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Who Builds the Most “American” Cars?

A hint: Chrysler lags the list.

by on Jul.05, 2011

The 200 is the only American-made model bearing the Chrysler brand badge.

There’s been a lot of talk about the comeback of the “American” auto industry in recent months.  And if you’re specifically discussing Detroit’s so-called Big Three, there are clearly signs they are on the mends following the near collapse of the Motor City in 2009.

But what really defines an American car company?  These days, you’re likely to see TV commercials from a variety of brands all claiming that patriotic designation.  BMW, Toyota, Hyundai, Subaru and Volkswagen are among the many foreign-owned makers who have emphasized their U.S. plant in a series of spots aired in recent months.

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Clearly, the definition has blurred now that there are more than a score of “transplant” assembly plants operating on U.S. shores.  So, that got the folks at Consumer Reports looking more closely at the list of products you’ll find at nearby showrooms to see which models actually roll off American assembly lines.

The non-profit publication counted 101 mainstream vehicles that qualified – though the number expanded significantly if you counted all the various trim packages. And when it came to which makers led and lagged there were some surprises.