Every year on Independence Day, millions of Americans tackle the same series of questions: Where can I go to see the fireworks? What kind of snarky Facebook status update can I write that will make me feel superior while irritating my British friends? And what does it really mean to be American?
Well, here's a new one: What does it really mean for a car to be American? Once it was as simple as Chevy=American, Honda=Japanese and BMW=German. But global manufacturing, global design centers and global supply chains have muddied those distinctions. If a car is designed at Toyota's Californian studio by American industrial designers, then produced by American workers at Toyota's Mississippi factory, is that a Japanese car?
American University's Kogod School of Business has released an index to help answer questions like these. They've looked at the big picture by taking all of the following into account:
- Profit Margin: Where the automaker's global headquarters is located
- Labor: Where the car is assembled
- Research and Development Inventory, Capital, and Other Expenses: Location of assembly
- Engine and Transmission: Location of production
- Body, Interior, Chassis, Electrical, and Other: Location of production
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration AALA "Domestic Content" Score
By crunching the numbers, they've determined a ranking of what are, in essence, the most- and least-American cars. Top of the list is nothing to brag about, I'm afraid: The 2015 Buick Enclave is ranked #1 with an 87.5% domestic content figure.
But the list gets more surprising the further down it you go. Honda's Odyssey minivan is more American (78.5%) than Chrysler's Jeep Grand Cherokee (75%). The Toyota Camry is more American (78.5%) than the Ford Mustang (77.5%). The Acura RDX beats the Tesla, the Hyundai Santa Fe beats the Chevy Camaro, the Honda Accord beats the Dodge Viper, et cetera.
Take a gander at the list here, type your car model into the search box, and see just how Yankee your ride is. The answer might surprise you.
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