These days, automakers manufacture and assemble vehicle parts all over the globe, which makes it difficult to find a car that is 100% American (Chrysler).

    by: Craig Howie | AOL Autos

    It used to be pretty obvious which cars were built in the U.S. (Detroit's Big Three of Ford, GM and Chrysler) and which weren't (everything else). Then in the 1980’s the Japanese started building cars here, which made for some interesting arguments about what constituted an “American” car. But in today’s global economy, it's even harder to answer the question: Is your car made in America?

    Many consumers looking to buy an American-built vehicle are having a hard time finding one that's assembled here with 100-percent American-built components. That’s because it's actually impossible, at least if you’re talking about buying a car from the major carmakers.

    Made In U.S.A. (Partly)

    For example, while Jeep's Patriot may be built in Belvedere, Ill., its transmissions originate in Mexico, Japan and Germany. Similarly Ford's Michigan-assembled Mustang may be as American as mom, Marines, and apple pie, but its transmissions come from China, France, the U.K., and Mexico. Chrysler's PT Cruiser isn’t even built in the U.S. – it’s assembled in Toluca, Mexico, though its transmission is U.S.-sourced. GM, meanwhile, builds its Chevy Camaro in Canada and its GMC Sierra pickup in Mexico.

    Confusing? Yes. But that’s not the start of it. BMWs are now built in the U.S. and so are some Mercedes vehicles (in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Vance, Alabama, respectively). With Japanese carmakers having established multiple assembly plants across the U.S. and American car companies operating plants in Canada and Mexico lines are blurred further.

    So what makes a car American? It's a rancorous debate that's sure to rumble on, but consumers can make up their own minds based on information that’s appeared on the labels of every new car for sale for years. This states where the vehicle was assembled and where the engine and transmission originated.

    Mark Birmingham, an industry analyst at the Center for Automotive Research, said consumers who want to buy American primarily should look at where the vehicle is assembled, as often that indicates a large presence not just in manufacturing.

    “There is something to be said for buying a Detroit ‘Big Three’ label,” he said, “in the sense that all of administrative, development and white-collar work is indirectly supported."

    Who Builds What Where?

    AOL Autos Poll
    Do you consider foreign vehicles that are assembled in the U.S. -- such as the Toyota Camry -- to be American ?

    Ford’s Fusion, Fiesta, and Lincoln MKZ models are built in Mexico, while the Edge, Flex, Lincoln MKX, and Lincoln MKT are built in Canada. Other North American models are built in the U.S.

    According to NHTSA documents provided to AOL Autos, Ford’s compact Focus is assembled in Wayne, Mich., with 90 percent of its parts sourced from the U.S. and Canada, but its transmission originates in Germany. While the Taurus is assembled in Chicago, Ill., about 65 percent of its parts are of U.S. origin. But its engine and transmission are both built in the U.S.

    The F-Series pickup truck, that most iconic of domestic vehicles, is assembled in Kansas City, Missouri, and Dearborn, Michigan, but with just 55 percent of parts made in the U.S. or Canada. More than 15 percent of its parts come from Mexico, although all of its engines and both transmission systems are built in the U.S. Some transmissions for the Mustang (assembled in Flat Rock, Michigan) come from China.

    GM vehicles assembled in Canada include Chevrolet's Camaro, Equinox and Impala and the GMC Terrain, while vehicles built in Mexico include Cadillac's SRX and Escalade EXT, Chevrolet's Aveo, HHR, Silverado, and GMC's Sierra. GM vehicles built in the U.S. include Buick's LaCrosse, Lucerne and Enclave, Cadillac's CTS, DTS and STS-V, Chevrolet's Cruze, Corvette, Malibu and Tahoe, and GMC's Yukon.

    According to figures from IHS Global Insight, of the GM vehicles assembled domestically, several Corvette engines are built in Canada, with several transmission variants originating in Mexico. Its Chevrolet Silverado (assembled in Fort Wayne, Indiana) carries U.S.-built engines across all models, but several transmissions are built in Mexico. For the Cadillac CTS assembled in Lansing, Mich., several engines originate in Canada and Mexico, and the transmissions for various models in the CTS range come from Japan, France, Mexico, and the U.S. Some engines for GM's Chevrolet Cruze, assembled in Lordstown, Ohio, come from Szentgotthard, Hungary.

    Chrysler says about 61 percent of the components it uses for its Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep lines come from the U.S., while about 20 percent come from Mexico and Latin America, about 10 percent from Canada and just under 10 percent from the rest of the world. It maintains large production facilities across the U.S., but also builds its 300 and Dodge Challenger and Charger, in Canada, and the PT Cruiser in Mexico.

    Of the Big Three's foreign competition, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai and Kia all proudly trumpet their domestic-built credentials. (Honda was the first Japanese carmaker to build a car plant in the U.S., in Marysville, Ohio., in 1979, and more Honda vehicles are now built in the U.S. than in Japan.) Toyota builds its Camry and Avalon models in Georgetown, Kentucky, its Sienna and Highlander in Princeton, Indiana, and has large plants in Huntsville, Alabama, and San Antonio, Texas. Hyundai builds the Sonata and Elantra in Montgomery, Alabama, and shares a plant in West Point, Georgia, with Kia, which recently celebrated the 100,000th Sorento rolling off that line.

    Nissan and VW both have longstanding ties to Mexico, with plants in Aguascalientes and Cuernavaca (Nissan) and Puebla (VW). Nissan assembles its small cars like the Versa in Mexico and its larger truck and SUV lines in Smyrna, Georgia. VW imports all its vehicles into the U.S., though it will be opening a new plant in Tennessee.

    Mercedes-Benz assembles its ML-, R- and G-Class vehicles in Vance, Alabama, with a U.S./Canadian parts content of 62 percent, but both its engines and transmissions are unsurprisingly sourced from Germany. BMW, meanwhile, assembles its X-series SUVs in Spartanburg, South Carolina, with mostly German componentry.

    Electric carmaker Tesla's bodywork is completed by Lotus in England, and then shipped to California for assembly. It will jointly develop electric cars with Toyota at the NUMMI plant in Northern California.

    It's a little surprising that some excellent automotive products are born of such a mix and muddle of production systems. But today's intertwined global economy – and car market – ensures that no matter where it comes from, today's cars mostly are built to high standards.

    Otherwise, Americans wouldn't buy them.

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    1 - 20 of 298 Comments
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    cbra958687 Nov 22, 2010 11:07 AM
    Made in the USA? I'm hoping GM has not misrepresented what is occurring on the payback money? During the bailout of Chrysler and GM there was a lot of debate about all of the UAW workers possibly losing their jobs from the auto plants closing. It was a risk that should not be taken, so the bailout money was provided because of not losing anymore jobs. Even through the bailout appeared to be necessary at the time there might have been some Capitalist "trickery" involved. It was more like "blackmail" in pretending to need money to keep the people working when all they wanted was to get out of their UAW contracts. while investing outside the USA. We have known for along period, that this global economy is a complicated situation and is continuing to be the cause of our "race to the bottom." We need to be creating jobs here in the USA. ----------------- China grabs a chunk of GM (at US taxpayer expense) http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/china/101118/china-GM-magnets Should you be worried? --------------------- More than meets the eye to GM payback story http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/04/more_than_meets_the_eye_to_gm.html November 21, 2010 China, other foreign investors eyeing GM's http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101117/bs_afp/usautocompanyipogmforeign by Ron Bousso Ron Bousso Wed Nov 17, 3:01 am ET NEW YORK (AFP) As General Motors starts to shake off the shackles of government control, the US automaker's new owners appeared set to include foreign investors, among them Chinese state-run firms. China grabs a chunk of GM (at US taxpayer expense) http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/china/101118/china-GM-magnets Should you be worried? --------------------- More than meets the eye to GM payback story http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2010/04/more_than_meets_the_eye_to_gm.html November 21, 2010 China, other foreign investors eyeing GM's http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101117/bs_afp/usautocompanyipogmforeign by Ron Bousso Ron Bousso Wed Nov 17, 3:01 am ET NEW YORK (AFP) As General Motors starts to shake off the shackles of government control, the US automaker's new owners appeared set to include foreign investors, among them Chinese state-run firms. GM's landmark initial public offering (IPO) expected Thursday has been backed by a host of large American and international banks, including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank and two Brazilian banks. Yet two banks -- the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) and China International Capital Corporation (CICC) -- stand out as they signal the first time Chinese government-owned banks take part in a major US IPO, according to IPO tracking firm Dealogic. And according to Chinese state media, GM's partner in China, Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp (SAIC), will also buy a one percent stake in the largest US automaker to the tune of 500 million dollars. Other investors from Asia and the Middle East may also participate in the stock offering, which could raise 18.45 billion dollars, making it the second-largest IPO in US history. The money raised will be used to help repay the nearly 50 billion dollar taxpayer bailout in 2009 which gave the US government a controlling 60.8 percent stake. The Detroit-based carmaker, once the world's biggest, is an icon of American industry, with brands including Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC. The US Treasury has welcomed international investors to take part in the IPO which will see GM return to Wall Street after an 18-month hiatus that started when the company filed for bankruptcy protection on June 1, 2009. But the entry of Chinese companies, whose operations are sanctioned by the Chinese government, may hit a raw nerve in a Washington increasingly concerned about Beijing's massive holdings of US debt and a huge bilateral trade deficit. "The landscape, politically, is still not very congenial for Chinese acquisitions" in the United States, said Evan Feigenbaum, director of consulting firm Asia in Eurasia Group. The involvement of Chinese firms, as well as other foreign investors in the GM IPO, comes as no surprise as emerging markets seek lucrative investments. The Chinese presence in the GM IPO "is not surprising, China has all of the money. They are investing heavily in US Treasuries. They are keeping the US afloat, frankly," said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at Edmunds.com. "What is surprising probably to a lot of Americans is that there has been a lot of talk about the Chinese selling cars here. That has not materialized, but what we are seeing is more that Chinese automakers and other Chinese companies are coming in through the back door," she told AFP. "It is the globalization of the industry," she added. "The interest is more heightened because China has become such a powerhouse." But GM's strengthening partnership with SAIC makes perfect financial sense as the US automaker's turn of fortunes in recent years was mostly propelled by China, the world's largest car market. "There is going to be a good number of stocks purchased by Chinese entities with the premise that there will be future growth for a company like General Motors," said Jesse Toprak, analyst at TrueCar.com. "A lot of the growth in the automotive industry in the next 10 years will happen outside the United States. China is now the number-one automotive market in the US," said Toprak. Earlier this month, GM boasted it had become the first global automaker to sell two million vehicles in China in a single year, an achievement linked mainly to its strong partnership with SAIC. The two carmakers also announced plans to expand operations in other Asian markets, including India.
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    cbra958687 Nov 22, 2010 10:48 AM
    Did the US and the other developed countries' private corporations "agree" to the continued higher workers' wages and their benefits after WWII as compared to the other lower monetary value countries, as the CEO's/ managers' salaries also increased? After the different worker unions developed to create the middle class over a period of many years, then the US came up with the trade agreements with the lower monetary value countries. What were the long range plans of these corporations, knowing that they would have a path/way to get to the accessible low labor from hundreds of millions of people in these low monetary value countries? It appears that all they would have to do is put out enough negative PR against the union workers of how they were driving up the cost of everything "Made IN The USA," convincing the people that they should "love to hate" people who have any union representation against while getting the US government to work out the trade agreements with these countries. This would allow them to invest in manufacturing plants, and then use the low labor cost of the people in these countries, just as they are doing with the outsourcing of our service jobs and the Visa workers coming into the US. As we know what is occurring with these global corporations getting their goods manufactured in these other low monetary value countries, they also are selling their goods within these countries, then are exporting their "designed" surplus goods to the developed countries. This is why the higher priced US manufactured exports does not have any buyers in countries where there was a market at one time. The facts and the results of what has occurred from this "global corporate monopolies" economy cannot be disagreed with. GM making EV in China with prototype out at year-end http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6A...
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    chrispetinaud Nov 16, 2010 4:00 PM
    So the next time some redneck in a pickup truck starts ranting about immigration, and buying American, I shall point out that his truck is in all actuallity a Mexican!
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    photocrazy Nov 15, 2010 6:13 AM
    Hey luckyfella2001 Toyota Camrys are made in the United States, maybe you need to investigate before you spew your crude BS. We owned a Camry, it was a great car, it had 200,000 miles on it before we retired it. We now have a 2004 Ford Taurus, it is a good car, which we bought because it was used, with 42,000 miles on it and looked brand new., We got it for 3,000 less than blue book. We have owned it for 2 years. It probablty wouldn't have been my choice if I could afford a new car, as I would prefer a higher MPG car, but we had to get what we could, we bought it with my disability back pay, so we paid cash. Other cars in the $6,000 to $7,000 price range had over 100,000 miles on them. I have been left stranded in American cars more than Japanese cars. My first ever new car was a 1976 Honda Civic CVCC, one of the first years they were here. It was a great car, I got a 1981 Mustang and gave the Honda to my live in boyfriend at the time. The Mustang had to go in and out of the shop from the time it was new. The Honda ran great, until he wrecked it after we broke up. I also had a 1994 Ford Mustang, it was a beautiful car, ************ more time in the shop than at my place. They had it in the shop at least once a month for the first year. They had to replace the top because it kept spliting. I told them the automatic folding piece wasn't working right and it was cutting into it. They told me I was wrong. Well the second one did the same thing, but by then the year was up so it wasn't covered anymore. I loved driving it, but it was a pain. The only American car I owned that was good was my 1991 Chevrolet Blazer. That was a great car, I should have kept it instead of trading it in for the Mustang. It won't be long until there will be no American Made Cars, they don't want to pay the wages here that it takes to keep good people who care about their job. Today, most people work to live and don't take any pride in their work, they don't take the time to do it right, just want to get it done fast. No one is taught to be proud of yourself for doing a good job, just do what you have to so you be by. Sloppy workmanship is the new motto here.
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    craigc1958 Nov 15, 2010 6:05 AM
    Funny how Big 3 automakers are offshoring the making of "American" cars and the competition if offshoring assembly to the US. With the US govt/Big 3 union busting that has gone on over the last 20 years or so, it is now cheaper for European and Japanese automakers to do the majority of their assembly here than at home. Not only do they get cheaper labor, they have to pay no beneits to most employees (having chosen to build plants in Right To Work States), and get tax breaks from primarily republican governors who will sell their firstborn to advance the dream of plutarchy.
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    lydea3 Nov 15, 2010 5:59 AM
    To brianw: We also had a '98 Catera, broke down on me, told by Cadillac garage it would be $7500 to repair, needed a new engine (opel), and they had 3 others sitting there, just like mine, over 6 months waiting for engines from Opel. We got rid of that hot potato. Beautiful car, wonderful features, if you want one to look at and not drive.
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    gp00000000076068 Nov 15, 2010 5:49 AM
    If you ask me, if you buy something that's truly American made, the funds will go to americans which will in turn spend it on foreign products. However if you bought products fully assembled you could almost guarantee that those funds would make it on their way to texas/california in no time. So I'm glad I bought my 2010 Nissan Versa.
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    cmcclarty Nov 15, 2010 4:36 AM
    metalman there is no more american harley Osama cut the deal for Willy G to have india build them cant tease the rice anymore when there bikes will be spitting curry powder. Nothing like a haji harley.Now china is going to buy a big part of gm why dont we have a say in it? We are goverment motors.
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    tlplunke Nov 15, 2010 4:28 AM
    The one I liked the best was a few years ago, Ford intentionally built the LTD/CrownVIc with a majority of foreign parts. They did this to qualify it with the EPA as a foreign vehicle. This allowed them to average the big V8s fuel economy numbers with those of the more frugal imports, thus avoiding gas guzzler fees. The irony of this is that most of the vehicle were bought by municipalities and old people who where adoment about buying domestic vehicles, but in reality there were many other vehicles that were much more domestic.
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    luckyfella2001 Nov 15, 2010 3:46 AM
    ive always had greatluck with american cars period v8s are the best man and i can fix it myslef even the new stuff and at a fraction who cars if their mad ein outer space as long as the money stay s here and its american backed i almost puke evry time i see a fatt assed camry running around with some old grey hairde fart who hardly knows how to drive in it thinking hes driving a lalssy car when its just japanese junk i have loved american cars and have drievn over 5 million miles in em and never have ever been starnded and i dorve acorolla twice and ********** and phoney a rental mind you
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    jjclam Nov 15, 2010 2:57 AM
    Maybe they should put a lable on a cars, trucks and SUV's on how many American workers were used to make it. I know they put how many parts come from one country or another. This is a old problem which goes back a number of years, Congress and Presidents it all comes down to Greed on part of the Big 3 Car companies. Now the lobbiest of Large Car companies can buy and sell the Congress to make changes so they can make more money its legal now THANKS SUPREME Court ... USA works are screwed due to our own Government and both the DEM's & GOP and Courts. The Media now is controled by large Corps .....best country money can buy. WE NEED SOME BALLS AND LEADERS
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    gwilkes2 Nov 15, 2010 2:27 AM
    Dave, you just might be the person are govt needs.........lol........Who knows, you just might do a better job than all of them.......Good luck...........
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    ddicksond Nov 15, 2010 1:47 AM
    Check the facts . Bush borrowed more money from China than all past administrations combined.
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    daveclark624 Nov 15, 2010 1:46 AM
    hello im david clarke, i want change! not obama change, we see where that got us. im 41 i think you have to be 44 to run for president. but let me tell you about myself.. im a high school drop out, but was raised never to quit. my dads 72, and still has to work to make ends meat. i have two kids one 18 and one 21, and a almost a two year old grandson, from my oldest. i was raised republic, but i realize im nether, just american. and i have proof. lol... i want to change this country back to what i remember.. but like i said im nobody...just a guy whos worked everyday sence i droped out and ruined, my education.. but i have wisdom, smarts, and a will to move forward....im sitting in a basement of a friends house as i type... all concret blocks.. i have a potbelly stove giving me heat, that i cut the wood for.. i hurt my back in may of this year and have been out of work sence.. im typing on a 5 year old laptop, thats seen better days.i dont vote every year because i dont think i can make a differance, but im wrong. we can make a big change... we have to unite as one... not for us but for are kids and grandkids. if i were pesident i would be all rolled into one, atleast sence i was born. all did some good but im old school. i would shoot first like reagan, and than ask why.. but im very level headed.. why have 1000's of troops looking through mountans when we could turn them into rock piles for the same money and never hurt one of our own... we have ships right there to do this. i dont want to hurt anyone, i was raised christan, my moms a preacher, no lie.. but we have to get back to our roots... in god we trust... i dont spell good so im sure i will hear about it.. but i dont care..i just want change! i want to run for president... anybody that can tell me how, or help just let me know at. daveclark 624 aol co m........ im very real and tired of the crap we go through.. help me help you...i dont lie nor cheat, i do have things in my closet, but will tell the truth... please i dont know what to do..david clarke for president 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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    gwilkes2 Nov 15, 2010 1:45 AM
    Buy american?.......Whats made here anymore?.......And how do we know, expecially with automobiles?.......I own a 99 chrysler sebring, been a good car to me....But chrysler teamed with mercedes for a few yrs from 98.........In this article, chrysler states that 61 percent of its parts are from the USA........Well, ive had my car at the dealership a few yrs ago, and the people there told me that my sebring is a import.......lol.......I said ok, i didnt know that.........Forget exactly the reason, but i think it had to do with the engine being a mitshibi.......Which i guess not to many of them had that engine in them......Its considered a very good engine........I think almost most of all cars are mostly foreign anymore, or foreign parts,regardless whether its a ford, chevy, chyr, or etc.......I think most people feel that way anymore.........Look on the parts you buy or whatever.........Made in China......Of course........lol.......And it usually falls apart in no time......So much for cheap labor....This stuff today isnt built anywhere near as well as years past, when the good ole USA built things.........Engines might be more efficent, but also more expensive and complicated........More plastic parts, aluminum this and that......Plastic for the headlights.....Because plastic is cheaper than glass.....And glass didnt fade either, like these plastic covers.....Oh with the heck......I guess we can always go and try and find one of those beauty 55 t-birds and live a little yesteryear, when life just seemed great here in this country and all was made here........
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    roundrec Nov 15, 2010 1:20 AM
    sending these jobs overseas is treason.
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    patrickbgawne Nov 15, 2010 1:11 AM
    It has been much longer than one might think since a car was strictly made in the USA. My 1970 Pinto had a german Capri engine.
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    brianw517 Nov 15, 2010 12:43 AM
    I was in for a shock when I was told by the Cadillac car salesman, that my new 1998 Cadillac Catera was made in the U.S. of A. and to find out later that the Catera was made in Germany, by "OPEL!" and that I was lied to by the car slesman, when I paid "CASH!" for the car that I thought was ALL American made!! I learned to investigate befor buying from that incident after I sold my Catera, a year after I bought it! I'll never own a Cadillac ever again, because of the fraud of that car salesman!!!
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    ltadeyeske Nov 15, 2010 12:26 AM
    The modern "Big Three" is now Matchbox, Hotwheels, and Tonka!
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