By law, new light trucks and passenger vehicles must display a label containing the percentage of U.S./Canada content and information on the origin of components such as engines and transmissions. Why, when determining domestic content, is Canada treated as if it were part of the U.S.? Lobbying by U.S. automakers, which have plants and suppliers in Canada and want the vehicles they produce to appear less “foreign” to those who would prefer to buy American.
It’s unlikely there will ever again be a production vehicle capable of carrying a “Made in the U.S.A.” label—or for that matter that of any single country. Auto making is a global enterprise and components come from all over the world. There’s a parallel here between tools and vehicles. A tool can receive a “Made in the U.S.A.” label only if virtually everything in it comes from this country. That’s easy enough with “simple” tools such as screwdrivers (or pliers, hammers, or pry bars); all that’s required is domestically produced steel for the shaft and plastic for the handle, and the know-how to turn them into a finished product. The same can’t be said for power tools or vehicles; there are simply too many parts and processes to make everything in a single country for a competitive price.
In 2015 no production vehicle could claim more than 75% U.S. and Canadian content. Click on the slideshow to see where your favorite brand/model fits in. I have included 10 pickups listed in ascending order of U.S./Canada content. The captions include the countries where trucks are assembled and where the engines and transmissions were produced. It’s important to note that component sourcing varies from model to model and can change throughout the year. Most of the data for this story was collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in accordance with the American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA) of 1992, and refers to vehicles sold in the U.S. The same (or similar) models may be assembled outside of the U.S. for sale in other countries.
Also included in the captions are the percentage rankings from the Kogod School of Business Made in America Auto Index, a more sophisticated analysis that takes into account the flow of profits from the production of vehicles and where research and development is performed.