Chevy. Lincoln. Ford. Dodge. Jeep. All of them stalwart American brands that we all know. And yet many of the models sold under these famous names may not be that "American" at all. These days, major auto manufacturers are setting up factories all over the world to take advantage of potential savings in their production costs. The result? Many cars we consider as American as apple pie are actually from overseas. Or at least across the border in Mexico or Canada. And to push the question of whether these automobiles are American: many of them aren't even made of parts that were originally manufactured in America. Today, your American-branded car might feature a transmission from France, an engine from Mexico, and other components from China or Japan. With so little domestic content, are these cars still American?
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This subcompact crossover SUV proudly bears the Chevy logo — even when it's sold in Russia or Brazil, where it's known as the Chevrolet Tracker. In part because "Trax" sounds too much like a dirty word in Russian! But less than 15 percent of this 2013-2019 crossover comes from the United States on average. A Mexican-made Trax has more domestic parts than the cars built in Inchon, Korea, which use less than 5 percent American content.
Dodge has been selling this popular mid-size crossover SUV since 2009, so its owners can be forgiven for thinking they're driving an American car. However, this is another SUV manufactured in Mexico, with less than half its content coming from the United States. In fact, the Journey has even more foreign cred than most of the cars on this list, since it's also sold as a Fiat in Australia, Brazil, China, Europe, and South Korea, where it's known as the Freemont.
Perhaps it's no surprise that the current Ford Fiestas sold in the United States are made in Mexico with few domestic parts, given that the car's name means "party" in Spanish. The subcompact has in fact been manufactured all over the world — Spain, France, Great Britain and more — since 1976, though it wasn't sold in the United States from 1980 to 2008. The Mexican-built Fiesta sold in the United States today has only 7 percent domestic content, which may contribute to its ultra-low price.
This crossover SUV first hit the marketplace with the 2010 model. While the Terrain has undergone a substantial redesign in recent years, its manufacturing hasn't been moved to the United States, but still takes place in Mexico. It only contains 43 percent domestic content, making it less of a home-grown U.S. product than the Acura ILX or the Nissan Rogue, even though both those models bear Japanese logos.
This very popular full-size pickup truck may look like an American classic — and most of its owners consider it as such — but many Silverados are assembled in Mexico or Canada. Only 38 percent of its parts were made in the United States — which is also true for its GM twin, the Sierra. Perhaps that makes it no surprise that the Silverado, which debuted in 1998, is also sold throughout East Asia as well as in Mexico, where it's known as the Chevy Cheyenne.
Although Ford has announced its intention to end the manufacture of this mid-size sedan, since 2006 most Fusions have been made in Mexico, including the more recent hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. Let's give Ford credit: some Fusions were made in Michigan. Less than half of the Fusion's parts are made in the United States, putting it below the Japanese Toyota Camry and Honda Accord and South Korea's Kia Optima in that respect.
Perhaps it's not so surprising that the Ford Focus is built primarily in Germany, since it was originally released in Europe in 1998, coming to the U.S. market a year later. Only 15 percent of the parts used in the Focus comes from the United States, so it's really a piece of German engineering, despite the American tag. As of 2019, the U.S. version of the Focus is being phased out, but the model's still going strong across Europe.
Here's another Chevy that contains very little domestic content — and yet it's no surprise, given that the Spark was originally the Daewoo Matiz. GM took over the model when it bought Daewoo in 2002, rebranding the car but continuing to manufacture it in South Korea. Perhaps GM realized that "Spark" is the perfect name for an all-electric vehicle — and in fact, the Spark EV, introduced in 2013 is the first all-electric from GM since 1999.
This mid-size luxury sedan gets lots of props for keeping Lincoln's doors open, but despite its great value to this American car company, the car itself isn't made in America. The MKZ, first introduced as the Zephyr in 2006 and rebranded as the MKZ in 2007, is built in Mexico with only about 30 percent of its parts coming from the United States. Perhaps it's no surprise that the MKZ is essentially an upgraded version of the Ford Fusion, not coincidentally manufactured at the same Mexico facility.
The first Chrysler named the Pacifica was a 1999 minivan concept car. Chrysler brought the name back most recently in 2017, bestowing it on the minivan that replaced the Town & Country model. The Pacifica, which contains only about 44 percent content from the United States, is actually made in Canada at a plant that's been turning out minivans for Chrysler for more than 30 years.
This compact crossover SUV was introduced in China in 2014, and it didn't make it across the Pacific Ocean until 2016. Of course, that means it was originally manufactured in China — and it's still essentially a Chinese import, with only about 2 percent of its content coming from the United States or Canada. Yes, it has the Buick name, but the BMW X5 and the Lexus RX450 — officially German and Japanese respectively — have far more claim to call themselves American cars.
The first generation of this rear-wheel-drive, rear-engine sports car hit the roads in 2006 for a couple of years, but you're more likely to catch a glimpse of the 2017 reboot flying past you on the highway. This so-called supercar uses ultra high-tech composite materials, including carbon fiber, with 90 percent of its content made outside North America. The GT, named after the famed GT40 race car of 1966, is manufactured in Canada.
While this panel van has been on the road in Europe since 2002, Ford has only sold it in the United States since 2010, often slightly reconfigured as the Tourneo Connect. Because of its European pedigree, it's not a surprise to learn that it's manufactured in Spain. The Transit Connect is truly an international vehicle, with its parts coming from the United States, Spain, France, and Mexico.
Does any car brand say America more than Jeep, with its history as an official vehicle of the U.S. Army? Apparently not, at least not when you take a look at this subcompact SUV. Only 22 percent of the Renegade's parts come from North America, and all the assembly is happening in Brazil, China, and Italy.
This crossover SUV was originally made by German manufacturer Opel and marketed as the Mokka. It's still made in Germany — and in Russia, Belarus, South Korea, China, Mexico, and Spain, with less than 20 percent of its parts coming from the United States. The Buick Encore is also sold as the Vauxhall Mokka in the United Kingdom, and, with different trim, as the Chevy Trax, the vehicle that started this list.