Two Ohio-built SUVs from Fiat Chrysler are the most American-made vehicles to roll off the assembly line, according to a Cars.com index released Monday.
The Jeep Wrangler (including the Wrangler Unlimited four-door) and the Jeep Cherokee rank first and second among the top 10 on the consumer site’s longstanding American-Made Index, with European-American, American and Japanese brands cracking the list but South Korean and other European makers absent.
For the first time over the index’s 11-year history, the considerations for making the list have been changed. The number of models meeting Cars.com’s original criteria has fallen due to the globalization of automobile manufacturing — from more than 60 vehicles in the index’s inaugural year to eight last year. By the original requirements, only three 2017 models would have qualified this year.
Using the new criteria, Cars.com scans for predominant U.S. sourcing for engines and transmissions, and high U.S. manufacturing jobs supported per vehicle [the American Automobile Labeling Act includes Canadian data within the U.S. “domestic” pool]. This year, the index deemphasizes overall sales — a factor that reflects the economic impact of a given model line — to focus on the domestic impact of a single buyer purchasing one model versus another. Ties are broken by giving the higher ranking to the heavier vehicle.
Of course no cars are entirely American-made bumper to bumper. For the list-leading Jeeps, their domestic-parts content were among the highest figures Cars.com observed: 74% for the Wrangler, 75% for the Wrangler Unlimited and 70% for the Cherokee. All engines and nearly all transmissions for the Wrangler and Cherokee hail from the U.S. The Wrangler is assembled in Toledo, Ohio; the Cherokee also was built in Toledo until April 2017, when production moved to Belvidere, Ill.