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Lincoln is Ford Motor Company’s luxury brand. So you would be forgiven for expecting a Lincoln SUV to be built and assembled right here in the U.S. of A. Or even somewhere in North America. But the truth is that if you walk in to your local Lincoln dealership and buy a 2024 Nautilus, you’ll get a crossover that was built and assembled in China, then shipped to North America.

This is a new development for the second generation Nautilus. And Lincoln claims it is having the SUV made abroad for an interesting reason. The first generation Nautilus (2019-2023) was built in one of Ford’s Ontario, Canada plants. But Ford took that plant offline to retool it for electric vehicle and EV battery production. The Nautilus is a popular model in China, and Ford Motor Company is already building Chinese-market Nautiluses there. So it decided to just up production and throw the extras on a boat.

I expect Ford Motor Company could have built Lincoln Nautiluses anywhere it was assembling a “C2” chassis product. This includes the Escape, Bronco Sport, and even the Maverick. So it moved assembly to China to save money.

Gray Lincoln Nautilus SUV
2024 Lincoln Nautilus | Ford Motor Company

One reason this development is so intriguing is because many have been wringing their hands about the looming spectre of Chinese vehicle manufacturing. There’s a lively debate as to whether to allow Chinese companies such as BYD to export vehicles to the U.S. Others suspected a startup such as Tesla would be the first company to build cars in China and export them to North America. But it turns out that established automakers beat everyone else to the punch. The Lincoln Nautilus, Buick Envision, and Volvo S90 are the three new vehicles assembled in China for the U.S. market. ranks the most “American made” vehicles every year. It looks at location of assembly as well as the percentage of parts that originated in the U.S. Its 2023 rankings aren’t out yet, but here’s how the 2024 models stack up:

  1. Tesla Model Y
  2. Tesla Model 3
  3. Tesla Model X
  4. Tesla Model S
  5. Honda Passport
  6. Volkswagen ID.4
  7. Honda Odyssey
  8. Acura MDX
  9. Honda Ridgeline
  10. Acura RDX
  11. Honda Accord
  12. Toyota Tundra

No Lincoln products cracked the top 100 list. Next, see CNBC’s deep dive on just how “American made” your car is in the video below:

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