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Japanese Brands Tops Edmunds.com's ‘Most American’ Cars List

July 2, 2013

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Patriotic shoppers looking to buy American-made cars over the Fourth of July holiday might be surprised to learn that Japanese brands Toyota and Honda produce some of the "most American” vehicles on the market. In fact, according to Edmunds.com, the “most American” vehicle in four of eight vehicle segments is made by one of the two Japanese brands.

Edmunds.com’s analysis found that the Toyota Avalon (80 percent U.S./Canadian content) was the “most American” car among sedans. The Toyota Tundra (75 percent) and Toyota Venza (65 percent) each tied for the “most American” vehicle distinction within the Trucks and Wagons categories, respectively. Meanwhile, Honda Crosstour (75 percent) is the “most American” car among hatchbacks.

‘MOST AMERICAN’ VEHICLES, BY CATEGORY

Category

Vehicle

% U.S./Canadian Composition*

Convertibles

Chrysler 200

74%

Coupes

Chevrolet Camaro

71%

Hatchbacks

Honda Crosstour

75%

Minivans

Dodge Grand Caravan

80%

Sedans

Toyota Avalon

80%

SUV/Crossovers

Ford Expedition

80%

Trucks

(tie) Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra

75%

Wagons

(tie) Cadillac CTS Wagon, Toyota Venza

65%


* -   percentage of U.S./Canadian content based on information reported by carmakers to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA).

 “In a world of global supply chains, buying an ‘American’ car can be difficult,” said Carroll Lacnit,  Edmunds.com consumer advice editor. “A car’s ‘American-ness’ is often in the eye of the car shopper and the manufacturer. The 2013 Avalon, for example, was designed, engineered and manufactured in the United States, and 80 percent of its content is domestic. Many car buyers, however, reject the idea that a company based in Tokyo City makes ‘American’ cars.”

Finding a car that's born and bred in the United States was supposed to be made easier by the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA), which requires carmakers to provide parts-sourcing and manufacturing information to car buyers. But the AALA list, which Edmunds.com used for its analysis, can be puzzling, the online vehicle information site said. Under its provisions, for example, the term "American" means either U.S. or Canadian content.

To comply with AALA, the window sticker of a new car must have a section that shows:

  • The percentage of U.S./Canadian parts content for the car line.
  • The names of any countries other than the U.S. and Canada that individually contribute 15 percent or more of the equipment content, and the percentage of content for each such country, to a maximum of two countries.
  • The final assembly point by city, state (where appropriate) and country.
  • The country of origin of the engine.
  • The country of origin of the transmission.
  • A statement that explains that parts content does not include final assembly (except the engine and transmission), distribution or other non-parts costs.

Ultimately, said Edmunds.com, car buyers still have to decide if those factors add up to their personal definitions of an “American” car.

 

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