Tesla takes top ‘American-Made’ spot from Ford in list

Tesla has knocked Ford out of the top spot in the annual ranking of which vehicles are most American.

The Tesla Model 3, assembled in Fremont, California, is No. 1 in the 2021 American-Made Index, the first time an electric vehicle has held the spot. The index dates to 2006.


The Ford Ranger midsize pickup, assembled in Wayne, Michigan, was No. 1 last year, but has fallen out of the top 10 in part because of “a fairly steep reduction” in content under the American Automobile Labeling Act, which relates to whether parts are considered domestic or foreign, according to Kelsey Mays, assistant managing editor for and lead researcher for the index.

Tesla also scored the No. 3 spot with its Model Y crossover, assembled in Fremont.


“Tesla has now cemented itself firmly” on the list, Mays said in a news release. Last year was the first time Tesla was even on it because the automaker previously had not provided enough information.

“Although we judge models on an individual basis, it’s worth noting that Tesla is the only major automaker to claim 100% domestic production for all cars it sells in the U.S., well above the industry’s roughly 52% average for the 2021 model year,” Mays said in answer to a Free Press question.

The news wasn’t all bad for Ford. The Dearborn automaker managed a No. 2 ranking with the Mustang (Flat Rock, Michigan). The other members of the Detroit Three, Stellantis and General Motors, also had vehicles in the top 10. The Jeep Cherokee (Belvidere, Illinois) came in at No. 4, and the Chevrolet Corvette (Bowling Green, Kentucky) was at No. 5.

Honda claimed spots 6 through 9 with its (in order) Ridgeline, Odyssey, Pilot and Passport, all assembled in Lincoln, Alabama, and Toyota was at No. 10, with the Tundra, assembled in San Antonio, Texas.

Most car shoppers (72%) consider a vehicle’s U.S. economic impact a “significant or deciding factor” in their purchase decision, according to the news release, citing a survey conducted this year.

The list “ranks the new vehicles that contribute the most to the U.S. economy based on criteria ranging from U.S. factory jobs and manufacturing plants to parts sourcing,” the release said.

Mays noted that the index is being released in the midst of tight inventory shaped by the global chip shortage and high consumer demand for vehicles.

“Despite this, there remains a high consumer focus on buying American-made vehicles as the economy is still emerging from the effects of the pandemic. For those interested in making the biggest impact here, the index gives shoppers a way to purchase the most American-made vehicle,” Mays said in the release.


Top 10 2021 American-Made Index, including assembly location and 2020 ranking

Tesla Model 3: Fremont, California (4)

Ford Mustang: Flat Rock, Michigan (34)

Tesla Model Y: Fremont (unranked)

Jeep Cherokee: Belvidere, Illinois (2)

Chevrolet Corvette: Bowling Green, Kentucky (8)

Honda Ridgeline: Lincoln, Alabama (6)


Honda Odyssey: Lincoln (5)

Honda Pilot: Lincoln (13)

Honda Passport: Lincoln (7)

Toyota Tundra: San Antonio, Texas (16)

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