Ford Ranger, Tesla models tops ‘American-Made’ car index

Images of New Ford Ranger

Ford Motor’s new Ranger truck achieved No.1 rank in vehicles that contribute most to the U.S. economy, while three of Tesla’s models placed in the top nine.

The two automaker’s brands couldn’t be found in Cars.com’s top 10 last year but stood out in the 2020 version of the automotive site’s “American-Made Index.” Ford’s pickup and Tesla’s Model S, X, and 3 have made their debut in the annual study.

“Tesla’s participation is one of the major developments this year,” said Kelsey Mays, senior editor of Cars.com. The electric-car maker fared well as it is using a lot of U.S.-sourced drivetrain components, and its American vehicle assembly employs many workers, Mays said.

Honda Motor matched Tesla with three vehicles in the top 10 but is down from five last year. Honda’s Odyssey minivan, Ridgeline pickup, and Passport SUV all are assembled in Lincoln, Alabama. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep Cherokee took the No. 2 slot, losing one spot.

General Motors’ Chevrolet Corvette was another repeat top-10 finisher, joined by the Chevy Colorado mid-size truck which ranked at No. 10.

The ranking is based on five criteria Cars.com has said aren’t equally weighed, including assembly location, parts sourcing as figured out by the American Automobile Labeling Act, factory employment relative to sales and sourcing of engines and transmissions. Of the approximately 350 new vehicles on the market in the U.S., 91 qualified for inclusion in the index.

More than two-thirds of American customers who responded to a May survey said they considered U.S. economic impact when they were purchasing a vehicle, according to Cars.com, essentially unchanged from last year. But 37% of respondents said the spread of coronavirus will make them more likely to buy a U.S.-made model, with just 4% replying they will be less likely to do so.

Domestic parts content also will become more important under a new trade agreement the U.S. struck in 2019 with Canada and Mexico to replace North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Under President Donald Trump’s renegotiated deal, automakers must boost North American content to avoid tariffs. They also must comply with tighter minimum-wage standards for employees.

The new USMCA rules will be in effect from July 1, but the U.S. is giving automakers five years to meet major requirements.

Top 10

1. Ford Ranger

2. Jeep Cherokee

3. Tesla Model S

4. Tesla Model 3

5. Honda Odyssey

6. Honda Ridgeline

7. Honda Passport

8. Chevrolet Corvette

9. Tesla Model X

10. Chevrolet Colorado

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