Ford Ranger, Tesla Models Ride High in ‘American-Made’ Car Index

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Ford Motor Co.’s new Ranger truck topped a ranking of vehicles that contribute most to the U.S. economy, while three Tesla Inc. models placed in the top nine.

The two companies’ brands were absent from Cars.com’s top 10 last year but stood out in the 2020 version of the automotive site’s “American-Made Index.” Ford’s pickup and Tesla’s Model S, X and 3 all made their debut in the annual study.

Ford Ranger, Tesla Models Ride High in ‘American-Made’ Car Index

“Tesla’s participation is one of the major developments this year,” said Kelsey Mays, senior editor of Cars.com. The electric-car maker fared well because it uses a lot of U.S.-sourced drivetrain components and its U.S. vehicle assembly employs many workers, Mays said.

Honda Motor Co. matched Tesla with three vehicles in the top 10, but that was down from five last year. Honda’s Odyssey minivan, Ridgeline pickup and Passport SUV all are made in Lincoln, Alabama. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s Jeep Cherokee took the No. 2 slot, dropping one place. General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Corvette was another repeat top-10 finisher, followed by the Chevy Colorado mid-size truck.

Ford Ranger, Tesla Models Ride High in ‘American-Made’ Car Index

The ranking is based on five criteria that aren’t equally weighed, including assembly location, parts sourcing as determined by the American Automobile Labeling Act, factory employment relative to sales and sourcing of engines and transmissions. Of the roughly 350 new vehicles on the market in the U.S., 91 qualified for inclusion in the index.

More than two-thirds of American consumers who responded to a May survey said they considered U.S. economic impact when shopping for a vehicle, according to Cars.com, essentially unchanged from last year. But 37% of respondents said the coronavirus outbreak will make them more likely to purchase a U.S.-made model, with just 4% replying they will be less likely to do so.

Domestic parts content also will become increasingly important under a new trade agreement the U.S. struck last year with Canada and Mexico to replace Nafta. Under U.S. President Donald Trump’s renegotiated deal, automakers must raise North American content to avoid tariffs. They also must abide by tighter minimum-wage standards for workers.

Automakers including Tesla, Ford, Honda and Fiat Chrysler will have an easier time meeting the new standards under the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement than manufacturers that don’t build as many of their cars where they sell them, Mays said.

The new USMCA rules are set to go into effect July 1, but the U.S. is giving automakers five years to meet key requirements.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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