2011 Ford Explorer
Cars.com is misleading the American public again with their conceptually faulty “American-made Index” that was just recently published by the website for 2011 model cars.
These rankings, which Cars.com promotes as the most American-made cars on the market, lists the Toyota Camry the #1 most American-made car for the second year in a row. That distinction should have rightly gone to the Ford Explorer. The Ford Explorer is made in Chicago, Illinois and has more domestic parts content than the Camry. In fact, the Explorer has the highest domestic parts content of any vehicle currently in production which is still being sold through 2011 . That means it beats the Camry on this website’s list of most American-made vehicles. (Point of Clarification: the Ford Sport Trac has 90 percent domestic content, but was discontinued after production of model year 2010 was complete; however, it is reportedly still being sold in Ford dealerships through calendar year 2011.)
Please don’t misunderstand me; I am extremely pleased that Toyota chooses to produce many of their automobiles in the U.S., thereby creating American jobs. But putting the Camry on top of a rating called the “American-Made Index,” is simply wrong.
Not only is Cars.com is using questionable methodology to reach their conclusion, they do not publish the methodology they use in developing the rankings. If these rankings are going to be cited all over the place and regarded by many to be the list of the most American-made cars, the methodology should absolutely be made public.
According to Cars.com, the three factors that were considered to create this American-made index were: country of final assembly, American-made parts content, and volume of sales.
Wait a minute! What does volume of sales have to do with anything? If I’m going to use the “American-Made Index,” I am going to use it to buy a car that is going to be the most American-made per car. The Toyota Camry doesn’t move ahead of other cars with higher American-made parts content, like many cars produced by Ford and Chrysler because more Toyotas are sold.
The Camry is made with 80% domestic parts content. That’s not bad at all. But there are several other American-made cars with higher American parts content that got skipped on this list. These are the cars that should be making headlines for being the most American-made. In fact, two cars with higher domestic parts content that got skipped on this list compete directly with the Camry and the Honda Accord (which Cars.com dubiously ranked second on their list).
The Chrysler 200 Sedan (remember the “Imported From Detroit” Super Bowl commercial with Eminem) has more American-made content than either the Camry or the Accord. So does the dodge Avenger Sedan. Both are made in Michigan.
I don’t know what Cars.com’s motivation is in creating this misleading index, but it is very counterproductive to efforts to increase consumer patriotism in this country. Stories like these create consumer confusion, which causes many people to just give up on buying American altogether.
If you have some time, please let Cars.com know that their index should leave sales volume out of their methodology. They should also publish precisely how their rankings are determined.
Here is the email address of Patrick Olsen, editor in chief at Cars.com: firstname.lastname@example.org
American consumers could really benefit from an American-made index that doesn’t “cook the books” for certain cars. To be acknowledged as most American-made car, you should have to actually be the most American-made car.
Once again, here is the full list of vehicles and their domestic parts content as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: http://www.nhtsa.gov/Laws+&+Regulations/Part+583+American+Automobile+Labeling+Act+%28AALA%29+Reports
Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.
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