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Cars.com releases 2017 American-Made index

Cars.com has released its American-Made Index, an annual ranking of the "most-American" vehicles. For the first time in the list's history, the Jeep Wrangler has topped the index as the overall "most-American" vehicle for 2017. The 2017 Cars.com American-Made Index is in fact topped by two Ohio-built SUVs from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the Jeep Wrangler (including the Wrangler Unlimited four-door) and second-place Jeep Cherokee.

"Over the American-Made Index's 11-year history, the number of models meeting our original criteria has fallen due to the globalization of automobile manufacturing – from more than 60 vehicles in the index's inaugural year to eight last year," said Joe Wiesenfelder, Cars.com's executive editor. "By the original requirements, only three 2017 models would have qualified this year. With that, we've revamped the AMI to account for the changing landscape and to reinforce factors representing the domestic economic impact when a buyer purchases one model versus another. Cars.com analyzed more than 100 light-duty passenger vehicles built in the U.S. to arrive at the top 10."

For 2017, the revamped index now bases the ranking on five key criteria.

Assembly location: The location in which the vehicle's assembly plant is located

Domestic parts content: Percentage of a vehicle's parts content originating in the United States and Canada as determined by the American Automobile Labeling Act

Country of engine origin

Country of transmission origin

U.S. factory employment: Each automaker's direct U.S. factory employment relative to its sales footprint

Rank - Make/Model - U.S. Assembly Plant Location(s)
1. Jeep Wrangler/Wrangler Unlimited - Toledo, Ohio
2. Jeep Cherokee - Toledo, Ohio
3. Ford Taurus - Chicago
4. Honda Ridgeline - Lincoln, Ala.
5. Acura RDX - East Liberty, Ohio
6. Ford F-150 - Dearborn, Mich./Claycomo, Mo.
7. Ford Expedition - Louisville, Ky.
8. GMC Acadia - Spring Hill, Tenn.
9. Honda Odyssey - Lincoln, Ala.
10. Honda Pilot - Lincoln, Ala.

Two Ohio-built SUVs from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles topped Cars.com's 2017 American-Made Index: the Jeep Wrangler (including the Wrangler Unlimited four-door) and Jeep Cherokee. Their domestic-parts content were among the highest figures Cars.com observed in this year's AMI: 74 percent for the Wrangler, 75 percent for the Wrangler Unlimited and 70 percent for the Cherokee. All engines and nearly all transmissions for the Wrangler and Cherokee hail from the U.S., and FCA assembles both nameplates in Toledo, Ohio.

"In an era of build-American sentiment, a sizable portion of shoppers still care where their car comes from," said Wiesenfelder. "That said, it is important for shoppers to remember that the logo on the vehicle doesn't necessarily tell the full story. The cars on this year's list of the 'most-American' hail from automakers headquartered in Europe and Asia as well as North America. Conversely, some vehicles with distinctively American brand names rank low by AMI standards."

In a recent Cars.com survey among in-market car shoppers, it was determined that 25 percent of respondents would consider buying only from an American manufacturer (compared with 13 percent in 2016), and only 5 percent would consider buying solely from a foreign manufacturer. Other insights gathered from consumers include1:

Of the 25 percent of respondents who consider buying only from American manufacturers, over 50 percent cite support of the local economy and brand loyalty as their primary reasons.

When asked which cars were believed to be the "most American," nearly three-quarters of respondents included the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford F-150, Ford Expedition and Ford Taurus, and only 10 percent included the Honda Ridgeline, this year's fourth "most-American" vehicle.

Nearly 28 percent respondents who identified as being between 18-24 years old would consider buying only from American manufacturers, compared with 21 percent of those who identified themselves as being at least 55 years old.

06/26/17

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