Warning: If You Want a Pickup Truck Built in the U.S.A., You’d Better Double-Check the VIN Before You Buy
What’s more star-spangled awesome than a pickup truck? Try to name something; we’ll wait. But though the pickup truck is an icon of the U.S.A., many of them are assembled in Canada or assembled in Mexico. Dealerships must tell you where new light-duty trucks come from. But there’s a sneaky way to determine where a heavy-duty or used truck was assembled: just check the first digit of its VIN.
Can you tell what country a vehicle was assembled in?
Absolutely. The first number in a VIN will give away where the car or truck was assembled. One, four, or five means a pickup truck or car came from the U.S.A. Two means Canada, and three means Mexico.
The automobile labeling act requires automakers to not only disclose this information in every VIN, but to print it on the window sticker of a new car or light-duty truck as well. In addition to the country of assembly, the window sticker must show what percentage of the car or truck’s components originated in the U.S.A. or Canada. But they don’t have to specify which country those parts came from.
Automakers do not have to print any of this information on the window stickers of heavy-duty pickup trucks. Luckily for 3/4 and one-ton buyers, these trucks’ VINs are still coded. And finally, used truck buyers may still care where their vehicle was assembled. Here are all the VIN codes one more time:
|First VIN Digit||Country of Assembly|
|One||United States of America|
|Four||United States of America|
|Five||United States of America|
Which trucks are assembled in Mexico?
Every one of the Detroit Three and Toyota assembles some of their pickup trucks in Mexico. With Ram, it’s all the heavy-duty trucks; for Ford, it’s all the Mavericks; and for General Motors, it’s some half-ton Silverados and Sierras. Toyota has moved some Tacoma production from San Antonio to south of the border.
It may surprise you that Ram assembles every heavy-duty (2500 and above) pickup truck in Saltillo, Mexico. As shocking is the fact that every V8 engine in a Dodge, Chrysler, or Ram comes from the same facility. Similarly, Ford assembles every Maverick pickup in Mexico to keep the compact truck’s price low. General Motors has kept most of its assembly here in the U.S., but it has moved some half-ton (Silverado or Sierra 1500) production to Mexico.
Which pickup trucks are built in the U.S.A.?
The Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tundra pickup trucks are both assembled in the U.S.A. and use a high number of parts from the U.S. or Canada. If you want a U.S.-built truck by a Detroit automaker, consider the Jeep Gladiator, Ram 1500, GMC Canyon/Chevrolet Colorado, or Ford F-150 Lightning.
Every year, Cars.com releases a list of the most “American-made” vehicles. They are rated on where they are assembled and what percentage of their components come from either the U.S.A. or Canada. Here are the 2023 trucks that earned top marks:
- Honda Ridgeline
- Toyota Tundra
- Jeep Gladiator
- Ram 1500
- Hyundai Santa Cruz
- GMC Canyon
- Chevrolet Colorado
- Ford F-150 Lightning (EV)
- Toyota Tundra Hybrid
- Nissan Titan
- Ford F-150 Hybrid
- Nissan Frontier
- Ford F-150 (ICE)
- Ford Ranger
- Ram 1500 Classic
- GMC Sierra 1500
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Next, find out what unique pickup trucks the Detroit Three build for the Mexican market, or learn more about how “American” your vehicle actually is in the video below: