It can be tough to sort out whether your next vehicle is truly made in America. It is common for the auto industry to assemble cars in the United States from components manufactured abroad. That’s why Cars.com compiles its American-Made Index and this year, only one full-size truck ranked on its “Top 12” list.
The 2022 Toyota Tundra is made in America
Toyota broke ground on a San Antonio, Texas factory in 2003. The automaker has been building its Tundras there since 2006.
In addition to the Toyota plant, the 2,000-acre property is home to multiple suppliers who build components of the Tundra. Other suppliers build components nearby.
Between Toyota and its suppliers, Tundra production provides a lot of jobs for U.S. workers. The Center for Automotive Research estimates that Tundra production supports 50,000 jobs in Texas. You could say one in every 200 Texas workers have a job thanks to the Tundra.
Toyota takes a lot of pride in its Texas connection. The ranch where its San Antonio plant is located was founded in 1794. Toyota named the Tundra 1794 Edition to honor this heritage.
Because so much of the Toyota Tundra component manufacturing and vehicle assembly happens in the United States, it is considered one of the “most” American-made vehicles. The Toyota Tundra earned the #10 spot in the Cars.com American-Made Index. No other full-size pickup truck landed in the “Top 12” list.
Learn more about Toyota’s San Antonio, Texas plant in the video below:
All the Detroit 3 assemble their trucks in the U.S.A.
If you drive a Chevrolet, Ford, or Ram pickup truck you may be shocked by the Cars.com index. Isn’t your truck also made in America?
Here’s the rub, figuring out where modern cars are built is a bit more complicated than knowing where they were assembled. Because building a car creates a lot of different jobs, the Cars.com index is focused on where in the world those jobs are located.
Cars.com uses five factors to create its list. The first factor is the final assembly location. The second factor is the percentage of parts from the U.S. and Canada–data the automakers must display on their window stickers. Because manufacturing engines and transmissions creates so many jobs, Cars.com gives extra weight to these two parts. Finally, Cars.com measures the number of U.S. manufacturing employees relative to the company’s entire footprint.
Ford assembles some F-150s in Dearborn, Michigan, and others in Claycomo, Missouri. But because of where F-150 components originate, Cars.com ranked this truck #29 on its American-made index.
Likewise, Ram assembles the 1500 in Sterling Heights, Michigan. That said, the truck landed at #42 on the Index.
Finally, General Motors assembles both the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra in Roanoke, Indiana. The Silverado landed at #74 on the index and the Sierra ended up at #80.
Other ways to rank American-made vehicles
Not everyone agrees with the Cars.com index. The team at the Kogod School of Business has a different system for ranking American-made vehicles. Instead of focusing on jobs created by each car, they focus on where the money from your purchase ends up.
Because about 6% of every vehicle price is profit for the automaker, Kogod gives 6% of the vehicle value to the country where each automaker is headquartered. Likewise, a product of a foreign company assembled in the U.S. loses another 3% for research and development costs. Because Toyota is headquartered in Japan, this is a major ding against the Tundra’s American-made ranking.
According to the Kogod ranking, 65% of the Toyota Tundra’s parts are made in the U.S./Canada. The truck earns a 73.5 out of 100 and ties for the American-made vehicle rank of #14.
The full-size truck that earns the highest American-made ranking from Kogod is the Ford F-150. This truck is made up of only 55% US/Canadian parts. But because of Ford’s U.S. headquarters and research department, this truck earns a 77.5 and lands at #8.
The Ram 1500 Classic with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 is 63% made in the U.S./Candada and earns an overall score of 75.5. Therefore, it ties for a rank of #10. Selecting the 5.7L HEMI V8 actually drops the same truck to #26. The modern fifth-generation Ram 1500 uses 59% US/Canadian parts and lands at #30.
Both the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra can only claim 46% US/Canadian parts. When optioned with the 5.3L or 6.2L engines, these trucks earn an overall score of 73/100 and land at ranking #15 on the list. When equipped with the 3.0L turbodiesel, they only pull a 56/100 and fall to ranking #34.
Check out CNBC’s investigation into American-made cars in the video below:
So where does your money go?
Buying a new pickup truck costs a lot of money. The truth is that a chunk of that money is going to some very rich folks. Depending on the truck you buy, those folks may live in the U.S. or in Japan or somewhere else entirely.
Now, another chunk of your money is going to factory workers who build the parts and who assemble the truck. Trying to keep that money in the U.S. or Canada is a lot more complicated than choosing a truck with a familiar badge from Detroit.
Check out our list of the most American trucks of 2022.