Just missing the top spot in Cars.com's annual American Made Index, the Ford F-150 (built in both Dearborn, Mich., and Claycomo, Mo.) finished just behind the four-time-winning Toyota Camry.
To qualify for the list, a vehicle must have at least 75 percent domestic parts content and be assembled in the United States. The AMI uses two separate pieces of information to determine parts content, with total sales used as a weighting factor — the first is the percentage of domestic parts by cost on each car (and by congressional mandate, "domestic" includes parts from Canada as well, reflecting the long-standing parts industry along our shared border); the other requirement lists the vehicle's final assembly point.
As noted, the more sales, the higher a particular qualifier can move up the rankings. Why do they do this? Cars.com says the more units of a certain car that are sold, the more suppliers and autoworkers are employed to build, sell and service that car. In the end, the idea is that any car that has a vast majority of domestic parts, assembled by hands in the U.S. and embraced by hundreds of thousands of American consumers is an American-made product, regardless of the brand name.
According to the story, the F-150 missed the top spot by just two days of sales. The F-150 was once a common AMI leader, topping the index from 2006 to 2008, but lower domestic parts content had dropped the best-selling pickup off the list for several years. With its domestic parts content back to 75 percent — up from 60 percent in 2011 — the F-150 returns to the AMI for 2012. Additionally, Cars.com calculates that the F-Series is the best-selling vehicle exclusively built in the U.S.
The only other pickup truck making the list, at No. 7 for 2012, is the Toyota Tundra, which is built in San Antonio. (It finished ninth last year.) To find out exactly where certain vehicles are made and how the number of auto plants in the U.S. have migrated throughout the country over the last30 years, click here.