MUNSTER, Ind. — Just because your car was made in America doesn’t mean the parts were.
Kogod’s 2017 Made in America Auto Index from American University in Washington D.C. estimates that about 65 percent of the 17.5 million vehicles sold in the U.S. in 2016 were produced in the country, roughly the same as the previous year.
That figure is tied to how many jobs the auto industry, one of the largest manufacturing sectors in Indiana, supports in the United States.
“As such an important part of the U.S. economy, understanding the factors that influence the automobile industry is not just helpful—it is essential,” study author Frank DuBois wrote. “A vehicle’s domestic manufacturing composition plays a key role in determining its overall impact on the American economy.”
The Made in America Auto Index ranked the Taurus as the sixth most American-made car with 61 percent of its content domestically produced, according to American Automobile Labeling Act data. The same study placed the Explorer 10th with 56 percent American-made parts.
The Cars.com 2017 American-Made Index deemed the Taurus the third most American-made car, after only the Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Cherokee that are produced in Toledo.
This bucks an industry trend, with fewer and fewer parts produced in the United States.
Even the vehicles Kogod’s 2017 Made in America Auto Index rates as most American-made — the Chevrolet Traverse, the Buick Enclave, and the GMC Arcadia — are only 71 percent American-made, according to American Automobile Labeling Act data.
The trend has been accelerating, even since DuBois noted in the inaugural Kogod study in 2013 that as many as 80 percent of the parts in a vehicle transmission are now made abroad. The Explorer had an 85 percent domestic parts content rating as recently as 2011, but is now down to 56 percent American-made content as more imported parts have rolled in, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association data.