American-Made Index: Fate of Detroit Pickups

By Kelsey Mays,

Once American-Made Index mainstays, Detroit pickup trucks had a weak showing this year. The Ford F-150, which was at one point the No. 1 model for five AMIs in a row, has dropped off the index entirely; the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, which has made an appearance on every AMI since 2006, has also dropped off. The culprit? Falling domestic parts content on both models — in the F-150’s case, significantly.

As recently as the 2007 model year, the Silverado 1500 and its GMC Sierra 1500 sibling were rated at 90 percent for domestic parts content. (DPC, required by the American Automobile Labeling Act since 1994, rates the percentage, by cost, of a model’s parts that come from the U.S. or Canada; medium- and heavy-duty trucks are not rated.) The F-150 was rated at 75 percent DPC for the 2009 model year. That’s not the case anymore. The F-150 fell to 55 percent for the 2010 model year. The Silverado, on a steady DPC decline since 2007, has dipped this year below 75 percent — our minimum threshold for AMI-eligible vehicles. Both pickups continue to sell well, but falling DPCs have bedeviled their AMI rankings. For Ford, this is a result of “more global sourcing,” spokesman Mark Schirmer said.

That’s not to say Detroit pickups are off the list for good. The Dodge Ram 1500, whose Quad and crew cabs are assembled in Warren, Mich., has 76 percent DPC for 2010. That’s up from a lowly 53 percent for the 2009 model year, and it helped the Ram earn its first entry on the AMI. The F-150 and Silverado 1500, meanwhile, are assembled for the U.S. market in Michigan, Missouri, Indiana and Mexico. We’ve heard no plans from GM or Ford to move the majority of production for either U.S.-market pickup elsewhere, and given the recent volatility of DPC figures for both trucks, it’s quite possible either one could make it back on next year’s AMI.


i find this to be a catch-22 type decision. on one hand,if your ford and are assembling cars and trucks in mexico,thenyou save money. that money you saved however goes to pay mexico, their workers, and any interest and taxes. why do car and truck manufacturers act like they dont make a profit on their products? if the salesman completeing a loan for your purchase can make a profit, then the manufacturer on a larger scale makes a profit too. its sad to see our world revolve around a dollar. oh well though, thats life.

i just wish all the domestics would keep all their plants in the usa. so we can truly say that our products are made here, and not say 55 percent or 75 percent come from here.

Top 10 "American Made"

1. Toyota Camry
2. Honda Accord
3. Ford Escape
4. Ford Focus
5. Chevrolet Malibu
6. Honda Odyssey
7. Dodge Ram 1500
8. Toyota Tundra
9. Jeep Wrangler
10. Toyota Sienna

Grand Total

4 Toyota
2 Ford Corp
2 Chrysler Corp
1 GM Corp
1 Honda Corp

I can't wait for the "domestics are still better because profits leave the country" excuse to start surfacing again..... and again..... and again!

Looks like Toyota is the number one American company.

There's a lot more to an "american made car" than where it is manufactured or assembled. All of the engineering and design is done in the US, making it an American car. If you design a car in Germany, and it is assembled in the US, it is still a German car.
I'll support the American engineers first -- no exceptions.

Matt is 100% right my 02 dakotas sales sheet said 92% American parts and it was assembled in mich. I still have that sales sheet makes me proud

It is Washington D.C.'s fault that American automakers are using foreign-built parts and assembling their cars and trucks in other countries. Ford isn't manufacturing in Mexico because it's convenient. They are doing it to keep their prices competitive. If Washington D.C. would lower taxes and regulations, then then American automakers would build and assemble their cars almost entirely in America. Our stupid politicians are the problem; don't listen when those morons blame Ford, GM, and Chrysler.

This was Lou from last year:
"Whats more American? A Toyota made in Texas using a majority of American parts or a Dodge (owned by Italian Fiat) made in Mexico ?" - Lou

The answer now is Dodge. It is a sad day for Tundra lovers.


I would look at the blood sucking UAW having a bigger impact on domestic auto companies then the government. Foreign based companies that have U.S. branches have to pay U.S. taxes on the branches they have here.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti union (I'm a union worker myself) but I am anti union when the union is part of the reason why the company is dying.

@ Dave - you missed the point I was trying to make last year.
Many guys go on and on about American trucks being the best for no reason other than being "American".

The "Detroit" trucks are no more "American made" than the Japanese.
Last year, Dodge Ram (especially the HD) was the poster-boy for an "American company" who's truck was "foreign made" and "foreign owned".

This year Ford(F series) and GM Corp trucks (Sierra and Silverado) are the example of domestic "foreign made" trucks.

I used to have a higher regard for Toyota products but reputable reports and events over the last year have lowered my "internal" ratings.

I don't care who makes the products I buy as long as they are good quality, and a price I can afford!

It is not a sad day for Tundra lovers.

It is a sad day for "BUY AMERICAN ONLY" proponents.

@get it

bingo, you are right on the money... labour in mexico is cheap plus no unions. Americans buy the cheapest (best deal) product so how do you expect any american company to compete, they have to use cheaper labour and/or parts made by mexican labour. its a vicious circle, everyone whines they want an all american built car but are not willing to pay for it when there is a shiny new kia sitting next too it that is just as good and 10 grand cheaper.

@ Matt - I'll support the American engineers first -- no exceptions.

Where do you think Toyota designed and engineered the Tundra? .......... USA

Ford has gone to "Global platforms".
Where do you think many of their products were designed and engineered?............ Europe

So is the Tundra American?

Are Ford's compact cars European?

Is Ford's Ecoboost engine European?

Many guys go on and on about American trucks being the best for no reason other than being "American". - Lou


No, they do not. That is just a straw man argument you created.

I agree, it would be best to put more people to work here in the USA (engineers, tradesmen, whatever) so that more people can afford to buy more products.

I also agree that the unions are bloodsuckers out for short-term gains and not at all concerned with the lifeblood of a company.

And upper management is also sort-term blood suckers when they take huge million-dollar payouts. Greed to the extreme that does just as much harm to a company's balance sheet.

Fact is, things are WAY out of whack in this country. Things won't get better until there is SHARED responsibility. in our companies, our communities and our nation.

@Dave - Is it a "strawman" argument countering misinformation, Xenophobia, racism etc.?
I am not going to let misinformation go unchallenged.
I've seen guys (On this site) say they hate Toyota because they made "war machines" for Japan in WW2.
I've seen outright racist comments (On this site) levied against Indian and Japanese people and companies.

An American name plate no longer guarantees an American product.

Like it or not - that is the new reality.

A staw foundation is a poor base to build anything upon.

Okay so where do we find where most of the parts are coming from? I bet a majority are coming from either Canada or Mexico. Second can anyone blame a global company for using all of its resources, this is how business succeed... or would someone like to call Ford and say they have been making nothing but mistakes the past few months. Even if it is coming from Canada or Mexico its still "American" even if its not made in the USA. Oh and although Ford builds trucks in Mexico for Mexico, all the trucks built for the US and Canada are built in the USA... Parts and some motors (6.7L / 4.4L Diesel) do come from Mexico.

@Shawn - according to "American content" rules - anything made in Canada is considered American made.

Quote:Second can anyone blame a global company for using all of its resources, this is how business succeed

I agree with you 100%. A company such as Ford used its "Global Resources" to its financial advantage. Ford has done well because of that strategy.
Toyota or any other successful company does the same.

This is a highly complex and often highly emotional topic.
It is not black and white.
Who owns the company?
Where is the head office located?
Where do the profits go?
Where did the engineering work take place?
Who designed it?
Where are the parts made?
Where is the assembly plant located?
What is the product's history?
What is a person's personal history with the product?

Looks like I opened a huge can of worms ;)

Great posts.

Unless your a shareholder, WHO CARES WHERE THE PROFITS GO!!!

Stop comparing auto companies to nations, none of the auto giants were signatory's to the U.S. Constitution, so they are not and have nothing to do with the Constitution nor the U.S. flag, (well GM these days) so stop comparing auto companies that are in the business of making profits to government entities (again GM)...

GM, Ford and Chrysler do not care about the U.S., they care about making profits for doing business!

These companies report to shareholders, not the U.S. taxpayers (GM again), so stop comparing the two...

@oxi - valid point!

If you say you don't care where the profits go, it means you care.

This "American Index" is a measure of where Tier 1 supplier factories are located, as well as engine plants, etc. It's not a meaningful measure of where anything actually comes from.

What I find incredibly funny is not only are the Japanese incapable of building a suitable truck themselves, they aren't even capable of hiring Americans that can. Incompetence from top to bottom when it comes to the light truck market.

Dodge Ram #1 American Truck...I love it. Course look at the picture and see that tough American look of the Ram. What a beauty.

Most domestic suppliers for Japanese vehicles assembled in the US are Japanese owned.

So...again, Japanese cars and trucks assembled in America, are not American, they are simply Japanese cars and trucks assembled here.

I am not saying they don't employ some Americans and leave some money behind, I am just saying that they are Japanese cars and trucks.

That ought to fire a few Japanese butt kissers up!

A couple testimonies from another site:
i will give you a hint, its the escape who is most American, dont let them fool you like they are a lot of people, that camry or tundra smells like rice when it pulls up next to you. i worked for a place for one day, pacific manufacturing, HUGE jap company that assembles engine covers and foam parts for the camry and the tundra. ok, EVERYTHING in the place said made in japan on it, machinery, things to clean the floors with, all the parts in the place. even the upper management is from japan, there are not American employees till you get to middle to lower management, they cant hardly speak English. The metal they use over in the stamping side along with all the other machines, it also all comes from japan. no wonder that 93% of the sticker price of every toyota goes back to japan.


Well said. The only reason the Japanese companies started assembling cars here was to cheat the American system, later they discovered it was a huge propaganda tool. They have told the lie that they are "made in USA" for so long that a huge percentage of weak minded Americans actually believe it and do not look into the details on how the indexes really work. Workers at those plants are simple pawns of their Imperial Japanese overseers.

That ought to fire a few Jap butt kissers up!

You made me believe you created a straw man argument because what you wrote people say for NO OTHER REASON than being American makes them better. Maybe you are not trying to, but honestly, I have never heard anyone say that no other reason than being American makes them better. People who claim the "domestic" trucks are better usually have more to their argument . They will also say something about quality or capability or something like that.


Just so you know Japan recently surpassed the Peoples Republic of China in holding our debt.

In other words, Japan is the number 1 holder of our debt, put it in simpler wording, they are the number 1 nation to fund our government here...

So even you know your logic is flawed about where profits go but if you insist on that whiny logic, if profits go to Japan and helps them well guess what, Japan returns the favor by funding our government at the T-bill auctions and buying our debt since we cannot balance a budget...

So, come again...

@mark...based on your information that China has taken over the majority of the United States debt. Then China being the major stock holder in our governement can only mean that GM and Chrysler are owned by China. Which means our buy american sloggan is a farce and bail out monies that are payed back go right into China's pocket.

Just adding more fuel to the fire.

The question becomes...who is really driving this nation? It certainly doesn't look like elected officials are.

Toyota employs 12% of it's global workforce in the US. GM employs 40% of it's global workforce in the US.

GM alone nearly employs as many Americans as all the foreign transplants combined.

Additionally many domestically operated suppliers are Japanese owned (example Yazaki, Yorozu, Denso) . Parts sourced from these suppliers counts as north American content. So all it's not simple as taking the label percentage as the holy grail of domestic benefit.

I guess we can conveniently ignore those 1.5 million vehicles imported by Toyota from Japan annually into north American from the total of the American made index.

In total, all vehicle sales by all manufacturers the view of what's American made index becomes more relevant to what effects the real world in total, and not some trumped up selective criteria article to push a falsely pretensed agenda.

Hey Mark, I guess the Dana axles, Rancho shocks and Goodyear tires on my Titan came from Japan? LMAO. How about the US sourced frames on the Tacoma? Other items on on my Titan are shared with Big 3 products. Take a peek at how many companies use Bosch systems in their vehicles. Or how about foriegn radios? ALso there is more to foreign manufacturers here than just plant laborers. GUess you are blissfully unaware they have entire divisions here from engineering and so on down. Just like the Big 3 have in Europe and China and so forth.

The bigest holder of US debt is the is by far the United States itself. Japan is not even close to be the biggest. The second biggest are US institutions. The third is China and the 4th is Japan. And US pension funds are the 5th largest.

With regards to Japan buying more US tbills, oh goody!!!! We’re saved! Now we can spend more "free money"! Thanks Oxi! I love watching the Obamaeconomy grow and grow and grow.

I think Oxi hit the nail on the head - quote "Stop comparing auto companies to nations"
Foreign countries own our debt as Oxi pointed out. I also mentioned it it another thread.

The companies are multinational. Head office and where profits go are becoming more inconsequential.

GDP or gross domestic product is :
The total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given year.
GDP includes only goods and services produced within the geographic boundaries of the U.S., regardless of the producer's nationality.

Bottom line - who makes it, where the parts come from, even where it's made is becoming less important.

I bet that next year the "American Made" index will show another large shift.

The important part is: can we afford it, and is it a quality product.
Brand loyalty is slowly dying. Truck guys seem to be the most loyal group left.

@Mark - I've seen guys slag Japanese cars, trucks, and motorcycles for no reason other than being Japanese. There are people who give quality,fit and finish reasons for hating "Jap" vehicles and then throw in rants about foreign companies or foreigners. They tie a legitimate concern to a hate statement to give credibility to the hate statement. That seems to me - a form of strawman argument.
As you can see - I love a good debate.
It's been fun discussing this topic with you. I look foreward to your posts in the future.

I've seen guys slag Japanese cars, trucks, and motorcycles for no reason other than being Japanese. - Lou


Sometimes that may happen, but honestly, I haven't seen it very much at all on this site. I have seen where people call them Jap crap. This is insulting, but the person making the statement isn't just hating the Japanese truck for being Japanese, they are also calling them "crap: which may relate to the quality in some way. Going the other way, I have seen Japanese truck owners like Oxi hate the "domestics" constantly. So it can go both ways.

I will see if Three Detroit Brands will halt to all pickup and traditional SUV will gone. it will more greedy for our US people. if your pickup is new brand will get old future. if your old pickup will get new parts, new paint and interior. it will prefect for your old will alive. it will great running against to junkyard. it will prefect parts in USA than Cuba.


"Going the other way, I have seen Japanese truck owners like Oxi hate the "domestics" constantly. So it can go both ways."

Just like the "Jap crap" I here from deomestic branded lovers...

Until U.S. brands can make something that can compete solidly against a Tacoma and fits my needs just maybe...

This is how it works. When Toyota sources a part or assembly from a Toyota owned supplier that has a US facility, even it was made on a Japanese sourced tool with imported steel, as long as that part is "assembled" in the US, it's a US part. It's a big shell game and gives people the warm & fuzzies while driving their "American as Apple Pie" Toyota Camry.

I think the reason that GM, Ford & Chrysler don't worry about it as much is because they have less incentive to do so. For example, when Toyota was getting all their tax breaks from San Antonio to build the Tundra plant, they promised that most of the parts & assemblies will be made on site. What they didn't say was that most of these on site suppliers were Toyota owned. The frame rails for the Tundra are made in Mexico with Chinese steel and get shipped in on rail. When the cross member gets attached at the supplier, it becomes a US made frame. What a bunch a BS.

I guarantee others would do the same if the incentive was there.

This applies to any automotive OEM selling cars in the United States - Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, etc, etc. These companies represent the archetypal global corporation, with operations that span the world over, and they source from vendors/suppliers that are "global" as well.

It is indeed a shell game and the "American" Index should be irrelevant to customers. The American Automobile Labeling Act and related provisions that force automakers to disclose this information should be repealed.

Japanese cars such as Camrys and Accords can never be top American cars simply because they are not American. It does not matter how much they source from Japanese owned plants located in America, they are still not American.

Look at it this way:
Ichiro Suzuki plays baseball here in America. Could he be included in the top 10 American baseball players list? – No, not until he becomes an American citizen, which will never happen.

He could however be included in: The top (x number) players playing in America list.

The media chooses incorrect words and phrases, and then this incorrect perception becomes generally accepted when heard over and over. I'm not falling for it - never!

@ kev Its not as black and white as you claim. How do you classify brands like Infinity that are `Japanese`but aren`t even sold in Japan? They exist exclusivly for other markets but their own. I beleive Acura and Scion are similar in concept that they are not sold in Japan. I honestly don`t care. People who feel the need to buy `American`have to very careful about the products they buy and if its that important it should be central to every purchase they make, not just vehicles. Walmart anyone? Iv`e seen Mercedes stamped airbag parts in Dodge Caravans before.

People will buy whatever they like and find some way to rationalize it, and that happens on both sides. If any company built a huge pickup truck that was fully loaded, lasted a million miles, did 0-60 in 3 seconds and had a 50,000lb tow rating while getting 50 mpg, everyone would want it, regardless of the brand or where it is made. That said, it is nice to support our economy. I can't stand people who complain about our economy, yet don't care where they are sending their money. You can't have it both ways. If you only support the local labor and not local corporations, then America becomes what China is (cheap labor) and China rules the world and we work for them for $2 a day.


What is so wrong with steel made in Mexico?

The frame rails for HEMTT military transports the U.S. Army uses are made in Mexico. And they are c-channel frames, not boxed!

people say that they vote with there dollars, as to the better car or truck. and then we end up with Japan Inc. comming out #1?. what do the people use to vote for the politicians that have ^&%$& up this great country of ours? just goes to show you that no matter how popular the vote goes, the best don't always rise to the top, just because more is sold don't mean its the best, or MEAN THERE THE BEST PERSON FOR THE OFFICE!!!!

@ Jordan L - People who feel the need to buy `American`have to very careful about the products they buy and if its that important it should be central to every purchase they make, not just vehicles.

That is the point I try to make over and over again. If you want to buy "American" products you have to look beyond the brand label.

Alex - I agree with your comments as well. You can not have it both ways.
How many people shop at Walmart? American company full of Chinese products.

Look at the auto companies - the F150 went from the top of the list at 75% down to 55%.
The Ram 1500 wasn't on the list last year and now is the only "domestic" on the list. It won't be too long and Fiat will have controlling interest of Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep.
The bitter irony of it all is that the most "American" truck(Ram) will become Italian owned.

When they rate the % of parts made in US does it include parts fron Canada? If Canadian parts are not included they should consider North America as a whole no country in the world buy as much American car as Canadians.

@joBlo - Canadian parts count as American made.

Dodge RAM most American.....Ford not so much...
Though I dont really care,Dodge RAM is still the best truck out today,and yesterday !!!!

Hell,I could imagine these knuckle heads slamming every other truck if..say Ford had the most American content !!!

Read the fine print for the Ram rating:
*Quad cab and crew cab only. Excludes Ram 1500 single cab, which is assembled in Mexico.

I did not know the light duty ram was made in Mexico. If so, why exclude it because it is a single cab? Hero journalism?

I guess it is also appropriate Toyota is considered the most “American” - it now has the reputation of old American cars - poorly built, designed, unsafe and a company that does not give a damn about the customer. LMAO.

I main ideal here is to know what you buying and support as many Americans as you can, because if you do not support your neighbor and they loose there job you will next. Just give it some thought will you. Make and effort to really buy American do your research.


More important to me than part content is tradition and loyalty content. My father, grandfather, great grandfather and great great grandfather never drove Toyota's or Honda's. Why would I start now? It's like if I didn't name my first some XXXX Clayton Street. Who am I to end a tradition? It doesn't hurt that Detroit makes the best trucks anyway.

Most guys do buy on tradition - ie. what their dad's drove.
If I drove what my great grandfather and great great grandfather drove - I'd be running teams of horses.
IIRC Toyota first came to North America in 1957.

Most guys do buy on tradition - ie. what their dad's drove.


Do you have any facts to back that up? My dad drove a Chevy Silverado and I can tell you that is the last truck I would drive today.

@ Jim - strictly anecdotal. I've seen a few automotive journalists make the same claim.

There's a simple reason cars are built overseas, unions inflating labor costs far beyond anything reasonable... its a wonder we have any manufacturing capacity left in this country at all when they make 5x what others people with similar (or higher) level skills make in this country.

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