1 Full-Size ‘American’ Pickup Truck Is Actually Made in Mexico

Nothing is more American than a pickup truck, right? In truth, most ‘American’ pickup trucks are assembled in the U.S.A. out of both foreign and domestic parts. And many Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras are actually assembled in Mexico. Even General Motors trucks assembled in the U.S. are made of mostly foreign parts.

Where is the Chevy Silverado made?

General Motors assembles all regular cab 2022 Sierra/Silverado 1500s and some crew cab models at its factory in Silao, Mexico–according to GM Authority. The automaker assembles some more crew cab pickups and all double cab Chevrolet/GMC 1500 trucks in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

A woman in a Mexican assembly line upholstering a black steering wheel for a Chevy Silverado.
Mexican woman upholstering a Chevy steering wheel | Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images

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Isn’t Chevrolet a Detroit company? Why is it building pickup trucks in Mexico?

In 1994, General Motors opened the Silao Assembly plant to cut costs. Over the years, the Mexican facility has produced the Cadillac Escalade ESV, Escalade EXT, Chevy Avalanche, Suburban, and GMC Yukon XL.

In 2001, GM set up Silao Engine. Then in 2008, the company created Silao Transmission. Today the 600-acre Silao Complex can produce complete powertrains for Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks.

At present, the auto workers at Silao Assembly are unionized. But because many are unhappy with their representation through the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM), they are voting for a new union–such as the United Auto Workers (UAW). GM Authority reports some workers have been threatened ahead of the vote, but it is unclear by who.

What percentage of the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra is American made?

The U.S. Government requires automakers to disclose what percent of a vehicle’s components are from the U.S. or Canada. Only 46% of the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra parts are from the U.S./Canada. In addition, 38% of its parts are from Mexico. GM has yet to file its 2022 AALA report.

The black leather interior of a brand-new Chevy Silverado parked in the Rocky Mountains.
2022 Chevrolet Silverado LT interior | General Motors

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The American Automobile Labelling Act (AALA) does not require the automaker to differentiate between Canadian-made and U.S.-made components. It also does not dock any extra points for more labor-intensive parts, such as the engines and transmissions built in Silao, Mexico.

The AALA requires automakers to print this information–along with the assembly location–on the window sticker of every new vehicle. But it does not apply to heavy-duty trucks. Also, if you buy a used pickup truck, it can be challenging to know where it was made.

Luckily, the first digit of every vehicle’s VIN reveals where it was made: VINs of cars and pickup trucks assembled in the U.S. start with 1, 4, or 5. Canadian vehicles start with 2. Mexican versions start with 3.

Some 2022 Ram and Toyota trucks are also made in Mexico

A row of women at an assembly line building car stereos.
Mexican factory assembling GM stereos | Robert Daemmrich Photography Inc/Corbis via Getty Images

Ford and Ram both assemble the current generation of their full-size pickup in the U.S.. The 2022 Toyota Tundra is assembled in San Antonio, Texas. And with 65% of its parts built in the U.S. or Canada, the Tundra is actually more “American-made” than any other full-size truck.

The GMC Sierra 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado are far from the only pickup trucks built in Mexico. While some Toyota Tacomas are built in Texas, others are assembled in Mexico. Finally, if you buy a new fourth-generation Ram 1500 (badged as the 2022 Ram 1500 Classic), Ram may have assembled it in Mexico.

Don’t think for one instant that every GM truck is built abroad. In fact, when Cars.com compiled the most “American-made” vehicle index, GMs did very well. The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon ranked just below the Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tundra as the most American-made pickup trucks.

GM assembles both of its midsize trucks in Wentzville, Missouri. GM assembles its medium-duty trucks in Springfield, Ohio, and its heavy-duty trucks in Flint, Michigan.

Want to know more? You can read about the one full-size truck to make the American-made list, or you can watch NBC’s deep dive on American-made automobiles below:

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