Monday, June 28, 2010

My Accord (and Camry) is American made

Years and years ago, I knew some people who worked for a Michigan Congressman from the Detroit area. The Congressman, who naturally wanted to represent his constituents, was obviously interested in promoting "buy American" programs when it came to cars.

That Congressman has long since retired, but I wonder if he'd still support the same program today. You see, the Michigan-based automotive companies are no longer the leaders in U.S.-based car manufacturing, according to Business 360 and From the latter:'s American-Made Index rates vehicles built and bought in the U.S. Factors include sales, where the car's parts come from and whether the car is assembled in the U.S. We disqualify models with a domestic parts content rating below 75 percent, models built exclusively outside the U.S. or models soon to be discontinued without a U.S.-built successor....

The Toyota Camry, which dethroned the Ford F-150 pickup in last year's AMI, remains at the top for 2010. But the No. 2 model, Honda's strong-selling Accord, surged unexpectedly. Since the AMI's 2006 inception, we've scrutinized two generations of Accords. In the past, Honda sold few imported Accords to U.S. buyers — "a percentage below 10 percent for many years," spokesman Ed Miller said — but the Accord spent several years with its domestic parts percentage in the 60s. That's not the case this year. With all Accords sold in the U.S. now assembled in either Ohio or Alabama, the Accord's 75 percent domestic content and strong sales came close to unseating Toyota for first place.

A Ford spokesman referred to "more global sourcing" as the reason for the change in the F-150's domestic content figure, which has now dropped below the 75% level.

For the record, there are three Toyotas, two Fords, two Hondas, one Chevrolet, one Dodger, and one Jeep on the top ten list.

But it does make you wonder - what is an American car? And with global sourcing, how do you keep track of the American-ness of a car from year to year?
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