Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) declined to hear a challenge to the constitutionality of the Trump White House’s imposition of tariffs on steel for national security reasons. The plaintiffs in the case were American steel importers who earlier this spring requested that the SCOTUS review a ruling from March by the U.S. Court of International Trade that upheld the constitutionality of the invocation of Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which allows a president to impose tariffs in cases involving national security.
With the steel tariffs likely to be upheld, this is leaving many auto buyers and sellers to wonder, are there ANY completely American made vehicles? Or if they are made in the U.S., how much imported steel are they using? How much of these tariffs will have to get either eaten by dealers or passed on to buyers in an already weak new vehicle sales marketplace? What exactly IS an American-made vehicle?
Cars.com has a few answers. In its recent American-Made Index, Cars.com ranked vehicles by the percentage of the vehicle made in the U.S. and how much domestic steel is used in production. The index analyzes a range of factors to determine which new cars and trucks contribute the most to the American economy, regardless of where the carmaker is headquartered.
The top five on the most American-made index include:
- Jeep Cherokee, assembled mostly in Belvedere, Illinois
- Honda Odyssey, assembled in Lincoln, Alabama
- Honda Ridgeline, assembled in Lincoln, Alabama
- Honda Passport, assembled in Lincoln, Alabama
- Chevrolet Corvette, Bowling Green, Kentucky
Other makes and models rounding out the top 10 include the Acura MDX, the Honda Pilot, the Chevrolet Colorado, the GMC Canyon and the Acura RDX.
The Jeep Cherokee is built with American-sourced engines and transmissions in Illinois, and it shows up at the top of the index for the second year in a row. With the Jeep Wrangler topping the list in 2017, it gives FCA (Jeep’s parent company) the top spot for three years running.
What’s giving buyers and sellers of vehicles pause is that, in 2018, the index noted that the Cherokee was made up of 72 percent domestic parts, which means that even on the most American-made vehicle, 28 percent of it will potentially fall under the hammer of tariffs.