new. Still, it's notable that Elon Musk put up two winners this year, and we'll expect the other two to join (probably high on the list) next year.
The Mustang jumped 32 spots to land at two because it has a higher parts content from the US and Canada than the previous year, mainly its engines and transmissions. The Jeep Cherokee dropped two spots and the Corvette jumped up three.
The American-made cars rounding out the 86-90 spots are the strong-selling Nissan Rogue, the lovable Toyota Tacoma, the Corolla, last-gen's Ram 1500 Classic, and the Honda Civic. The Rogue, the Civic, and the Corolla are three of America's best-selling vehicles. But remember, that's out of 344 light-duty models in the US, so they're all still in the top quarter or so.
Cars doesn't reveal its weighting or calculation method, but says all five factors mentioned above play a role, "as do a number of disqualifiers." Those include massive gross vehicle weight ratings of over 8,500 pounds, models with less than 1,000 examples built, models set for discontinuation, models for fleets, and a few others.
The study includes all variants under the nameplate, unless they're "substantially" electrified. The GMC Yukon is included with the Yukon XL and the Mustang includes the Shelby GT500, now with more carbon fiber, but the Toyota Camry and Camry Hybrid are separate entries.