Ford F-150 Most "American" Vehicle? Yes, but…
Domestic Content Percentage Definitions Vary
Ford Motor Company and Cars.com, the flagship site of Classified Ventures, LLC, made headlines earlier this week by announcing the Ford F-150 as the "most American" vehicle for the 2013 model year, supposedly toppling the long-running Toyota Camry for the title. Digital news outlets, often hungry for content and with quantitative demands for page views and posts, often with little analysis or context, grabbed the story off the wires and ran with it.
And although we take nothing away from Ford's bread-and-butter hauler, having named it our Truck of the Year twice in the last five years, we wanted to dig a little deeper to see if the claim stood up to the lens of critical analysis. Motor Trend's Wide Open Throttle news blog found two other indices that measure domestic content, and, unsurprisingly, all of them differed slightly.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's American Automobile Labeling Act (AALA), the Dodge Grand Caravan is the most "American" vehicle with a U.S. and Canadian content score of 80 percent. The Ford Expedition ties the Dodge with 80, while the F-150 is a ways down the list at 75 percent. According to the AALA list, the Camry ties it at 75. And the Toyota Avalon full-size sedan outranks both at 77 percent.
The list compiled by American University's Kogod School of Business ranks the GMC Acadia, and its platformmates Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Traverse the highest at 88.5 percent. The F-150 ranks 87.5 percent, and the Camry a good ways down the list at 78.5 percent. The Kogod list factors the AALA data, and gives bonus points if the brand is a U.S.-based company, and the vehicle is assembled in the U.S. Brownie points are added for origin of the engine, transmission, and chassis components.
Cars.com is somewhat vague in their specific methodology, and while they acknowledge the AALA list and data set, they don't give an explanation as to why their list differs. If national origin or final assembly is an important purchase factor for you, it's good to know the facts, but do your homework to see what the real story is behind the figures.
Source: Motor Trend