Tesla has taken two spots on Cars.com’s American-made Index (AMI). The Tesla Model 3 nabs the top spot for the first time while its crossover sibling, the Model Y ranked third. Other vehicles in the top 5 include the Jeep Cherokee, Ford Mustang, and Chevrolet Corvette. This comes a year after the Model S, Model X and Model 3 ranked in the Top 10 last year. However, this is the first time the Model Y entered the AMI because last year it was barely ramping up production. This year, heavily refreshed versions of the Model S and Model X aren’t on the AMI because of a lack of sufficient data.
Cars.com’s AMI criteria rank vehicles based on assembly location, parts content, engine origins, transmission origins, and U.S. manufacturing workforce. Both the Model 3 and Model Y is built in Fremont, California near San Francisco and are built extensively with domestically sourced materials, fulfilling all major categories in the rankings. The rankings don’t consider the effects of the year-old U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade pact, meaning it’s too early to see reversals and abatement in the decline of models with high American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA) parts content. As of this year, major OEMs provide 271,000 jobs in the U.S. building passenger vehicles and their parts, an increase of 18,000 versus 2020 and 5,000 compared to 2019.
The American-made Index ranks vehicles built and bought in the U.S. The five factions: location of final assembly, percentage of U.S. (and Canadian) parts, countries of origin for all available engines, countries of origin for all available transmissions, and the U.S. manufacturing workforce are all considered. However, Cars.com doesn’t reveal the weighting and calculation of its methodology regarding the five main criteria. It does rank each model on a 100-point scale and uses heavier curb weights as a tiebreaker when needed.
Heavy-duty pickups, large vans, and large commercial vehicles aren’t included since they’re exempt from the AALA. Models with less than 1,000 units built, set for discontinuation, or with production set to move outside of the U.S. without a clear U.S.-built successor aren’t included. Vehicles that aren’t on sale at the time of the study, don’t meet minimum sales or inventory thresholds, and models without sufficient info from automakers, dealership audits, and Cars.com and government inventory records are also exempted.
The 2021 AMI study utilizes info from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), all major automakers, Automotive News, analyses of 406,274 Cars.com inventory, and in-person audits of 788 dealer vehicles. Vehicles with substantial levels of electrification are also split from their main nameplate.
Upon scanning the AMI rankings, several electrified vehicles made the list. The Ford F-150 Hybrid, Jeep Wrangler 4xe, Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Escape Hybrid, Lexus ES 300h, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Honda CR-V Hybrid, Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, Honda Insight, and the Nissan Leaf all made the top 90. Certain versions like the hybrid variants of the Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Hyundai Sonata, are not on the list because these aren’t made in the U.S. In the case of these three Hyundai Motor Group vehicles, their electrified iterations come from Korea. The Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are the only battery-electric vehicles to make the rankings.