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New Study Finds Tesla the “Most American-Made” Brand – But Foreign Marques Dominate

by | June 18, 2024

Tesla leads the list of the most “American-made” vehicles, with three of its product lines in the top 10, according to a new study. With one exception, the rest of that list was dominated by European and Japanese manufacturers.

The Tesla Model Y is the most “American-made” automobile available in the U.S, according to 19th annual American-made index. Three products made by the Texas-based automaker are in the top 10, according to which conducts the annual study. But that was actually a step backward for Tesla which, in recent years, has had four of its main products on that list.

With one exception, the rest of the Top 10 are made up of Japanese and European automakers, notably Honda, Toyota and Volkswagen. Only one domestic product, the Jeep Gladiator makes the cut – and then only if you consider Stellantis an “American” brand. Its official headquarters is in The Netherlands.

“Tesla continues to stand alone,” said Patrick Masterson, chief copy editor for the website and the man who oversees the creation of the annual study.

2024 Jeep® Gladiator Rubicon High Top Concept

The Jeep Gladiator is the only model from a Detroit brand in the top 10 list.

The top 10

  1. Tesla Model Y
  2. Honda Passport
  3. Volkswagen ID.4
  4. Tesla Model S
  5. Honda Odyssey
  6. Honda Ridgeline
  7. Toyota Camry
  8. Jeep Gladiator
  9. Tesla Model X
  10. Lexus TX

The badge doesn’t always matter?

2024 VW ID4 AWD Pro S Plus - side v2

Volkswagen’s ID.4 climbed into the top 10 after production of some versions was shifted to Chattanooga.

“Pundits champion homegrown corporations as the key to investments in local and state economies,” said Masterson. “However, when it comes to the global automotive industry, the badge on the hood doesn’t always reveal a vehicle’s economic contributions. In fact, 66% of vehicles on’s 2024 American-Made Index come from foreign automakers that support communities in Alabama, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.”

There is significant movement among brands and individual products this year, the study found. Since its introduction, the Tesla Model 3 had been in the Top 10. It slips to 21st this year, the publication noted, “due to changes in workforce and domestic parts content, respectively.”

The Ram 1500 Classic makes the biggest jump this year, climbing from 89th in the 2023 study, to 19 this year. That’s because the pickup has been shifted from an assembly plant in Mexico to one in Detroit. The Ford Mustang makes another big jump, from 77th to 41st, due to a big increase in the use of American-made parts and components.

At the other extreme, the Mercedes-Benz GLE fell from 53rd to 99th place.

More Consumer Auto News

Over 400 models included in study

2022 Honda Passport TrailSport front 3-4 mountain REL

The vast majority of the products on the American-Made Index – like the Honda Passport – use internal combustion engines.

Now in its 19th year, the American-Made Index takes into consideration five different factors: assembly location, parts sourcing as determined by the American Automobile Labeling Act, U.S. factory employment relative to vehicle production, engine sourcing and transmission sourcing, according to

More than 400 different products are initially included in the study, though roughly half are imports and immediately disqualified.

Of those vehicles that made the list, 77% are gas-powered, though that group is on the decline as more and more electrified models – including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles – come to market. Patterson said he expects to see even more EVs make the cut going forward as automakers rush to qualify for federal tax credits of up to $7,500 per vehicle. To meet mandates set by the Inflation Reduction Act, EVs must be assembled in the U.S. or a handful of favored trading partners. That also applies to their battery packs, as well as raw materials such as lithium, cobalt and manganese.

The South takes on the Motor City

2025 Toyota Camry - side

The majority of the vehicles on this year’s index, like the Toyota Camry are produced in the South.

While Detroit may be known as the Motor City, the reality is that more than half of the vehicles on this year’s American-made Index are produced in the South. Fully 15 come from plants operated by companies such as Hyundai, Mercedes and Nissan in Alabama.

For now, none of those plants use labor organized by the United Auto Workers Union – though the UAW is pushing hard to represent those factories. It won a victory at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee two months ago but subsequently lost another vote at the Mercedes plant in Vance, Alabama.

Only 45% of the list come from factories in the Midwest, the traditional home of the American auto industry, 16 products coming from Michigan. Even in that region, the UAW has only won representation rights at factories run by Ford, General Motors and Stellantis. Of those manufacturers, GM has 18 cars on the list, Ford 12 and Stellantis six.

Why it matters

2024 Lexus TX 550h Luxury front 3-4 REL

More than half of the motorists surveyed said they’d be willing to pay more for an American-made vehicle.

Products assembled in America using American-made parts provide more jobs than those coming from abroad, said Jennifer Newman,’s editor-in-chief. All told, the auto industry remains one of the country’s biggest employers, with 5.4 million Americans employed in factories, dealerships and other services, she noted.

The study shows 56% of the motorists surveyed say they’re willing to pay more for American-made vehicles. About 58% of those are willing to pay as much as 10% more.

At least, that’s what they say when approached for a survey, Newman cautioned. -“I wonder what actually happens when it’s time to sign. (An extra) 10% may be too much for someone shopping on the lower end of the price range.”


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