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For many car shoppers, where the car they’re thinking about buying comes from is a priority. Many Americans want to buy only American-made vehicles. When people think of American made cars, SUVs and trucks, they often think of the mainstays: Ford, Chevy and Dodge. And yet none of these are the most American made car. That distinction goes to a surprising vehicle: the Tesla Model 3

A dark gray 2021 Tesla Model 3 against a white background.
2021 Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

How was the list of most American cars made?

To rank the most “American” cars, collected information about a number of vehicles including where their parts came from. This includes the U.S. and Canada. It’s important to note that gathered this information from the Monroney labels, which includes Canada in its American parts category. also used statistics about U.S. factory employment, as well as where engines and transmissions come from. It didn’t include vehicles with small production numbers, fleet-only vehicles, and vehicles in their last year of production. After taking all of this into account, the Tesla Model 3 topped the list of most American cars. 

Many people have no idea where Teslas are made. They’d be surprised to learn that the Tesla Model 3 is made in Fremont, California. Because the number of parts made or sourced in each car is part of the calculation of the most American made cars, that means that most of the Tesla parts are made in America, too. 

What makes the Tesla so American?

It’s important to remember that an electric vehicle will have less parts than a traditional fuel-powered car. Because of this, there are less chances for a car to have parts sourced from, or made overseas. Additionally, Tesla makes most of its parts itself, and they do this in their California plant as well. 

In previous years, Tesla didn’t top the list because of its batteries. In the past, the batteries for Tesla’s electric vehicles were made in Japan. Since Panasonic began making their lithium-ion batteries in Nevada though, that has changed.

Last year the Tesla Model 3 was ranked number four on the index of the most American cars. Its sibling, the Model S, was ranked number three. This year the Tesla Model S didn’t make it onto the list at all, because of updated production and a lack of information about where its parts are made. However, the Tesla Model Y takes number three, with only the Ford Mustang separating them. 

The Tesla Model 3 is an affordable option for an American made EV

The basic 2021 Tesla Model 3 costs $39,990 and gets up to 263 miles on a full charge. If you have range anxiety or need more mileage from your car on a regular basis, you can opt for the Long Range car, which offers up to 353 miles per charge. This will set you back $48,990.

Other positives if you’re considering purchasing a Tesla Model Y are its good crash test ratings: the NHTSA gave it a five-star rating, and it’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick+.

Even if you aren’t interested in the Tesla Model 3, there are still plenty of other options on the list of American made cars. And there might be a few more that surprise you. 


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