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How American is your car


What makes an automobile “American?” An interesting question, probably one none of us has bothered to ponder but with a globalized manufacturing supply chain a typical American Brand like a Ford could in theory be less “American” than Honda or Kia for example.

In a recent study GM and Ford finished first and second that looked at a car’s American make-up. The Kogod School of Business out of American University (coincidence, we think not!) produced the study which is in its fourth year of publication. The meat of the data is derived from the American Automobile Labeling Act (1994) which obliged automakers to provide window sticker information on which parts were U.S. and Canadian assembled (which also included the country of origin for the engine and transmission).

The goal is to provide consumers with a “real” view of how and from where their car was built. GM’s Buick Enclave, Cadillac CTS Coupe, Chevy Corvette, Chevy Traverse, GMC Acadia and Acadia Denali all scored a high of 87.5 points. Of a total of 338 cars in the index. 56 tied for last with a score of 1. The highest score for a foreign automaker was Honda, specifically the Accord with a score of 81.

A couple notable findings were foreign companies were more likely to utilize fewer produced parts from the U.S. even if they were stationed in American locations. U.S. economic impact therefore is lower as the car’s home country receives the bulk of its profits. One item however that isn’t captured is the research and development activities that go into each vehicle.

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