The ‘Made in America Index’ tells you how much of your car was built at home

Is your choice of car contributing to the health of the U.S. economy?
Is your choice of car contributing to the health of the U.S. economy? –Getty Images

How much of your car’s existence – the parts, the assembly, even the development research – can be attributed to American work?

This is an important question to consider for consumers who want their vehicle purchase to deliver a boost to the U.S. economy.

The Kogod 2016 Made in America Auto Index seeks to help “patriotic’’ consumers find the most American-made vehicle for their needs. The index, now in its fourth year, was developed by Frank DuBois, an associate professor at the Kogod School of Business at American University.

Since the passage of the American Automotive Labeling Act, automakers have been required to reveal information about the amount of U.S. and Canadian parts in their cars, the nation where each vehicle is assembled, and their transmissions’ country of origin.


DuBois’s model aims to expand on the AALA data by also accounting for the location of a manufacturer’s research and development arm, the country of origin for a vehicle’s engine, and the country where profits made from each vehicle sale will ultimately end up.

“What I’m trying to do is provide more information to consumers,’’ said DuBois in a phone interview with “After a house, a car is the largest purchase decision you’re going to make. If you believe country of origin is a critical part of the decision, this index provides you more information than what you’ll see on a sticker at a dealership.’’

DuBois points out that the U.S. auto industry employed 1.55 million workers directly last year and supported 5.7 million additional jobs through repair shops, part supply stores and auto dealerships.

Three General Motors vehicles tied for first places in the Kogod index. The Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia all had 90 percent “domestically-produced content,’’ DuBois’s catch-all term for his expanded metrics.

But even consumers who prefer overseas car brands can still support the U.S. economy with their purchase. The Honda Accord, which was ranked 19th last year, now has the fifth-highest rate of domestic content at 81 percent.


The index ranks hundreds of vehicles, and you can see the whole thing here.

The following cars, trucks and SUVs include 80 percent domestic content or greater.

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