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Tesla Model Y nabs title of most American-made 2022 model


Tesla Inc. nabbed the top two spots and saw all four of its models land in the top 10 of Cars.com's 2022 American-Made Index.

The electric-vehicle maker's Model Y and Model 3 were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on the annual ranking released Tuesday of available current-year models that have the greatest impact on the U.S. economy. This marks the second consecutive year that the Austin, Texas-based startup has claimed the title of most American-made. 

Tesla's regional approach to manufacturing helped it dominate the top of the index. The company claims 100% domestic production for all cars it sells in the U.S., above the industry's approximately 52% average, according to Cars.com. Tesla's U.S. lineup is assembled in plants in California and Texas, with major components sourced domestically and in some cases from in-house.

The complete list is available at Cars.com/ami. The top 10 includes:

  1. Tesla Model Y
  2. Tesla Model 3
  3. Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln Corsair
  4. Honda Passport
  5. Tesla Model X
  6. Tesla Model S
  7. Stellantis NV's Jeep Cherokee
  8. Honda Ridgeline
  9. Honda Odyssey
  10. Honda Pilot

Although General Motors Co. didn't have any vehicles at the top of the list, models from the Detroit automaker's brands claimed the largest share of the overall index. GM, Honda, Toyota Motor Corp. and Ford represented 19%, 14%, 12% and 12%, respectively, of all models included in the index.

The Lincoln Corsair, which is built at one of Ford's plants in Kentucky, jumped to No. 3 from No. 64 last year, which Cars.com attributed to Ford moving engine production for the vehicle from Spain to the U.S.

The ranking was released as U.S. consumers are increasingly interested in buying vehicles that are made in America, according to a recent Cars.com survey, with some 40% of car shoppers saying that buying an American-built car is now more important to them — up 22% year-over-year.

“One of the reasons for the American-made Index is to show consumers that the badge on the hood does not necessarily tell the whole story about the economic impact a vehicle can have," said Cars.com Editor-in-Chief Jenni Newman, speaking at an Automotive Press Association event this week. "Some people might come in and say, ‘Well Honda is a Japanese automaker and therefore I’m not going to consider it because I want to buy American,’ when in truth what our index shows is that, actually, it has a significant impact on the U.S. economy."

Cars.com looked at 379 vehicles available in the U.S. auto market. It does not disclose what content or sales volume thresholds it requires for vehicles to make the index, but 95 vehicles ended up on this year's list — meaning 284 didn't make the cut. In all, 14 automakers and 23 brands ended up on the list. 

The ranking takes into account five factors: assembly location, parts sourcing as determined by the American Automobile Labeling Act, U.S. factory employment relative to vehicle production, engine sourcing and transmission sourcing.

Michigan was the top state in terms of sourcing, production and assembly, at 15%, followed by 12% each in Ohio, Indiana and Alabama and 11% in Tennessee. But Cars.com's research indicates that the South overtook the Midwest in 2022, with 53% of vehicles from the index assembled in southern states — underscoring growing auto investments in the region from legacy automakers and startups alike.

Meanwhile, a wave of investment in electric vehicles as well as supply-chain challenges during the pandemic have the potential to bring more production back to the U.S. and reshape the index.

“The composition of this year’s much-anticipated American-Made Index is particularly interesting in the context of our current marketplace, where high gas prices and scarce inventory meet peak consumer interest in electric vehicles and a heightened demand for American-made products,” Newman said in a statement.

“That Tesla — an American-made all-electric make — appears frequently and high up on the list may indicate a coming alignment of market forces that could really explode once we break through microchip supply chain issues, especially if gas prices remain historically high," she added. "It also bodes well for other OEMs, including Honda, Ford and GM, working to diversify product lines with more EV and hybrid options.”

jgrzelewski@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @JGrzelewski