The Tundra Is Now America’s “Most American” Pickup
Every year, Cars.com uses domestic content data from NHTSA and automaker-supplied data to pull together a list of the “10 Most American” vehicles. Over the last three years, the Tundra – with 80% domestic parts content – has been on this list.
|Ford F150 Rankings||1st overall||1st overall||2nd overall||N/A|
|Chevy-GMC LD Rankings||3rd overall||8th overall||5th overall||N/A|
|Ram 1500 Rankings||N/A||N/A||N/A||7th overall*|
|Toyota Tundra Rankings||10th overall||5th overall||7th overall||8th overall|
* – The Ram 1500 ranking excludes regular cab trucks, which are assembled in Mexico.
On the Cars.com list, the Tundra is now the second-most American truck available…but only if the Ram 1500’s stats exclude regular cab models. If Ram’s “American made” numbers reflected the foreign-built reg cab’s it’s likely that the Tundra would be the only truck in the top 10 most American vehicles. For that reason, it seems clear to us that the Tundra is now officially the Most American truck you can buy.
What do you have to say about that, Ford, GM, and Chrysler-Fiat truck owners?
Why Ford and GM Trucks Fell From The Top 10
If you looked at the table above carefully, you’ll note that the F150 fell out of the rankings pretty dramatically this year. The reason? Ford’s newest F-150 uses more foreign-made parts than ever before. The “F-series” has only 55% U.S./Canadian content according to this NHTSA document (pdf). While the moniker “F-Series” includes all of Ford’s trucks, lately Ford and GM have been moving manufacturing to Mexico where workers earn $26 dollars a day instead of $26 dollars an hour.
Also, because this list is sales-weighted, GMC and Chevrolet – which currently source all of their crew cab pickups from their assembly plant in Silao, Mexico – don’t get as much credit for building all of their regular and extended cabs in Roanoke Indiana. The idea is, if about 30% of GM’s 1500 series trucks are built in Mexico, then the domestic content of the entire 1500 model line should be adjusted accordingly.
Whether you agree or disagree with how the list is generated, the basic facts are undeniable. Toyota’s Tundra has the highest domestic content rating of any pickup, and it’s 100% assembled in the USA.
The Ram Doesn’t Belong
While Cars.com has excluded hybrids in their calculations over the past 4 years, 2010 is the first time a specific sub-model has been excluded from the rankings. The Ram 1500 is the 7th most American vehicle on their list…unless you buy a regular cab. In that case, never mind.
Anyone else think that’s a little screwy? Maybe if GM could have excluded all of their Silao built crewcabs, they could have been on the Top 10 list too. This inconsistency doesn’t make any sense.
Here’s Why The Tundra Wins By Default
1. ALL Tundras are built in the USA. Since 2007, the Tundra has had 75% or more domestic content (80% in 2010). Every Tundra has either been built in Texas or Princeton, Indiana since the model debuted in 2000…the F150, GM trucks, and Ram have all been built in Mexico at one point or another over the last 10 years.
2. Toyota has invested more in new US plants than Ford, GM, or Ram over the last decade. While GM, Ford, and Chrysler stumbled and shuttered plant after plant after plant, Toyota has invested $1.5 billion in San Antonio, $514 million in Alabama, and $800 million in Mississippi (down from an initial plan of $1.3 billion). While it’s true that Toyota oversaw the closure of NUMMI, GM’s decision to pull out of NUMMI forced Toyota to do the same…so they only get half the blame on that one. BTW, Toyota offered NUMMI workers a $250 million dollar severance.
So, while the domestics closed plants, Toyota built new ones.
…But All The Profits Go To Japan
This is a classic argument for people to “buy American,” but it really doesn’t make sense. First of all, it’s not true that ALL of the profits go to Japan. We’ve proven that a big chunk of Toyota’s profits stay in the USA. Secondly, so what if they do? Toyota earned $12 billion in profits in 2005 (Toyota’s most profitable year EVER), but that was only 6.3% of their total revenue. The amount of profit Toyota sends to Japan is SMALL in comparison to the amount of money GM, Ford, and Chrysler-Fiat are sending overseas for parts and labor!
If the Tundra has 80% domestic content and costs $35,000, than 80% of that money – about $28,000 – should stay in the US and Canada (give or take).
If the average F-Series costs $35,000, and only 55% of that truck is domestic content, then only $19,250 stays in the US and Canada.
While this is clearly an oversimplification, the fact of the matter is that buying U.S. manufactured vehicles with U.S. content is good for the U.S. economy…even if those vehicles are made by Toyota. Buying Fords, GMs, and Chrysler-Fiats manufactured in Mexico? That might not be as good for the U.S. economy as everyone seems to think.
See the whole 2010 Cars.com most American list here.
Filed Under: Auto News